Funding Applications Open for $250 Million Innovation Assistance Program


On April 17, 2020, the federal government announced over $1 billion in new support for small businesses in Canada to help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of which has been dedicated to the technology sector. The funding includes $270 million for Futurpreneur and the Industrial Research Assistance Program (“IRAP”). This funding was provided in recognition that many startup and pre-revenue technology companies may not eligible for other federal assistance such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. Futurpreneur is a non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. IRAP is a program developed by the National Research Council of Canada to provide advice, connections, and funding to help Canadian small and medium-sized businesses increase their innovation capacity and take ideas to market.

The National Research Council has published details of the $250 million funding allocated to the IRAP Innovation Assistance Program (“IAP”) on its website.

The IAP provides a wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks in amount equivalent to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. The IAP will pay for 75% of the first $58,700 of an employee’s salary, up to $847 per week. Applications for IAP funding closes Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 11:59 pm EDT.

In order to apply under the IAP, a company must:

  • Be ineligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
  • Be an incorporated, profit-oriented small or medium-sized business in Canada
  • Be a company with 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees
  • Plan to pursue growth and profit by developing and commercializing innovative, technology-driven new or improved products, services or processes in Canada
  • Lack sufficient financial resources to sustain operations from April 1, 2020 to June 23, 2020 inclusive
  • Have a Canada Revenue Agency business number
  • Be incorporated by no later than March 1, 2020

Companies that meet all of the above criteria are not guaranteed to receive funding under the IAP, and funding decisions will be made on a priority basis following an evaluation of applicants’ economic situation and growth potential. Applications are available at the following link The IAP will begin making payments starting the week of May 11, 2020.

For more legal analysis of how COVID may affect your business, or personal affairs, visit Clark Wilson’s COVID-19 Resource and FAQ pages