If you run a small business in Canada, and you’re looking to expand in the near future, you know one of the biggest barriers to successful growth is the high cost of labour. The bother and expense of onboarding new employees can go well beyond a small business’ budget and hold back entry into new markets, even if those markets are really promising. This is why the Canadian government, in an effort to spur growth and reduce unemployment, offers incentives for hiring that can ease a cash-strapped company into a round of hiring that can be the difference between rapid expansion and single-market stagnation. Broadly, these incentives fall into two categories: grants and tax credits.
Grants are money paid out directly by the government to reduce or totally cover the cost of hiring new employees. Often, these are targeted toward some demographic the federal government feels needs help. Some of the most commonly used grants are:
Canada-Ontario Job Grant: Covers up to two-thirds (maximum $10,000) of the cost of third-party training for new employees who need vocational education to work with you.
FedNor youth internships: Pays labour costs of up to $31,500 annually for hiring Northern Ontario youths (under 30) for at least 12 months. To qualify, your company must be based in Ontario and have work related to trade, innovation, or the digital economy.
Housing Internship Initiative for First Nations and Inuit Youth: Offers financial support for builders and contractors willing to hire First Nations employees between the ages of 15 and 30.
Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program: Drastically cuts the cost of recruitment by connecting employers in the skilled trades with prescreened candidates.
Tax credits are another method the government uses to encourage hiring. Two credits, in particular, are of interest to growing employers:
Apprenticeship job creation tax credit: If your business meets Red Seal occupational standards, this credit covers any costs related to new apprentices, up to $2,500 a year.
Co-operative education tax credit: If you hire an apprentice from a co-operative apprenticeship program for at least 10 weeks or bring them on as an apprentice for eight to 16 months, this credit covers the associated costs up to a maximum of $3,000.
These are just the federal programs available to your business. Check with your provincial government for more incentives and credits, and to learn more about hiring prescreened employees through local placement agencies.