Canada is one of the most prominent players in the global aerospace industry and is home to many companies that are known on an international scale—Bombardier, CAE, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Héroux-Devtek and Thales are just a few among them. In fact, the aerospace industry accounted for over $24 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021.
However, like any industry, it requires funding to support research and development (R&D), expansion, and operations.
In this article, we will discuss five funding opportunities that are designed to fuel companies in the Canadian aerospace industry.
1. NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)
The National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) is a federal program that provides funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to support R&D projects. IRAP offers a variety of services, including financial assistance, advice and guidance, and networking opportunities. Eligible aerospace companies can receive up to $10 million in funding for very large R&D projects, although funding is generally under $1M per client.
2. Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)
Offered by Innovation, Science and Economic Development, the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) seeks to promote innovation, especially in several priority areas, including the aerospace and automotive industries and net zero initiatives.
Through five streams, the SIF offers investments toward R&D and commercialization, firm growth, industrial research, and collaborative research. Streams 1 to 3 offer repayable contributions of a minimum of $10 million. Stream 5 supports national innovation ecosystems through investments in collaborations between corporations, academic and research institutions and not-for-profits.
3. Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative (ARRI)
The Government of Canada supports Canadian companies in the aerospace industry or supply chain through the Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative (ARRI). The program offers funding in the form of an interest-free government loan for projects that improve sustainability practices, increase productivity and promote integration into regional and global supply chains. Applications for the ARRI must be submitted through your regional development agency.
4. Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is a federal organization responsible for coordinating and managing Canada’s space program. The CSA provides funding for space-related R&D and technology development, as well as for space missions’ operations.
The CSA has a number of programs and initiatives that provide funding to aerospace companies, including the Space Technology Development Program, which supports R&D projects, and the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP), which provides funding for the development of new technologies linked to Lunar exploration.
Both programs are currently closed to applications but should reopen soon.
5. Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC)
Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) is a grant program run by Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), the government organization responsible for driving investment, innovation, and Canada’s share of global trade. The program offers grants for solutions to challenges that are opened frequently for short periods.
ISC has partnered with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) on several challenges, including calls for various AI technologies and sensor systems for space robots. Other relevant challenges have been launched in partnership with Transport Canada (TC), Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), and the Department of National Defence (DND).
Although ISC is not exclusively aerospace-focused, it is always a good idea to keep an eye out for challenges that may be relevant to your company.
How to find funding
There are a number of funding opportunities available to Canadian aerospace companies, including programs from the federal government such as the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) and Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), as well as programs from organizations like the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and National Research Council of Canada (NRC). To find these and other relevant programs, please create a profile on our funding search engine.
By taking advantage of these funding opportunities, Canadian aerospace companies can support their R&D, expansion and operations, and continue to innovate and compete in the global aerospace industry.