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2023 federal and provincial budget digests


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2023 federal and provincial budget digests

In March, the federal and provincial governments unveiled their highly-anticipated budgets. With both plans moving from COVID-19-specific funding and focusing on lightening deficits and combatting inflation, we now have glimpse into what the road to a more robust economy looks like.

DMZ has reviewed the Ontario provincial and federal government budgets and identified key commitments that impact the startup and innovation economy.

Here’s what you need to know about both budgets:

Federal budget highlights

The full federal budget can be found here.

Small business support

  • Lowering credit card fees: The federal government has reached an agreement with Visa and MasterCard to reduce credit card fees by up to 27%.
    • This reduction will help small businesses save $1 billion over the next five years.


  • Canada Growth Fund: The government intends to introduce legislation to enable the Public Sector Pension Investment Board to manage the assets of the Canada Growth Fund to deliver on the Growth Fund’s mandate of attracting private capital to invest in Canada’s clean economy.
  • Supporting Canada’s leadership in space: The government invested just under $2.8 billion to get Canadians — and Canadian technology — into space, onto the moon and beyond.
  • Canada Innovation Corporation: The government invested $2.6 billion for the new Canada Innovation Corporation, which will support Canadian businesses in investing in research and development.
  • Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive: The Department of Finance will continue to engage with stakeholders on the next steps of the SR&ED program to ensure it is providing adequate support and improving the commercialization of intellectual property.

Transition to the green economy

  • Clean electricity investment tax credit: A 15% refundable credit to support non-emitting generation systems, storage and transmission.
  • Clean technology manufacturing: A 30% tax credit for new machinery and equipment used to manufacture or process key clean technologies and extract key critical minerals.
  • Clean hydrogen: Up to 40% tax credit for projects producing clean hydrogen.
  • Strategic Innovation Fund: A $500 million commitment over 10 years to support the development and application of clean technologies in Canada.
  • Smart Cities Challenge: The government will be launching a new round of the Smart Cities Challenge later this year, which will focus on using connected technologies, data, and innovative approaches to improve climate resiliency.


Provincial budget highlights

The full provincial budget can be found here.


  • Underserved entrepreneurs: Investing an additional $15 million over three years for the Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Entrepreneurs (RAISE) Grant Program that includes support for Indigenous, Black and other racialized people, as well as an additional $3 million in the Black Youth Action Plan
  • Innovation hubs:
    • Providing an additional $1 million per year for three years to Invest Ottawa, starting in 2023–24, to expand into a Regional Innovation Centre hub for Eastern Ontario.
    • Committing an additional $2 million in 2023–24 to Futurpreneur Canada.
    • Providing $4 million in 2023–24 to support the City of Brampton in attracting more entrepreneurs and business investment to help drive economic growth.

Skills development

  • Mitacs: Investing an additional $32.4 million over the next three years to support 6,500 high‐quality research internships through Mitacs.
  • Skills Development Fund: Providing $224 million in 2023–24 for a new capital stream of the Skills Development Fund to leverage private-sector expertise and expand training centres.

International talent

  • Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program: Enhancing the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program with an additional $25 million over three years to attract more skilled workers, including in-demand professionals in the skilled trades, to the province.
  • Ontario Bridge Training Program: Expanding the Ontario Bridge Training Program with an additional $3 million in 2023–24 to help internationally trained immigrants find employment in their fields and get faster access to training and support towards a licence or certificate.


  • Ontario-made tax credit: A 10% refundable Corporate Income Tax credit to help local manufacturers lower their costs, invest in workers, innovate and become more competitive.

Business savings for Ontario employers

  • Tax relief for small businesses: Improving competitiveness by planning to enable an estimated $8 billion in cost savings and support for some Ontario employers in 2023, with $3.6 billion going to small businesses.
    • This would provide Ontario’s small businesses with additional Ontario income tax relief of $265 million from 2022–23 to 2025–26.

Electric vehicle investments

  • Electric vehicles (EV): Attracting over $16 billion in investments by global automakers and suppliers of EV batteries and battery materials to position Ontario as a global leader in the EV supply chain.

Are you a founder trying to navigate the startup ecosystem? Learn more about programming DMZ offers here.

The DMZ’s news roundup: What went down in April

Power up with the DMZ’s News Roundup. Our new blog series is dedicated to providing you with a quick look back on what went down in the Canadian startup and innovation ecosystem.

We’ve got you covered with the most relevant news and notable wins from the ecosystem, DMZ updates and more. 

Here’s a rundown of what went down in April. 


How the Federal budget will impact the startup and innovation economy

The federal government unveiled their long-awaited budget for 2022, which outlines a number of commitments for the Canadian tech and innovation economy. The first budget since the Liberal’s re-election last fall, the 2022 budget focuses on growing the Canadian economy while aiming to make everyday life more affordable. Big ticket commitments include a new innovation and investment agency, a growth fund to encourage private sector investments and a commitment to build a world-class intellectual property regime. 

Read more here.

Canadian innovation companies come to a halt on TSX

In the first quarter of 2022, there was not a single Canadian innovation company that went public via an initial public offering (IPO) on the Toronto Stock Exchange. 2021 saw a record breaking year for IPOs, with seven companies going public in the first quarter alone. 

Learn more here.

New report shares gender biases women founders face in raising capital

A recent study from the Conference Board of Canada found that compared to men, women take longer to raise Series A financing. Marie Chevrier Schwartz, Founder and CEO of Sampler (DMZV), shares her experiences raising capital and the gender bias she faced with Betakit.

Check out her interview here.


PocketHealth closes $20M CAD Series A financing to transform medical image access

PocketHealth (Incubator ‘18), a patient-centric medical image sharing platform, has secured $20M CAD in Series A funding led by healthcare venture capital firm Questa Capital. PocketHealth will be expanding its talent base, building U.S and Canadian clinical partnerships and invest in product innovation. 

Read more here.

U.S investors are pumping cash into Canadian enterprise tech startups

U.S venture-capital investors raised a record $13.6B USD last year in Canadian information-technology startups. In recent years, Google, Microsoft, Intel, and Uber have opened or expanded offices and research-and-development campuses in thriving tech hubs such as Toronto and Vancouver. In turn, this has fostered a homegrown pool of skilled tech workers that is becoming increasingly scarce in the U.S. More than half of all Toronto-area venture-capital deals have included at least one American investor.

Learn more here.


12 tech startups that are disrupting the Canadian tech ecosystem – Meet the DMZ’s Incubator spring cohort 

Out of hundreds of the high-calibre startup founders that applied from Canada and around the world, the DMZ has hand-picked 12 tech companies to join a new 18-month cohort in the Incubator. This cohort has startups joining from Vancouver, Canada to Budapest, Hungary, across diverse industries like logistics, insurtech, fintech, proptech, and more.

Check out the tech companies here

Looking for more startup ecosystem news and DMZ updates? Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter to stay in the know here

2022 federal budget digest

Last week, the federal government unveiled their long-awaited budget for 2022, which outlines a number of commitments for the Canadian tech and innovation economy.

The first budget since the Liberal’s re-election last fall, the 2022 budget focuses on growing the Canadian economy while aiming to make everyday life more affordable. Working to reduce its projected deficit, a majority of the government’s new commitments are program-focused, rather than large cash injections. 

We thought we would help out our community by breaking down the budget to highlight what should be on your radar, and how it will impact the startup and innovation economy.

The full federal budget can be found here.


  • Canadian Innovation and Investment Agency: $1 billion over five years towards the creation of a new agency designed to invest in innovation, research, and development. 
  • Canada Growth Fund: A $15 billion growth fund to encourage private sector investment to meet net-zero climate goals and strengthen supply chains.
  • Intellectual property: $96.6 million over five years to build a world-class intellectual property regime, by building on previous investments.
  • Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED): A review of SR&ED to eliminate paperwork needed for the program for startups. 
  • Accelerator to increase housing supply: Accelerator fund to encourage municipal governments to zone for more housing over the next five years. 
  • Dental-care and pharmacare: Plans to cover the cost of dental care for lower income Canadians and plans to create a national pharmacare program. 


A new Canada Growth Fund to encourage private sector investment to meet net-zero climate goals and strengthen supply chains.

  • $15 billion in public capital over five years designed to incentivize private-sector investment in emissions reduction, economic diversification and supply-chain projects. The new program will  run at arm’s length from the government. It will make investments in businesses in firms for equity stakes, loan them money or issue financing guarantees. 

A new Canadian Innovation and Investment Agency to invest in innovation, research, and development.

  • The new agency, modelled after programs in Finland and Israel, will operate independently and will be funded with $1-billion in new spending over five years. Moreover, the government will consult further with Canadian and global experts in finalizing the design and mandate of the new agency. Furthers details will be announced in the 2022 fall economic and fiscal update.


The government has committed more investment into Canada’s national IP initiatives, including:  

  • A new national lab-to-market platform to help graduate students and researchers take their work to market;
  • Investment for the CanExport program to help Canadian businesses secure their intellectual property in foreign markets;
  • A new survey to assess the government’s previous investments in science and research, and how knowledge created at post-secondary institutions generates commercial outcomes;
  • Expanding ExploreIP, Canada’s intellectual property marketplace, so that more public sector intellectual property is put to use helping Canadian businesses; and,
  • Expanding the Intellectual Property Legal Clinics Program, which will make it easier to access basic intellectual property services.


A review of the scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) tax incentive, assessing whether it’s effective in encouraging R&D that benefits Canada will be done. Additionally, the government is considering instituting a patent-box regime to ensure ideas generated domestically turn into IP that stays here.

  • Startups have long complained about the amount of paperwork involved with accessing SR&ED, and the assessment could translate to startups receiving higher payouts from SR&ED, or at least less paperwork to complete. 


The federal government is extending Canada’s Superclusters and is rebranding it to be called Canada’s Global Innovation Clusters. The budget proposes an additional $750 million into the program over six years. 

  • The Superclusters was originally created to focus on projects leveraging plant proteins, advanced manufacturing, AI and oceans. With the rebrand, the government hopes to see the Global Innovation Clusters play a role in greater projects, such as climate change.


Taxable capital for small businesses is increasing from $15 million to $50 million. 

  • Currently, the government taxes small businesses at a reduced rate of 9% on the first $500,000 of taxable income. However, small businesses lose the reduced rate once they hit $15 million. The new budget plans to increase the taxable income limit to $50 million. 


$30 million was committed to expand the CAN Health Network, which is a national partnership comprised of leading Canadian health organizations that work to introduce new solutions into the health care system. 

  • The government hopes to expand the program nationally to Quebec, the territories, and Indigenous communities.
Are you a founder trying to navigate the startup ecosystem? Learn more about programming the DMZ offers here.

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2021 federal and provincial budget digests

How the 2021 federal and provincial budgets impact small businesses and startups

This past month, the federal and provincial government unveiled their long-awaited budgets. With both plans focusing on keeping citizens safe and healthy and kick starting our economic recovery, we now have a glimpse into what the road to post-pandemic recovery will look like.

DMZ has reviewed both the Ontario provincial and federal government budgets and identified key commitments that will affect the small business and startup ecosystem.

Here’s what you need to know about both budgets.

Federal Budget Highlights

The full federal budget can be found here.

High Level Overview – Big Measures

  • $101.4 billion in new spending over three years to fuel the recovery and kick-start the transition to a green economy.
  • $30 billion over five years and $8.3 billion per year after that to create and sustain a national child care program. Goal is a $10/day child care service by 2025-2026.
  • $18 billion to build safer, healthier Indigenous communities.
  • $17.6 billion for green recovery — to conserve 25% of lands and oceans by 2025 and to put Canada on course to exceed climate change targets by cutting emissions to 36% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Small Business Support

  • Emergency Subsidy Supports: The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy will be extended until September 25th 2021, with the possibility of extension till November.
  • Canada Recovery Hiring Program:  A $595 million investment to help businesses pivot to recovery with incentives to hire back, grow hours, or increase wages.
  • Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program: A commitment to provide $960 million over three years for a new training program. Funding will help design and deliver training that is relevant to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses, and to their employees. 
  • Digital Adoption Program: A commitment to a $4 billion investment into a Digital Adoption Program to help Canadian small businesses become more competitive, go digital, and take advantage of e-commerce.
    • This investment will help 160,000 businesses become more competitive, and will create jobs for 28,000 young people.
  • Lowering Credit Card Fees: A commitment to engaging with stakeholders to lower the average overall cost of interchange fees for small businesses.
  • Creating the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Program: The government is investing over $100 million to ensure Canada’s entrepreneurship ecosystem is supporting inclusive growth
    • Enhancing the Canada Small Business Financing Program: The government proposes to improve the Canada Small Business Financing Program through amendments to the Canada Small Business Financing Act. Amendments are projected to increase annual financing by $560 million, supporting approximately 2,900 additional small businesses. 
    • The government is investing $2.6 billion over four years to the Business Development Bank of Canada to help small- and medium-sized businesses finance technology adoption. 
  • Support for Women Entrepreneurs: The government will provide up to $146.9 million over four years, to strengthen the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.
    • Women entrepreneurs would have greater access to financing, mentorship, and training. Funding would also further support the Women Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Fund and the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub.
  • Supporting Black Entrepreneurs: The government is investing an additional $51.7M in the Black Entrepreneurship Program, on top of the previously invested $221 million, to further strengthen the Black entrepreneurship ecosystem.
  • Supporting Aboriginal Entrepreneurs: The government is committing $42 million over three years to expand the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program.
  • Strategic Innovation Fund: Budget 2021 proposes to provide the Strategic Innovation Fund with an incremental $7.2 billion over seven years on a cash basis, starting in 2021-22, and $511.4 million ongoing. 
  • Student Work Placement Program: The government is committing $239.8 million in the Student Work Placement Program in 2021-22 to support work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students. 
  • Skills for Success Program: The government is investing $298 million over three years in a new skills program that would help Canadians at all skills levels improve their skills. The program will fund organizations to design and deliver training to enhance foundational skills, such as literacy and numeracy, as well as transferable and soft skills.

Venture Capital

  • The government has committed to increase venture capital funding and support the continued growth of Canada’s innovative companies, the budget proposes to make available up to $450 million on a cash basis over five years, starting in 2021-22, for a renewed Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative that would increase venture capital available to entrepreneurs.
    • $50 million of this amount would be dedicated to support venture capital investments in life science technologies.
    • $50 million of this amount would support a new Inclusive Growth Stream to increase access to venture capital for underrepresented groups, such as women and racialized communities.

Child Care

  • Establishing a Canada-wide early learning and child care system: The government is investing $30 billion over the next 5 years to establish a $10 per day Canada-wide early learning and child care system which will help all families access affordable, high-quality, and flexible child care no matter where they live. This is the largest initiative to increase the size of Canada’s Labour force since NAFTA.

Minimum Wage

  • Establishing a $15 minimum wage: The Government of Canada announced its intention to introduce legislation that will establish a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, rising with inflation, with provisions to ensure that where provincial or territorial minimum wages are higher, that wage will prevail. 

Green Recovery 

  • The government has committed $17.6 billion into Canada’s green recovery, which it says will help the country exceed its Paris Agreement targets and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Supporting Asian Canadians

  • With the increase in reports of harassment and attacks against Asian Canadians, the government will invest $11 million over two years, to expand the impact of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.

Other notable commitments

  • The Universal Broadband Fund, designed to bring better internet service to remote and rural communities, is getting an extra $1 billion over six years.
  • The CanCode program, which helps young people learn digital skills including coding, is getting $80 million to help it reach three million more students, with an emphasis on underrepresented groups. 
  • The federal government will appoint its first data commissioner, who will issue guidance to help protect people’s personal data and to encourage innovation in the digital marketplace.
  • In efforts to streamline the Express Entry program for highly skilled immigrants, the immigration minister will have the authority to help select Express Entry candidates to become permanent residents. 
    • There’s also a promised overhaul of the digital platform that supports Canada’s immigration system. The government will spend $428.9 million in new funding over five years, so that application processing will improve starting in 2023.


Provincial Budget Highlights

The full provincial budget can be found here.

High Level Overview – Big Measures

  • $16.3 B to Protect Health of Ontarians
  • $23.3 B to Protect the Economy
  • $39.6 B Total Direct Support 
  • $11.3 B Cash Flow for People and Business 
  • $51 B Total Supports over next four years

Small Business Support

  • Ontario is committing to an additional round of support for small businesses through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant. 
    • Small businesses who have been determined as eligible recipients of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant will automatically be entitled to a second payment equal to the amount of their first payment, for minimum total support of $20,000 up to a maximum of $40,000 — no new application necessary. Confirmed eligible businesses can expect to receive their second payment later in the spring.
    • Eligible business owners who have not yet applied for the grant have until March 31, 2021, to submit an application.
  • For main street businesses: Ontario is investing an additional $10 million in the Digital Main Street program in 2021–22 to help more small businesses achieve digital transformation and serve customers effectively online. The program will continue to provide digital transformation grants, an online learning platform, training programs, and digital service squads offering technical support to small business owners.

Investment Support

  • Ontario is committing $400 million over four years to create the Invest Ontario Fund, which will support Invest Ontario and encourage investments in the key sectors of advanced manufacturing, technology and life sciences. The province is pitching it as a “‘one-stop’ shop for business and investors. This is the first funding commitment for the new agency, which the government launched in its last budget. 

Reskilling and Training Tax Credit

  • The government is proposing a new tax credit that would give recipients up to $2,000 to cover 50% of the cost of re-training, for a total of $260 million for 230,000 workers. This refundable tax credit is eligible for those 26 to 65 years in age to seek financial support to return to the Ontario job market. This credit is eligible to be used for tuition to aid in training for new skills at public and private colleges across the province.

Digital Government

  • The highly anticipated digital ID is expected to be released by the end of year. This new form of secure, electronic government-issued ID will conveniently be used to access government services while protecting data privacy. This technology will allow users to be in full control of personal information and who it is shared with. 
  • The government has also set aside $500 million for the Ontario Acceleration Fund which includes:
    • $2.2 million to develop the Single Window for Business, a transformational digital solution designed to use emerging technology, data, and responsive design to improve the business experience with government services. A designated single window will provide a solution that makes it easier for businesses to access the information and services they need to get up‐and running, create jobs and grow.

Increased Broadband Capacity

  • The budget pledges $2.8 billion in new funding for broadband infrastructure, as the province promises to expand reliable services to every region of the province by 2025. The commitment brings its total broadband funding to almost $4 billion for the six years starting in 2019–20. 

Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network

  • Ontario is investing $56.4 million over the next four years to create the new Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network. This will help accelerate the development of the next generation electric, connected and autonomous vehicle and mobility technologies that contribute to a lower environmental and carbon footprint.

Research and Development

  • The province plans to contribute more than $500 million to research and development with the potential for health-related and other breakthroughs at universities, colleges and academic hospitals. It plans to spend the money alongside federal and private-sector partners, citing the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, the Ontario Brain Institute, Ontario Genomics, Compute Ontario and the Fields and Perimeter institutes.

Are you a founder trying to navigate the startup ecosystem? Learn more about programming DMZ offers here.