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Unemployed? Find Help with Government Grants

July 4, 2012
2 mins
A woman working on a desktop computer looks at something on a man's laptop

While a phrase like “government handouts” is precisely the kind of thing Tea Partiers rally against, the reality is that grant and loan programs are developed to help promote a variety of businesses when times are tight. They offer a stepping stone into the workforce for those who might otherwise join the ranks of the unemployed. Here’s a snapshot of some of the types of programs out there, and where to find others.

That’s the entrepreneurial spirit

Have you always wanted to work for yourself – and have the perfect startup business in mind – but just need a financial kick start? The Canada Small Business Financing Program is a federal program, implemented through various financial institutions, that provides business loans that are capped at a maximum of 3% above the institution’s prime lending rate.

Provincial employment opportunities

Young and living in Northern Ontario? The provincial government is willing to offer you up to $25,000 to help launch a for-profit business.

Once you do get up and running, you’ll need to promote your company. If you live on Prince Edward Island, the province’s Marketing Support Program will cover up to 40% of the costs of developing, designing, and placing an advertising campaign.

Back to school

The federal government offers two types of assistance to people interested in going back to school to improve their position in the job market: low-interest loans, and grants, where you don’t have to pay the money back.

Since the Canada Student Loans program launched in 1964, more than 4 million students have tapped into it for assistance with tuition fees. The Canada Student Grants Program offers up to $250 a month for people from low-income households. Other grants are available for people with disabilities or part-time students with dependent children.

For more info on both the grant and loan programs, visit the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). Looking for more information on provincial programs? Click here.

Hands-on work

Good with your hands? Then you might want to get into the trades. Specifically, Red Seal Trades, an inter-provincial standards program for apprenticeships in jobs ranging from metalworking and carpentry to cooks and hairstylists.

HRSDC also offers up to $4,000 in grants to apprentices who complete their training. And, once you’re done, mention the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit to potential employers, which will gain them up to 10% of your salary in tax credits.

Renovation rebates

For those of us who do have jobs – and homes, in disrepair – governments recognize that providing incentives for homeowners to undertake environmentally friendly renovations have a two-prong benefit: it helps drive spending in the home renovation market – benefiting both retailers and small business owners – and it helps minimize the eco footprint of buildings, one house at a time.

Unfortunately, the federal ecoEnergy Retrofit program has wrapped up, but there are a number of other provincial, municipal, and utility run programs providing greenback incentives for going green. They range from the small (Union Gas offers clients $25 for installing energy saving programmable thermostats) to large: Efficiency Nova Scotia, offers as much as $3,000 for upgrading home insulation.

Looking for more info on renovation funding? Click here.

Allan Britnell

Toronto-based freelancer Allan Britnell is an award-winning writer with nearly 20 years’ experience. He covers a diverse range of topics, including DIY and professional home renovation projects, nature and the environment, small business, personal finance, and family and health issues. He is also the managing editor of Renovation Contractor, the publication written for small- and medium-sized contracting and custom home building companies. He lives in Toronto with his wife, two daughters, and their dog, Oscar.

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