You Bet Your Glass: Show me the (government) money
By Frank Fulton
The money is out there for the taking and anybody can go after it.
By Frank Fulton
If you and your company pay taxes in Canada and read the newspapers, you must often feel that every special interest group in the country and those who know how to play the system are gorging at the public trough that you have to keep filling up.
Today, I’m going to provide a few tips about how a legitimate businessperson like you can benefit from a long list of government incentives available to improve and grow your business.
Of particular interest to glazing contractors, and one I only recently heard of, is the Storefront and Renovation Grant program offered by municipalities across the country. There is a growing trend of providing grant money to businesses to fund building renovations, repairs and improvements to commercial facades and storefronts. The replacement of windows and doors and the re-design of the storefront are typically eligible for funding with amounts varying by region.
As a business owner, the question of “Can I afford to hire additional staff and will they increase my business if I do” is always a tough call. There are a number of programs available to you to take some of the risk out of bringing on new staff.
There are hiring grants available to employers to offset the costs of training new employees that apply to both salaried and hourly positions. It may be a fixed dollar amount grant or a percentage of the hourly rate and provides up to 50 per cent of the new employee’s salary for up to four months to a maximum of $6,000 per new employee.
In Ontario, the Hire An Apprentice program provides up to $19,200 in funding to companies to train an apprentice and is payable upon the achievement of key milestones such as on-the-job and classroom training and final certification.
The Federal Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit is a non-refundable tax credit equal to 10 per cent of the eligible salaries and wages payable to eligible apprentices up to a maximum of $2,000 per year for each eligible apprentice. If your business hires an apprentice, you qualify to claim the credit.
The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant is a cash grant of $1,000 per year to registered apprentices in a Red Seal trade. Upon completion of the apprenticeship program and obtaining their journeyperson certification, the successful trainee is eligible for a one-time grant of $2,000 under the Apprenticehip Completion Grant program.
Maybe you’re not sure about bringing on more staff but would like to improve the skills of the ones you already have. In this case there are some very generous programs out there for upgrading and training. The Canada Job Grant Program is available across the country and provides up to $10,000 of funding per new or existing employee for all types of training. You can get grants for upgrading the skills of your outside workers but can also use the grants toward many of the other areas of your business such as estimating, drafting, Autocad, accounting, project management, COR certification or salesmanship, to name a few. If you are a small business with under 50 employees, the CJGP covers 80 per cent of your costs of training, including wages during the training time, up to the maximum. This particular grant fund is replenished every April and is limited so the timing of your application is very important. Now would be a good time to start working on it.
Bonny Koabel with AKR Consulting Canada (an OGMA member) has worked with a number of companies in the architectural glass and metal field and has been successful in securing grants for many companies in our industry. “Our experience is that most companies aren’t aware of the grants and tax credits that are out there available to them. Some who have applied were turned down because they couldn’t navigate their way through the paperwork and application process.”
So, the money is there for the taking, and anybody can go after it, but the application processes can be time consuming and frustrating. If you’ve dealt with government organizations you know what I mean. You’re busy running your business and that’s where bringing in people with the expertise who know where to go, where the money is available, who to talk to and how to submit a winning application makes sense. So, talk to a specialist in sourcing grants, let them do all the work, and tell them “show me the money.”
Frank Fulton is the president of Fultech Fenestration Consulting, a director with the OGMA and a former principal in Fulton Windows.