$1.26B Strategic Innovation Fund now accepting applications


$1.26B Strategic Innovation Fund now accepting applications

The Government of Canada has now launched its much anticipated $1.26B Strategic Innovation Fund, a new program to attract and support high-quality business investments across all industry sectors.

Quick Facts.

  • This new five-year fund was first announced in Budget 2017.
  • It consolidates and simplifies the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI), the Technology Demonstration Program (TDP), the Automotive Innovation Fund (AIF) and the Automotive Supplier Innovation Program (ASIP).
  • The Strategic Innovation Fund is open to all industries and will support four types of innovation activities: (1) research, development and commercialization of new products and services; (2) growth and scale-up of high-potential firms; (3) attraction of new investments to Canada; and (4) public-private collaborations in developing and demonstrating new technologies.
  • The fund will provide both grants and repayable contributions to businesses of all sizes.

Funding Streams.

The fund will offer four distinct applicant streams:

  1. Stream 1: Encourage R&D that will accelerate technology transfer and commercialization of innovative products, processes and services.
  2. Stream 2: Facilitate the growth and expansion of firms in Canada.
  3. Stream 3: Attract and retain large scale investments to Canada.
  4. Stream 4: Advance industrial research, development and technology demonstration through collaboration between academia, nonprofits and the private sector.

Eligibility Requirements.

  • Under Streams 1-3, the Applicant must be a for-profit business.
  • Under Stream 4, applicants are consortia or networks that may include Canadian universities, colleges, research institutes, businesses and/or nonprofits.
  • Eligible projects must correspond to the approved Technology Readiness Levels associated with each Stream:
  • Stream 1: TRL 1 to 9 (Basic principles observed and reportedto Actual product and/or process proven successful)
  • Stream 2: TRL 8 to 9 (Actual product and/or process completed and qualified through test and demonstrationto Actual product and/or process proven successful)
  • Stream 3: TRL 2 and above (Technology concept and/or application formulatedto Actual product and/or process proven successful)
  • Stream 4: TRL 1 to 7 (Basic principles observed and reportedto Product and/or process prototype demonstration in an operational environment).


  • The amount awarded to each applicant will vary depending on eligible activities.
  • The government will not contribute more than 50% of eligible costs. The maximum level of funding will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.
  • Contributions under Stream 4 will be non-repayable and will not exceed 50% of eligible costs, except for recipients that are academic institutions or networks, where the contribution provided may cover 100% of eligible costs.

Details on how to apply can be found here.

Client Profile: Tax Audit Solutions (TAS)

Tax Audit Solutions (TAS)

By Dan White, President of TAS


TAS is an active member in the local business community. They are members of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce and are a client of the Spark Centre.

The business evolved from a firm that focused on international business companies, (IBCs) high end tax strategies and regular tax accounting, to a firm that focuses on helping taxpayers who found themselves in trouble with the Tax Man. The understanding of IBCs and tax strategies was instrumental in the morphing into a different business model, where an understanding of complicated tax scenarios is extremely useful.

The transition to becoming a Tax Representative occurred over time because there is no formal training for Tax Representatives. This is a specialized field that one learns in the trenches. Representatives must learn and understand the inner workings of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and tax policy. Reps must know income and excise tax law and how to stand firm on facts and law during a tax audit.

All audits are investigative by nature and a Rep must understand they are dealing with a civil law investigator. There is a profound difference between a civil investigation and a criminal investigation and a representative must understand the distinction. Although auditors have broad powers, there are strict rules governing what they can and can not do. The Rep’s job is to ensure that audits do not cross the Rubicon. (A tax term for crossing the line.)

Hosting an audit is not about explaining what was done and answering a never ending stream of questions, rather it is about presenting the facts and tax law in a manner where numbers are not disputed, and the issues can be resolved.

Being Audit Ready requires accounting to be done in a manner similar to forensic accounting. CRA has made it standard policy to consider a net worth assessment in all audits. Therefore the rep must take note of money transfers and any gains in taxpayer wealth that is not accounted for, because that is what CRA will watch for.

The knowledge and skill TAS has gained has allowed them to extend their services in support of other accountants, lawyers and trustees.

In order to run their business efficiently and to keep client’s costs to a minimum, TAS developed their own Practice Management software. The code name is “Ogeemo.” The software has been cloud based for over a decade and features its own virtual operating system. Ogeemo offers an integrated business package including accounting, email, document management, task management, project management and knowledge base.

The Ogeemo software has its own intelligent data base that is capable of running highly complex business processes. It will also be able to automatically create on line forms, which will be a huge cost saving to any company that requires large amounts of on line data entry.

TAS is working with the Spark Centre to take phase 3 of Ogeemo to the market at large. Currently it is in ‘In House” beta version and will be rolled out to users sometime this year.

TAS is a good example of how today’s business can ride the technology curve to increase their business efficiency.


Spark Centre Ignites Canadian Innovation Partnership with Ontario Power Generation

Spark Innovation Centre and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) are partnering to ignite Canadian innovation with their annual Ignite Start-up Pitch Competition.

“We couldn’t be more encouraged by OPG’s decision to partner with Spark Centre for this year’s Ignite competition,” said Spark Centre President & CEO, Sherry Colbourne. “Durham Region has incredible bench strength in energy technologies and joining forces with one of Durham Region’s legacy energy companies is a pivotal event for this entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

“Innovation is a key pillar of Ontario Power Generation,” said Jason Van Wart OPG’s Vice President Nuclear Inspections and Maintenance. “We are proud to partner with Spark and the Ignite competition to spur innovation across Ontario.”

Ignite is now entering its fifth year and is a pitch competition organized by Spark Centre and supported by several municipalities and businesses across Durham Region.  OPG is looking to collaborate with innovators, entrepreneurs, and businesses to develop next-generation technology in the inspection industry. The winner of this category will collaborate with OPG and receive $25,000 of seed funding to further develop their idea.

The OPG category is looking for innovative ideas in the following areas:

  • Automation and Robotics
  • NDE (Non-Destructive Examination)
  • Drones (UAVs – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)
  • Process Management
  • Software Solutions
  • Underwater Inspections (Diving Operations)
  • Laser Scanning/Mapping
  • Data Visualization

Applications for all Ignite categories open August 21st and close September 29th.  Those interested in applying can do so at www.ignitedurham.ca.

About OPG: OPG Generates safe, clean, reliable, low-cost power for Ontario. More than 99 per cent of this power is free of smog and greenhouse gas emissions. OPG’s power is priced 40 per cent lower than other generators, which helps moderate customer bills. For more information please visit www.opg.com.

About Spark Centre: Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre is one of eighteen not-for-profit Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) that form part of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). The centre works to improve competitiveness and visibility of Durham Region and Northumberland County as a world-class innovation cluster. For more information on Spark Centre, please visit www.sparkcentre.org.


For more information:                                                                     
Amanda Reynolds
Director of Marketing, Spark Innovation Centre

Media Relations
Ontario Power Generation
416-592-4008 or 1-877-592-4008
Follow us @opg

Client Profile: Qloud+

Hi, it’s nice to meet you!

We’re Qloud+. No, not Q-Loud, we prefer QloudPlus

(or, Cloud Plus), if you please. 


About Qloud+
Do you spend lots of time looking for your files?  Us too.  That’s why we created Qloud+.

Connect to as many cloud storage accounts as you want. Choose from the most popular services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive.

#FindYourFilesFaster and spend less time looking and more time finding with easy search tools. Access your recent files, uploads, shares, favorites, all at a glance.

Get More Done  Qloud+ Activities provide you with superhero powers, so you can get more done and get on with it faster, whatever it is (and it’s not looking for files!).


What Can You do with Qloud+? Glad you asked!



You can use the powerful Qloud+ Search to #FindYourFilesFaster from all of your connected cloud storage accounts. Spend less time looking and more time finding!



You can now effortlessly create groups of files and folders from any connected storage account, even if it was only shared with you.

Awesome, right?  We call this Qloud+ Collections.



You can now do all kinds of stuff with your files and folders using Qloud+

From day-to-day upload and download, to creating folders, organizing your stuff, and even sharing, you can do it for all of your connected accounts all in Qloud+.



We built some really cool ways to help you #FindYourFilesFaster in Qloud+ and we put a bunch of them together for you in the QlickList.

The QlickList is where you can go to quickly find items from across all of your connected accounts like:

Shares: literally everything you have shared, or that has been shared with you, from all of your connected accounts, in one list (BOOM)

Recent: all the recently modified files attached to your Qloud+ account, even if someone else modified them, and has it shared with you, you’ll find it in your list at a glance

Deleted: a combined recycling bin for all of your connected accounts, anything you have ‘deleted’ but not permanently removed can be found here

Favorites: You can now tag your favorite files and folders and find them in a flash on your Qloud+ Favorites list

Collections: Get to your Qloud+ Collections and carry on with that awesomeness from here as well!

Remember, Q is the new C 🙂 so you can now your files are just a Qlick away!



When Qloud+ analyzes your connected accounts, we provide you with some cool Insights about what you have. We give you quick and easy ways to #FindYourFilesFaster based on activity, size, type, and even show you how much space you have left. So cool!

Figure 1 – Qloud+ Insights


Come join Qloud+ today and #FindYourFilesFaster