Doing R&D in Halifax Pays Off

December 7, 2017

Halifax’s highly educated workforce, critical mass of scientists, and competitive operating costs and incentives, make it an ideal location for innovative companies undertaking R&D.

Global firms like Lockheed Martin, IBM, Irving Shipbuilding and CAE are examples of companies that have benefitted from Halifax’s R&D advantages. Over 3,000 public and private sector scientists are undertaking cutting edge research in data analytics, engineering, life sciences, renewable energy and ocean technology. Here are a few reasons why doing R&D in Halifax pays off.


Innovate with Post-Secondary Partners  

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Companies in various industries partner with Halifax’s six universities and the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) to work on exciting R&D and commercialization initiatives. Most post-secondary institutions have industry liaison offices to foster and facilitate industry partnerships. They include the Industrial Liaison and Innovation (ILI) at Dalhousie University, the Office of Innovation and Community Engagement (OICE) at Saint Mary's University and Nova Scotia Community College's Customized Learning Office.

IBM Canada has taken advantage of collaboration opportunities with its multi-university and college project called “CARET” (Collaboration for Analytics Research, Education and Technology). Through CARET, IBM and its post-secondary partners are doing research in the fast-emerging fields of data analytics and optimization while also creating career opportunities for new graduates. 

Save on R&D Costs

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Canada has the lowest costs in the G7 for R&D intensive sectors, with up to a 27.7% advantage over the US, and offers companies one of the most generous R&D tax incentives in the industrialized world. Combine these advantages with provincial incentives and Halifax’s significantly lower business costs (KPMG ranks Halifax 6th out of 111 North American cities for overall operating costs), and doing R&D in Halifax makes good business sense.


Benefit from R&D Programs and Incentives 

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Companies undertaking R&D in Halifax can take advantage of a variety of programs and incentives including:

  • Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Tax Incentive Program
    Companies in Canada that invest in R&D can apply for SR&ED tax incentives, irrespective of size, industry sector, or field of technology. It provides tax incentives for the direct in-house cost of performing eligible R&D work in Canada. 

  • Atlantic Innovation Fund
    The Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) helps businesses operating in Atlantic Canada develop and bring to market innovative new products and services that maximize benefits from national R&D programs or lead to the creation of research and commercialization partnerships among businesses, universities and research institutions. Organizations can earn up to 75% of the total project costs for private-sector led projects and 80% for projects led by not-for-profit organizations. 

  • Nova Scotia Research & Development Tax Credit
    This credit offers tax relief to Nova Scotia corporations that incur qualified scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) expenditures made in Nova Scotia. If you qualify for the federal SR&ED, then the provincial government will provide an additional 15% top-up for activities within Nova Scotia.

  • Nova Scotia Capital Investment Tax Credit
    The Nova Scotia Capital Investment Tax Credit (CITC) is a refundable corporate income tax credit claimed by eligible corporations for capital equipment acquired for use in Nova Scotia. The tax credit is 15% of the capital cost of "qualified property" acquired in a taxation year, with a maximum tax credit of $30 million per approved project.

  • Nova Scotia Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program
    This program supports companies in undertaking research projects with post-secondary institutions. Awards are up to either $15,000 or $25,000. 

  • Science and Technology Assistance Program
    With support from the National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), Dalhousie University has developed an initiative to help Canadian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) strengthen their competitiveness and enhance their growth by providing companies easy access to short-term scientific and technical expertise.
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Engage Grants
    NSERC Engage Grants are designed to give companies operating from a Canadian base access to the unique knowledge and expertise available at Canadian universities. Engage Grants support well-defined projects undertaken by eligible university researchers and their private-sector partners. A maximum grant of $25,000 over a period not exceeding six months is awarded to the academic researcher to cover the direct project costs associated with the research activities needed to address the identified problem. 

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) grants
    The Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) Grants are intended to give companies access to the knowledge, expertise, and educational resources available at Canadian post-secondary institutions and to train students in essential technical skills required by industry. Direct project costs are shared by the industrial partner(s) and NSERC. Projects may range from one year to five years in duration, but most awards are for two or three years.

  • Co-op Education Incentive
    The Co-op Education Incentive (CO-OP) provides wage assistance to private sector, government-funded and non-profit organizations offering career-related work experiences for university and community college co-operative students. Employers participating in IRAP and SR&ED are eligible for an R&D Incentive and may receive up to $10.00 per hour.

  • Work Smarts – Wage Subsidy Program
    Work Smarts is an employment wage subsidy funded by Service Canada and facilitated by The Sobey School Business Development Centre (SSBDC). Through this program, employers are provided with wage subsidies to assist in hiring recent graduates.

  • Workplace Innovation & Productivity Skills Incentive (WIPSI)
    WIPSI supplements employer contributions to train full-time staff. A small business in Nova Scotia with less than 50 employees, may be eligible for up to 100% of their training costs to be covered up to $10,000. For larger businesses, WIPSI provides up to 50% of direct training costs.



For more Information:

If you are interested in learning more about Halifax's R&D programs and incentives for your business, please contact the Halifax Partnership's Director of Trade & International Activities, Jason Guidry. 

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Jason Guidry
Director, Investment, Trade & International Partnerships
Halifax Partnership


Email Jason