Frequently asked questions

What are the Global Innovation Clusters?

The Global Innovation Clusters program is designed to help strengthen Canada's most promising economic clusters and accelerate growth in highly innovative industries (such as, advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology, digital technology, health/bioscience and clean resources, infrastructure and transportation), while positioning Canadian firms for global leadership.

Learn more about the clusters Initiative.

What are Canada's five clusters?

Canada's five clusters are:

How can I get involved in a cluster?

Any size organization from all sectors of the economy are welcome to become members of the clusters, including individuals like researchers. Each cluster has a different model for membership, including different fee and benefit structures. Members may propose and participate in projects. Organizations can be members in more than one cluster.

Please consult the cluster websites for more information on becoming a member:

Does a company need to be a member of a cluster to participate in a project?

Each cluster has its own membership and project guidelines. If you are interested in submitting a project proposal or joining other cluster activities, we suggest reaching out to the cluster directly.

Will other industry clusters be added to the Global Innovation Clusters program as new clusters?

The Government of Canada recognizes the important contribution that clusters of all sizes can make to Canada's economy. At this time, the priority for the Global Innovation Clusters program is to focus on the five clusters announced in 2018.

How much funding is the federal government investing through the Global Innovation Clusters program ?

The Global Innovation Clusters program is investing nearly $2 billion in Canada's five clusters over ten years through the following non-repayable contributions, to be matched at least equally by industry:

  • Digital Technology – up to $298 million
  • Protein Industries – up to $323 million
  • Advanced Manufacturing – up to $427 million
  • Scale AI – up to $284 million
  • Ocean – up to $278 million

This includes $950 million announced in Budget 2017, an additional $60 million announced in Budget 2021 to continue support of innovative Canadian projects and firms as part of economic recovery, of which the Digital Technology, Protein Industries and Advanced Manufacturing clusters have each been allocated an additional $20 million, and the $750 million announced in Budget 2022. A total of $71 million in program funding remained unused by the end of the first five years of the program. As a result, it was returned to the fiscal framework in line with Budget 2023 measures.

What other funding opportunities support clusters and networks? 

The Government of Canada offers many types of support for businesses and initiatives.

To get a personalized list of the best supports for your initiative, visit the Business Benefits Finder. The Business Benefits Finder will provide you with a personalized list of supports offered by the federal, provincial and territorial governments, including funding, loans, wage subsidies, collaboration opportunities, tax credits and more.

How does the Global Innovation Clusters program promote the sharing of intellectual property (IP)?

Each cluster has an IP strategy, a dedicated IP Manager, and an IP database. In addition, every collaborative technology project is required to include an IP agreement.

The IP strategy sets out how each cluster will strike a balance between providing its members with access to project-generated IP, while protecting the commercial interests of individual project partners, including small-and-medium-sized businesses. This encourages more collaboration and innovation, leading to good commercial outcomes.

The IP Manager helps members and provides opportunities for members to learn more about IP, including workshops about how to protect IP.

The IP database is where each cluster stores all information related to IP generated from their projects. Members are able to use this database to more easily license rights to the various IP assets, and further encourages the sharing of IP for greater innovation and collaboration.

For all collaborative technology projects, partners must enter into an IP agreement for the project work. The agreement must provide an overview of the IP that is expected to be generated in the project, as well as the ownership and licensing terms of the expected IP.

Is an industry contribution to the Global Innovation Clusters program eligible under the Industrial and Technological Benefit (ITB) Policy?

Though initial private-sector commitments to the cluster that were made as part of the application process are not eligible under the ITB Policy, any subsequent or new company investment into an established cluster could be considered, and will be reviewed to determine if it meets ITB eligibility criteria.

Companies are encouraged to contact ITB officials directly to discuss potential cluster investments. New investments can and be reviewed to determine if they meets ITB eligibility criteria.

Is this initiative only for large organizations?

No, the Global Innovation Clusters program has a focus on collaboration and welcomes the participation of organizations of all sizes. It aims to build connections between small to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and large companies, and provide companies with access to domestic and global supply chains. All technology projects have at least one SME partner.

Those interested in joining should reach out to the cluster directly.

Can a foreign company invest in a cluster project?

To receive funding as part of a cluster project, companies must be organizations incorporated and active in Canada.

International firms can leverage Canada's innovation capacity by exploring opportunities to work with the clusters and to add participants to their supply chains. Please contact the clusters directly to learn more.

I have other questions about the clusters.

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