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Business Development Bank of Canada

Business Development Bank of Canada
Company typeCrown corporation
IndustryDevelopment banking Consulting
Founded1944 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
HeadquartersPlace Ville Marie
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Key people
Total assets$30.6 billion (2019)[1]: 30 
Number of employees
2,300 (2019)

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC; French: Banque de développement du Canada) is a Crown corporation and national development bank wholly owned by the Government of Canada, mandated to help create and develop Canadian businesses through financing, growth and transition capital, venture capital and advisory services, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises.[2]

Founded in 1944,[3] its corporate headquarters is located in Montreal and it has more than 123 business centres working with 60,000 clients.[4] BDC's debt obligations, secured by the Government of Canada, are issued to public and private sector institutions.


The bank was established by an Act of Parliament[5] as the Industrial Development Bank (IDB) in September 1944. IDB was initially an arm of the Bank of Canada, and the Governor of the Bank was also Chief Executive Officer of the IDB. During its first years, the bank's main role was to help small "industrial enterprises" convert from military production to peacetime operations after World War II.[3] IDB was one of the first and largest development banks in the world.[3]

The Industrial Development Bank Act was first amended in 1952 to allow the bank to offer financing to companies in the commercial airlines industry. By the mid-1950s, one in ten planes in Canada was financed by IDB.[3] Later, the Industrial Development Bank Act was amended twice more to allow the bank to lend to companies in almost all industries.

By 1964, 20 years after its foundation, IDB had 22 branches across Canada, covering main cities such as Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver, including operations in relatively rural areas. In the mid-1970s, the bank added consulting and training to its financial offerings to help entrepreneurs better manage their businesses.[6]

In 1975, its name was changed to Federal Business Development Bank (FBDB), and its venture capital operations were started. At the time, the bank was known as "a lender of last resort"—supporting businesses in difficulty.[7]

In 1995, the Business Development Bank of Canada Act was passed, leading to a new name and mission for the bank. It mandated BDC to promote entrepreneurship, focusing on the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to fill gaps in the market and maximize financing alternatives for businesses by offering services that were complementary to those available from other financial institutions.[2]

BDC is financially self-sustaining.[8] Since 1998, it has been profitable and paid a total of more than $746 million in dividends to its sole shareholder, the Government of Canada.[9] On June 8, 2022, BDC’s Board of Director authorized the repurchase of $5.0 billion of its common shares. Every ten years, the Minister of Industry must conduct a review of the provisions and operations of the BDC Act. The last legislative review was completed in December 2014.[10]

In April 2021, the Bank announced the appointment of Isabelle Hudon as President and Chief Executive Officer as of August of the same year, at the end of the term of current CEO Michael Denham.[11] In 2023, current and former staff raised concerns about spending at the bank, including expenditure on consulting services from McKinsey & Company and air transport for a private chauffeur.[12]


BDC Head Office in Montreal
BDC Building, Stelco Tower, Hamilton, Ontario

BDC offers loans and advisory services with a focus on small and medium-sized companies. It reports to Parliament through the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.[13] BDC Capital, a subsidiary of BDC, offers specialized financing, including venture capital, equity as well as growth and business transition capital.[14]

BDC's Venture Capital arm makes strategic investments in Canadian companies through its Energy/Cleantech Fund, Healthcare Fund and IT Fund. Notable investments include GradeSlam, Q1 Labs, Radian6, Canopy Labs, D-Wave Systems, CoolIT Systems,[15][16] Protiva Biotherapeutics[17] and Klipfolio Dashboard.[18][19]

BDC is a complementary lender, offering commercial loans and investments that fill out or complete services available from private-sector financial institutions. It also provides advice to businesses through its advisory services division.[20]

Launched by FBDB in 1979, Small Business Week[21] is a yearly celebration of entrepreneurs and their contribution to Canadian society. It became a nationwide event in 1981.[22]

Tax Exemption

BDC is exempt from taxes imposed by the Income Tax Act.[23]


BDC was named among Canada's Top 100 employers[24] from 2007 to 2018.

BDC Capital won multiple Deal of the Year Awards from the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association in the venture capital category. It won in 2011, for its investment in Radian6 Technologies Inc.;[25] in 2012, for its investment in Q1 Labs Inc.;[26] and again in 2014, for its investment in Layer 7 Technologies.[27]


  1. ^ "2019 Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  2. ^ a b "Business Development Bank of Canada Act". Justice Laws Website. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  3. ^ a b c d "History of the Business Development Bank of Canada". BDC. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
  4. ^ BDC Annual Report, 2017 Retrieved 2018-01-23
  5. ^ Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Retrieved 2012-05-04
  6. ^ "1965 - 1974 A decade of diversification". BDC. Archived from the original on 2011-04-01. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  7. ^ Layne, Donald. "History of the Business Development Bank of Canada - The FBDB period (1975-1995)" (PDF). p. 32. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-01-24. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  8. ^ "General FAQ". BDC. Retrieved September 3, 2022. So you don't give money? Shouldn't a crown corporation be helping Canadians? - BDC has been supporting Canadian businesses since 1944. Our innovative financing and advisory services are specifically designed to respond to the needs of today's Canadian businesses while allowing the bank to be financially sustainable.
  9. ^ BDC 2015 Annual Report p. 31. BDC 2019 Annual Report 2019 p.35
  10. ^ "Laws and reports". Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  11. ^ "Nomination d'une première femme à la tête de la BDC: Isabelle Hudon". Archived from the original on 2021-04-30.
  12. ^ Leblac, Daniel (23 Jan 2023). "Crown corporation faces staff backlash over McKinsey contract, spending decisions". CBC.
  13. ^ "Organization Profile - Business Development Bank of Canada". Governor in Council Appointments. Archived from the original on 2013-11-20.
  14. ^ "About us". BDC. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  15. ^ "CoolIT Receives Growth Investment to Further Fund Innovation and International Expansion". HPCwire. March 4, 2021. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  16. ^ "CoolIT secures growth investment from BDC and nVent - Private Capital Journal". CPE News. March 4, 2021. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  17. ^ "Protiva Biotherapeutics completes private financing round". Citeline. 2003-05-29. Archived from the original on 2023-09-04. Retrieved 2023-09-04.
  18. ^ "IT Venture Fund". BDC. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  19. ^ "Industrial, Clean and Energy Technology (ICE) Venture Fund". BDC. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  20. ^ "What we do". BDC. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  21. ^ Canadian Intellectual Property Office
  22. ^ "Fact Sheet - Small Business Week®" (PDF). BDC. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-12-26. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  23. ^ Branch, Legislative Services (2020-03-25). "Consolidated federal laws of Canada, Business Development Bank of Canada Act". Retrieved 2023-02-09.
  24. ^ Canada's Top 100 Employers. Retrieved 2012-05-04
  25. ^ "Summerhill, Brightspark and BDC Winners of CVCA's 2011 Venture Capital 'Deal of the Year' Award" (PDF). Canada's Venture Capital & Private Equity Association. September 21, 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-08-18.
  26. ^ "BDC Venture Capital secures the CVCA's Deal of the Year Award for the second year in a row". BDC. September 20, 2012. Archived from the original on 2018-01-24. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  27. ^ "BDC and GrowthWorks Win CVCA's "Deal of The Year" For Layer7 Technologies". Betakit. May 22, 2014. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
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Business Development Bank of Canada
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