2018-2019 Guide to submitting proposals to the Contributions Program for Non-profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations

Table of contents

Section 1 - Introduction

1.1 Background

The Contributions Program for Non-profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations (the Program) was established by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada's (ISED) Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) in order to support such organizations in the production of high quality, independent and timely research on consumer issues.

The overall goal of the Program is to strengthen the consumer's role in the marketplace through the promotion of sound research and analysis, and by encouraging the financial self-sufficiency of consumer and voluntary organizations.

Before submitting a proposal, it is recommended that you:

  1. Review the projects currently funded under the Program:  http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc.nsf/eng/ca02956.html    
  2. Review the past projects funded under the Program. This information is located in the ISED's Consumer Policy Research Database at: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc.nsf/eng/h_ca02236.html
  3. The potential areas of interest for 2018-2019 are as follows:
    • Consumer interest in the electronic marketplace: for example, digital rights and responsibilities, compliance and enforcement online, use of digital media for buying and comparison shopping;
    • Consumers and the financial sector: for example, online and high cost lending products, use of Fin Tech.;
    • Disruptive technologies: for example, blockchain, the sharing economy;
    • Consumers and emerging trends in the communications sector; and
    • Sustainable consumption: for example, consumer understanding of environmental sustainability standards and business sustainable practices.

Eligible organizations may also submit proposals on any other relevant consumer issue that they can demonstrate is of importance.

1.2 How to Use this Guide

This guide explains the Program. Please read all sections of this guide before preparing your proposal.

  • Section 2 outlines the Program's eligibility criteria and explains its funding structure;
  • Section 3 describes how to prepare a proposal;
  • Section 4 provides information on eligible costs;
  • Section 5 explains how ISED evaluates proposals;
  • Annexes 1-3 outline all questions contained in the Application Form for each type of proposal; and
  • Annex 4 provides frequently asked questions pertaining to use of the Application Form.

1.3 Contacting ISED

Any inquiries regarding the Program and the related applications and proposals should be addressed to:

Office of Consumer Affairs
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
235 Queen Street
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0H5
Tel: 343-291-3051        
Email: ic.ocacontributions-contributionsbc.ic@canada.ca

Section 2 – Program Overview

Please read this section of the guide carefully. It will help you understand the Program and whether or not you are eligible to apply.

2.1 Eligibility

Who is eligible?

Eligible recipients will be voluntary organizations that are incorporated as non-profit corporations in Canada and which can demonstrate that they:

  • have a governance structure which assures accountability to a membership representing the consumer interest;
  • have the structure, governance and funding arrangements which do not expose them to commercial influence on their research and policy positions;
  • are capable of reaching consumers who are not members of the organization itself;
  • are competent, credible, and accountable in carrying out the projects; and
  • are guided by objectives which are consistent with the program objective.

Who is not eligible?

Individuals and profit-oriented organizations are not eligible for support under the Program. Industry, trade and professional groupings are excluded from eligibility, as are representatives of business or commercial interests. Government departments, agencies and organizations, academic institutions and their associated research agencies, and political parties and organizations involved in partisan political activity do not qualify for Program support.

2.2 Types of Funding Available

Two types of funding are available under the Program: Research Project Contributions, and Development Project Contributions. The total Program budget is $1,690,000.

2.3 Research Project Contributions

Research Project Contributions support sound research and analysis directed at consumer protection issues which are national in scope. They improve the capacity of consumer organizations to carry out such research and analytical activities.

Please note that research projects aimed at supporting educational activities, conferences, workshops, exhibitions and promotional materials, magazines, guides, folders, web sites, training programs and the like are not eligible.

2.4 Development Project Contributions

Development Project Contributions are aimed at capacity building for consumer and voluntary organizations, and fall into two categories:

  • Organizational Development Project Contributions aim to strengthen an organization's capacity to diversify revenue sources and increase its level of self-sufficiency. Projects may include preparation of multi-year business plans, feasibility studies (including online services) and market analyses, or pilot projects for developing and producing products or services with the potential to generate long term revenues for the organization, or increase its visibility and/or the membership base.
  • Consumer Movement Development Project Contributions aim to strengthen organizations' capacity to work collaboratively in the interest of Canadian consumers by developing joint plans and initiatives in the areas of policy research, analysis and development; by creating and implementing action plans to address issues of national concern; by making concerted international representations; and by establishing joint representation and communication initiatives with the public, with government, and with industry.

2.5 Program Budget Allocations

The amount of assistance will be that which, in the opinion of the Minister is required to ensure that the project proceeds successfully. The government assistance may not exceed the eligible costs supported. For more information on eligible costs, please refer to Section 4.

The maximum contribution per project is $100,000 (a project may span 2 years). The maximum amount that can be awarded to a single organization per year is $500,000 for all projects undertaken.

2.6 Project Duration

Projects may span a period of weeks or months. One-year projects may begin no earlier than April 1, 2018 and must be completed by March 31, 2019, at the latest.

Projects may also span two years. Two-year projects may start on April 1, 2018 and must be completed by March 31, 2020, at the latest.

Section 3 - Preparing a Proposal

Once you have decided that your organization meets the requirements and limitations described in Section 2 of this guide, you can move on to the next step: preparing your proposal.

Proposals must only be submitted to ISED via its customized Application Form (available via the ISED website). No other formats will be accepted.

A link to the Portable Document Format (PDF) Application Form is available on the ISED website: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc.nsf/eng/h_ca00175.html

Important information on using the ISED customized Application Form:

  • Make sure you have the latest version of a PDF reader: To view the Application Form , you must have a PDF reader installed. If you do not already have such a reader, there are many available to download free of charge (see Annex 4 for the list of free readers).
  • Download the right Application Form: The Application Form from previous years will not be compatible with the current year's call for proposals and will be rejected by the system. In order to download the correct PDF file:
    • Go to the following website: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc.nsf/eng/h_ca00175.html
    • Right click on the link to the PDF document and select "Save Target As" (Internet Explorer) / Save Link As (Firefox) from the drop-down menu.
    • Save the file to a directory on your computer by clicking "Save".

    Note: You can edit and complete the Application Form offline using your PDF reader software ; however, you need to be connected to the Internet in order to submit your proposal to ISED.

  • Saving your proposal: The Application Form allows you to save your draft proposal at any time so you can edit or continue it later. Once your proposal is complete, you can then print and submit it to ISED.
  • Multiple Proposals: The Application Form has a feature that allows you to clear the "Proposal" section in Step 3 of an already completed proposal, while retaining all of your information from Steps 1 and 2. Start by re-saving your completed Application Form with a different name. You can then clear the proposal section by using the "Reset" button and prepare another proposal using the same Application Form.
  • Active Internet connection: You need to be connected to the Internet in order to submit your Application Form to ISED.
  • Submit early: You must account for a slight transmission delay when submitting your Application Form depending on the size of your attached documents and the type of internet connection you are using. The delay can be anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. It is strongly recommended that you submit your proposal at least 10 minutes prior to the closing deadline in order to reduce the risk of the proposal not being transmitted/submitted in time. The submission system closes automatically and will decline any late proposals.

3.1 Application Form Submission Requirements

There are three steps required in order to submit a proposal to qualify for consideration under the Program.

For your convenience, all questions contained in the Application Form are annexed to this Guide (Annexes 1 to 3).

Throughout the Application Form, you will be asked to provide supporting documentation. If you do not currently have electronic versions of the supporting documentation that is needed (budget forecast, lobbyist declaration, etc.), you may simply scan the hard copies and attach them. We accept the following image formats BMP, JPEG, PDF and GIF .

Step 1 – Determine eligibility of your organization

This section is mandatory . It helps organizations determine and confirm if they are eligible for funding under the Program. Once this step is completed and validated, then you will be able to complete Step 2 (Organization information).

Step 2 – Organization information

This section is mandatory . It asks for the contact information for the organization, membership and donor information, publications details (e.g. magazine, newsletters or blogs).

Use the "+" and "-" buttons to add or remove an information line. If you have multiple items and want to change the order in which they appear, you can use the arrows ( ▲▼ ) to move them.

The organization must make the following declarations. If you answer "Yes" to one or more of the following declarations, you will be required to attach a document for:

  • Lobbying Act: in your organization, do you presently employ persons to lobby on your behalf? If yes, please provide assurance that, where lobbyists are used, they are registered in accordance with the Lobbying Act and that no actual or potential conflict of interest exists nor any contingency fee arrangement.
  • Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service: in your organization or on your Board of Directors, do you presently employ a former public servant who left the federal government in the last twelve months? If yes, please provide assurance that the public servant is in compliance with the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service.
  • Conflict of Interest Act: in your organization or on your Board of Directors, do you presently employ a former public office holder who left the federal government in the last twelve months? If yes, please provide assurance that the public office holder is in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Act.

In Question #20 of the Application Form, organizations are required to attach the following six documents in order to proceed:

  • the incorporation documents (i.e. proof of provincial or federal non-profit incorporation, or both, if applicable);
  • the latest audited financial statement * (i.e. independent auditor's report) prepared by a Chartered Accountant;
  • the current year budget forecast;
  • a background statement on the organization's aims, objectives and structure;
  • the list of the current Board of Directors members; and
  • the organization's current by-laws.

*The audit provides reasonable assurance that the entity's financial statements present fairly its financial position, financial performance and its cash flows in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework (Chartered Accountants of Canada. Understanding Reports On Financial Statements. Available online at: https://www.cpacanada.ca).

The maximum file size accommodated on the network is 10 MB. To ensure that the uploading process runs smoothly, please click "Save" after attaching each file.

Once this section has been completed you will be able to submit up to a maximum of nine proposals from your organization . 

Please ensure that all required documents have been attached to the PDF Application Form. To display a list of your attachments, click the paperclip icon on the left side of the Application Form.   

Step 3 – Preparing your project proposal

Instructions on how to fill in a Research Proposal

Once step 1 and 2 have been completed and validated, then you will be able to submit proposals for your organization. In order to do that, please select the type of proposal that you would like to submit (i.e. Research, Organizational Development or Consumer Movement) in Step 3.

Identification of the other sources of funding:

All proposals must include other sources of funding requested for this project (or a similar one), a project summary, a communications plan, a detailed work plan, and demonstrate the work plan's feasibility by showing it to be clear and realistic, with measurable objectives and time frames.

Proposal budget:

All proposals must include a detailed budget. All eligible costs are described in Section 4 of this guide. No attachment will be accepted for this step – you must use the budget grid imbedded in the PDF Application Form. Please provide details for expenses when possible. For example, if any contracts for services will be required for your projects, please ensure to clearly identify them (contractor's name, if available, and per diem, if relevant).

Maximum funding for a single project is $100,000. Each project, regardless of duration, must not exceed this total amount. For projects with a projected time frame of longer than 12 months, two separate budget grids will be required. Please note the sum of these individual grids will not be automated in the Application Form; therefore please ensure the total amount requested to the Minister does not exceed $100,000 with both grids combined.

Use the "+" and "-" buttons to add or remove a text field associated to each of the cost categories. If you have multiple items and want to change the order in which they appear, you can use the arrows ( ▲▼ ) to arrange them.

Save as you go:

Remember that the Application Form will allow you to draft your proposals, save it and return later to complete or revise it, print it and submit it.

Proposals have a maximum length:

Project proposals have a set overall maximum in length. Each question/section will display their respective maximum number of characters allowed. Please note that spaces and hard returns are counted as characters and add to your total number of characters.  

Review your proposal before submitting:

Once your proposal is complete, all fields have validated and the proposal is ready for submission, a thorough review is strongly recommended before officially submitting it to ISED for evaluation. Once you have submitted your proposal ("Submit" button), no further changes are possible.

Keep a record of your proposal:

You should print your proposal before you submit it by using the "Print" button in the Application Form. You can also save a copy of your proposal on your desktop or data storage device (e.g. USB flash drive) by using the "Save As" button and naming it accordingly.

Submitting multiple proposals:

Once a proposal has been saved and submitted, pressing the "Reset" button, the Application Form will erase all the information from the proposal section (Step 3 only) while saving all the information and attachments from Steps 1 and 2.

3.2 Application Deadline

Applicants have until noon Pacific Time (i.e. 3 pm Ottawa time), November 10, 2017 to submit their proposals. Incomplete proposals will not be assessed. The submission system closes automatically and will decline any late proposals. Proposals sent by fax, email, or via any other channel will not be accepted.

3.3 Confirmation of Receipt

A PDF confirmation is displayed on your screen after your proposal has been successfully submitted right after you have pressed the "Submit" button. Please keep the confirmation document for your records. If you do not see a confirmation page, there might have been a problem submitting your proposal.

Verify that you have attached all the required documentation (and that they do not exceed the combined maximum file size of 10 MB) and that all fields are filled in correctly. If you have any concerns, you should contact ISED for advice as soon as possible before the closing deadline to ensure your proposal is transmitted/submitted properly and in time.

Section 4 - Eligible Costs for Projects

Eligible costs for contributions will be those costs that are incurred by the recipient and which, in the opinion of the Minister of ISED, are reasonable and required to carry out the eligible activities to which they relate. Only costs that are reasonable and which relate directly to the eligible activities will be allowed.

Eligible project costs fall into two categories: Part A and Part B. Eligible costs listed under Part A are considered to be direct costs chargeable to the project. Eligible costs listed under Part B can be claimed for research projects only, and are comprised of indirect costs that can be chargeable to research projects. Up to 15 percent of the total eligible costs for the project can be comprised of rent and overhead expenses (i.e. Part B eligible expenses).

Note: the budget grid included in the PDF Application Form contains all the necessary fields and categories outlined below.

4.1 Part A – Direct Project Costs for Research and Development Projects

These include:

  • salaries and benefits (salaries and benefits of employees working on the project – please specify the per diem for each person working on the project);
  • contract for services (research, data collection, surveys, discussion groups, special assistance, contract employees, etc. – please clearly identify the type of service, and the name of the contractor , if available);
  • travel expenses (for persons working on the project only);
  • materials (includes office supplies, printing, postage);
  • accounting (bookkeeping and audit fees relative to the contribution only); and
  • other – translation of final report, translation of executive summary, methodology review of project results and final report, communication activities, etc. Please specify (related to project's objective only ).

4.2 Part B – Indirect Costs for Research Projects Only*

These include:

  • rent and utilities (office rental, hydro, heat, telephone, etc.);
  • equipment and use (rental of office equipment specifically requested in the project proposal and approved by the department — may include computer equipment); and
  • other (related to project's objective only; can include liability insurance).

4.3 Methodological Review Requirements – Third Party

For each research project, organizations conducting research projects are required to hire a qualified methodologist and to have him/her complete a mandatory independent review of the validity of the research project's methodology, final report conclusions and recommendations. Organizations must take into account the methodologist's comments before finalizing the project report. The costs associated with hiring a methodologist are allowable expenditures under the Program, and should be requested in project proposals.

The methodologist must be an independent third party (e.g. academic resource), unaffiliated with the organization concerned or the report's author. The organization must provide evidence that the methodologist has appropriate qualifications and experience to assess the validity of the research methods employed in relation to the subject matter of the study.

ISED recommends that the methodologist be retained in the first quarter of your project and consulted on the methodology at the project design stage, during the project (if relevant) and engaged in the final report preparation.

Please note that ISED will not accept a methodologist review unless fully satisfied that the methodologist is an independent third party from the organization, has the required relevant expertise and qualifications to review the project results and the final report. Organizations are strongly encouraged to submit the name and qualifications of the methodologist to ISED for review and approval before he/she is hired.

4.4 Audit Requirements

Organizations receiving project contributions may be required to submit project(s)'s audited financial statement(s) of all expenses related to funded project(s), with the objective of providing reasonable assurance, by a Chartered Accountant, that eligible costs have been incurred.

*Up to 15 percent of the total eligible costs for the whole project supported can be comprised of rent and other overhead expenses (i.e. eligible costs under Part B). Please also ensure that the requested amounts in Part B do not exceed your organization's total annual expenditures for each category (i.e. rent costs, etc.).

Section 5 - Assessment

Organizations compete for Program funding, and applicants should bear in mind the competitive nature of the application process. All proposals for funding are reviewed in accordance with the general program objectives as well as the specific eligibility criteria of the particular type of funding sought.

5.1 Assessment Criteria

ISED assesses research project proposals for:

  • relevance, importance and timeliness of  the consumer issue ;
  • methodology ;
  • capability of the research team; and
  • communications planning.

Organizational development project proposals are assessed on:

  • the ability of the organization to reach self-sufficiency by proposing either a multi-year business plan, a feasibility study or a pilot project.

Consumer movement development project proposals are assessed on:

  • the organizations' capacity to work collaboratively on policies to represent the best interest of Canadian consumers and communicate their efforts to the media.

5.2 How Proposals are Evaluated

Each proposal is scored on a total of 100 points and ranked by overall score, from highest to lowest.

The evaluation process comprises the following steps and factors:

  • All proposals are evaluated by ISED policy analysts , and other relevant departments, and agencies as appropriate.
  • Proposals dealing with financial issues are also evaluated by the Financial Services Advisory Committee (composed of representatives from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, and ISED).
  • Proposals are evaluated according to the overall criteria laid out in section 5.1.
  • If ISED receives multiple proposals addressing the same issue, it may contact the project leaders to discuss possible options (e.g. collaboration, or evaluating each proposal separately, based on best value for money).
  • The evaluations of all proposals as well as specific comments from the evaluators are reviewed by the OCA Program Management Committee .
  • Before making final recommendations, the OCA Program Management Committee examines:
    • the consistency and accuracy of scoring in the evaluations by internal and external reviewers;
    • relevance to proposed policy making ;
    • the capacity of the organization to deliver, make effective use of, and communicate results ; and
    • capacity building in the consumer movement.
  • The OCA Program Management Committee will make the final funding recommendations on which proposals should be funded.
  • Organization directors will be notified of the status of their proposals when the evaluation process is complete .

Annex 1 – Research Project Questions Included in the Application Form

All questions are mandatory.

Project Proposal Title: Project Proposal Title

Other Requested Source(s) of Funding:

Please identify all sources of funding related to the proposal (or similar topic) that you are seeking funding for from the OCA Contributions Program. If you have received or are applying for project funding with any other federal, provincial or territorial government department or agency, please provide the name of the source, the current status, the date requested, the amount and the project title for the funding.

  • Source (Level of government and name of department or agency):
  • Title:
  • Status: Pending, Refused or Approved
  • Date requested:
  • Amount:

A - The Applicant

  • Completed By (name of the individual):
  • Telephone: 
  • Email:

B - Project Summary

Provide a concise description of the project. This summary will be used to formulate the CA, if the proposal is funded. The description should include:

  • Research to be undertaken (including consumer issues to be addressed );
  • Summary of key project tasks and milestones;
  • Expected outcomes of this project;
  • Brief description of the methodology and techniques to be used; and
  • Summary of communication strategy to promote the research results/recommendations to the selected target audiences.

(maximum of 4000 characters) approximately 1 Page.

C - The Proposal

1. Importance of the Consumer Issue: Describe the importance of the consumer issue, with evidence (e.g. consumer complaints, media coverage, statistical or anecdotal data, etc.).

(maximum of 2000 characters) approximately 1/2 Page . 10 points

2. Timeliness of the Consumer Issue: Indicate why it is important to study the described consumer issue at this time, in terms of its scope or impact, current or potential (e.g., the issue affects a large number of consumers, involves substantial harm to consumers or addresses an important marketplace failure, etc.).

(maximum of 2000 characters) approximately 1/2 Page . 5 points

3. Summary of Supporting Research: Provide a list or summary of relevant existing research on the issue. Projects proposing a literature survey as a component should include a description of the sources that would be used (be as specific as possible) and evidence of an initial scan to confirm the existence of relevant sources.

(maximum of 4000 characters) approximately 1 Page . 5 points

4. Value of Proposed Research: Explain how your proposal will add to said body of knowledge (demonstrate the value that your proposed research would provide over existing research).

(maximum of 2000 characters) approximately 1/2 Page.5 points

5. Identification of Stakeholders: Identify the relevant stakeholders and key informants who will participate and/or be consulted to provide expertise/views on the issue proposed in this proposal. Also, please identify the stakeholders who were contacted and the stakeholders to be consulted during this project. If contact with a stakeholder has not been made yet, indicate when it will be done and indicate what impact non-participation by a stakeholder will have on the project.

(maximum of 4000 characters) approximately 1 Page.10 points

6. Research Questions: Please formulate concisely the research question and sub-questions to be answered by your methodology and that your research project seeks to answer.

(maximum of 2000 characters) approximately 1/2 Page.10 points

7. Methodology: What is the proposed methodological approach for this project? Demonstrate that it is feasible and that it will address the research question/sub questions articulated in Question #6. Provide details on each of the methods to be employed and note whether you will require external resources such as consultants or survey firms to assist or lead this task.

ISED requires that a methodologist be retained and consulted on methodology for each research project.

Examples of methodological approaches: literature review; public opinion research/surveys; structured interviews; discussion groups, field research; mystery shopping; discourse analysis; experimentation; other; combination of above.

An example of a demonstration of appropriateness of methodology: "A telephone survey of a representative sample of Canadian consumers over 18 will support an analysis of their satisfaction with gym club sales tactics, the incidence of misleading or potentially misleading statements by sellers, and how these experiences vary by jurisdiction. Combined with a review of media stories, applicable laws, and key informant interviews (list informants), conclusions may be drawn as to the effect of these regulations, including a gap assessment. The representativeness of the survey will be confirmed by the third-party methodologist and with advice from the professional survey firm. The methodologist will also review the appropriateness of the conclusions drawn from the research as a whole."

(maximum of 6000 characters) approximately 1 1/2 Pages.20 points

8. Work plan: Provide a detailed work plan, which lists the key milestones and the sequence of tasks necessary to implement the methodology and produce relevant project outcomes. This information must be presented by quarter.

(maximum of 4000 characters) approximately 1 Page. 5 points

9. Research Team and Expertise: Please identify the individual names of those who will be working on this project and how their expertise relates to this project. Demonstrate that the project research team is qualified and capable of producing quality work. Also indicate when external contractors will be used to perform certain tasks and provide details (e.g. name, firm name, etc.), when available.

Example: "Mr. A. Person will lead the research team; he is a consumer advocate of long standing, and led research on (related topic) resulting in representations before the XX Committee. He led and wrote research papers on XXX and participated in initiative X on X topics. A contractor with specific public opinion research expertise will be hired to design, conduct, and analyze a survey/focus groups."

(maximum of 4000 characters) approximately 1 Page.10 points

10. Communication Strategy: Provide a preliminary communications plan for this project that clearly outlines how you will use the project results and provide details on how you will communicate the research findings for this project. Please include stakeholders and target audiences, tactics to be used in a communications approach and how you will evaluate and report metrics to be used as success indicators.

Please use the following headlines to respond to the question:

  • Target audience of your project results: please identify all the relevant stakeholders who you will approach to communicate your research results;
  • Communication tactics and channels used to diffuse project results: outline all tactics to be used such as posting the final report on your website, alerts on social media, direct distribution of final reports to stakeholders, speaking engagements to share results, presentations at various events (conferences, seminars, presentations, etc.), results presented or references at parliamentary committees, announcing the results at a press conference, news release on your website and in mainstream media, etc.;
  • Timelines of communication tactics: identify when the communication / dissemination activities will take place; and
  • Evaluation and tracking of results: how will you track and evaluate the results of your project? For example, media monitoring, website statistics, tracking of reports shared with decision-makers, invitations to conferences / meetings, etc. 

(maximum of 4000 characters) approximately 1 Page.10 points

11. Project Costs: Provide the projected costs required to undertake the project in the budget template. No other document will be accepted. Also provide details of project costs/resources committed to the project by your organization or by other individuals or organizations in addition to the amount requested under the Program. Both direct and indirect costs are acceptable for research projects. Up to 15 percent of the total eligible costs supported can be comprised of indirect expenses.

Direct costs include:

  • salaries and benefits (salaries and benefits of employees working on the project);
  • contract for services (for research, data collection, surveys, special assistance, contract employees, etc.);
  • travel expenses (for persons working on the project or for the Board of Directors when project approval is sought from the Board);
  • materials (includes office supplies, printing, postage);
  • accounting (bookkeeping and audit fees relative to the contribution only); and
  • other (related to project's objective only; can include translation, methodology review of project results and final report, etc.).

Indirect costs include:

  • rent and utilities (office rental, hydro, heat, telephone, etc.)
  • equipment and use (rental of office equipment specifically requested in the project proposal and approved by the department - may include computer equipment); and
  • other (related to project's objective only; can include liability insurance).

* The budget template is included in the Application Form.  10 points

Annex 2 – Organizational Development Questions Included in the Application Form

All questions are mandatory.

Project Proposal Title: Project Proposal Title

Other Requested Source(s) of Funding:

Please identify all sources of funding related to the proposal (or similar topic) that you are seeking funding for from the OCA Contributions Program. If you have received or are applying for project funding with any other federal, provincial or territorial government department or agency, please provide the name of the source, the current status, the date requested, the amount and project title for the funding.

  • Source (Level of government and name of department or agency):
  • Title:
  • Status: Pending, Refused or Approved
  • Date requested:  
  • Amount:

A - The Applicant

  • Completed By (name of individual):
  • Telephone: 
  • Email:

B - Project Summary

Provide a concise description of the project that will be used for the CA.

The description should include:

  • Activity to be undertaken
  • Expected outcomes
  • Summary of key project tasks and milestones
  • Summary of communication efforts

(maximum of 4000 characters) approximately 1 Page.

C - The Proposal

What type of organizational development project are you submitting?

  • Pilot Project
  • Feasibility Study
  • Multi-Year Business Plans

To complete your project proposal please answer each of the following questions:

1. How, and why will undertaking this project increase the organization's ability to:

  • Better fulfill its mandate? and/or
  • Increase its visibility and membership? and/or
  • Reach greater self-sufficiency?

Explain why undertaking this activity will help your organization reach its long term self-sufficiency strategy. If funds are requested to undertake a feasibility study, please justify why the product or service was selected for the feasibility study (Was it identified in your business plan as a potential source of revenue? What makes you think it has revenue potential? etc.). If funds are requested for a pilot project, please demonstrate the viability of the product or service under consideration (e.g. feasibility study, analysis of demand, projection of costs and revenues).

(maximum of 8000 characters) approximately 2 Pages.20 points

2. Provide a detailed work plan which clearly presents the required actions to be undertaken, key milestones, and the project's time frame. Are they reasonable for the scope of the project?

Provide a quarterly breakdown of project work, and demonstrate how project work will make it possible for the organization to increase its membership capacity and/ or reach greater self-sufficiency.

(maximum of 4000 characters) approximately 1 Page.20 points

3. Why is it important to undertake this development activity? Why at this time? Is it part of your business plan / long term self-sufficiency strategy?

Clearly demonstrate why undertaking this activity at this time is part of your organization's overall self-sufficiency strategy and business plan.

(maximum of 4000 characters) approximately 1 Page.20 points

4. Who will actually be doing the work? What are the qualifications of the project team to undertake this work and reach project objectives?

Who in your staff or which consultant will do the project work and write the report? Why were they selected? Please provide the name(s) of the person(s); and, a brief description of their qualifications to undertake such work. Be prepared to provide recent previous examples of their work upon request.

(maximum of 4000 characters) approximately 1 Page.20 points

5. Provide the projected costs required to undertake the project

Provide the projected costs required to undertake the project in the budget template*. No other document will be accepted. Also provide details of project costs/resources committed to the project by your organization or by other individuals or organizations in addition to the amount requested under the Program. Note that Development contributions are provided only for direct costs associated with the development-related activities. See below for a description of direct costs:

  • salaries and benefits (salaries and benefits of employees working on the project);
  • contract for services (for research, data collection, surveys, special assistance, contract employees, etc.);
  • travel expenses (for persons working on the project or for the Board of Directors when project approval is sought from the Board);
  • materials (includes office supplies, printing, postage);
  • accounting (bookkeeping and audit fees relative to the contribution only); and
  • other (related to project's objective only; can include translation, methodology review of project results and final report, etc.).

* The budget template is included in the Application Form.  10 points

6. Provide a communications plan for your organization with clear measurable objectives and demonstrate how this plan will make it possible for the organization to increase its membership capacity and/ or reach greater self-sufficiency.

(maximum of 4000 characters) approximately 1 Page.10 points

Annex 3 – Consumer Movement Development Questions Included in the Application Form

All questions are mandatory.

Project Proposal Title: Project Proposal Title

Other Requested Source(s) of Funding:

Please identify all sources of funding related to the proposal (or similar topic) that you are seeking funding for from the OCA Contributions Program. If you have received or are applying for project funding with any other federal, provincial or territorial government department or agency, please provide the name of the source, the current status,

the date requested, the amount and project title for the funding.

  • Source (Level of government and name of department or agency):
  • Title:
  • Status: Pending, Refused or Approved
  • Date requested:  
  • Amount:

A - The Applicant

  • Sponsoring Consumer Organizations
  • Lead Organization that will Administer the CA:
  • Completed By:   
  • Telephone:   
  • Email:   

B - Project Summary

Provide a concise description of the project that can be used for the CA.

The description should include:

  • Activity to be undertaken (including roles of key organizations)
  • Expected outcomes
  • Summary of key project tasks and milestones
  • Summary of communication efforts

(maximum of 4000 characters) approximately 1 Page.

C - The Proposal

To complete your project proposal please answer each of the following questions:

1. How will undertaking this project strengthen the Canadian consumer movement? Why? Explain why it is important for the Canadian consumer movement that the participating organizations work collaboratively on this issue, collaborative structure, etc.

(maximum of 4000 characters) approximately 1 Page.20 points

2. Why is it important for the Canadian consumer movement that participating organizations work collaboratively on this issue at this time? What event, regulatory review, etc. justifies investing time and money to address the issue collectively, undertake a common communication strategy, etc.?

(maximum of 4000 characters) approximately 1 Page.20 points

3. Which organization or organizations will have the lead, provide financial management, and accountability? What will be the contributions of each of the organizations participating in this project? How were they chosen? Why is their participation essential? Who will do the project work (among the sponsoring organizations, and/or outside participants or consultants)?

Demonstrate that there is a structure to provide project direction, financial management and accountability. Demonstrate that participating organizations have the expertise required to address the issue and the capacity to work together to reach project objectives. Were the right organizations selected? Please provide the name(s) of the person(s); and, a brief description of their qualifications to undertake such work. Be prepared to provide upon request recent previous examples of their work.

(maximum of 8000 characters) approximately 2 Pages.20 points

4. Provide a detailed work plan (quarterly breakdown of activities) which clearly presents the required actions to be undertaken, key milestones, and the project's time frame. Are they reasonable for the scope of the project?

(maximum of 4000 characters) approximately 1 Page.20 points

5. Provide a communications plan for this project with clear measurable objectives and demonstrate how this plan will strengthen the consumer movement in Canada.

(maximum of 4000 characters) approximately 1 Page.10 points

6. Provide the projected costs required to undertake the project

Provide the projected costs required to undertake the project in the budget template*. No other document will be accepted. Also provide details of project costs/resources committed to the project by your organization or by other individuals or organizations in addition to the amount requested under the Program. Note that Development contributions are provided only for direct costs associated with the development-related activities. See below for a description of direct costs:

  • salaries and benefits (salaries and benefits of employees working on the project);
  • contract for services (for research, data collection, surveys, special assistance, contract employees, etc.);
  • travel expenses (for persons working on the project or for the Board of Directors when project approval is sought from the Board);
  • materials (includes office supplies, printing, postage);
  • accounting (bookkeeping and audit fees relative to the contribution only); and
  • other (related to project's objective only; can include translation, methodology review of project results and final report, etc.).

* The budget template is included in the Application Form. 10 points

Annex 4 – PDF Application Form Q&As

Where can I download the latest version of the PDF reader?

To access the PDF version of the Application Form you must have the latest PDF Adobe Reader installed. If you do not already have such a reader, there are numerous PDF readers available to download free of charge or for purchase on the Internet, for both Mac and PC users:

I forgot to keep a copy of the proposal that I just submitted. How can I request a copy?

Please contact the Program Team at ISED's OCA to request a copy of your proposal. You can reach the Program Team via email at ic.ocacontributions-contributionsbc.ic@canada.ca or by phone at (343)291-3051.

What should I put in the Membership Information section?

This section asks eligible organizations to enter their membership details. For example, do you have individual, institutional or academic members?  If so, please identify each category of members along with their respective fees ( membership fee per year) and how many members are in this category.

I attached all the required documentation but I get an error message asking me to check the size of my attachments. Why is that?

It is possible that you exceeded the maximum file size limit. Make sure that the combined file sizes uploaded in Step 2 is less than 10 MB.

I tried submitting my proposal but the system "times out" and I do not see a confirmation page. What should I do?

If a confirmation page was not displayed, there is a strong possibility that your proposal was not received. Please contact the Program Team at ISED's OCA as soon as possible to see if your proposal was received. You can reach the Program Team via email at ic.ocacontributions-contributionsbc.ic@canada.ca or by phone at (343) 291-3051.

I cannot view the attachments which I attached in the Application Form. How can I see them?

To display a list of your attachments, click the paperclip icon on the left side of the Application Form.           

I submitted a proposal but have not received the confirmation yet. How can I ensure my proposal was sent to ISED?

The confirmation is displayed on your screen right after you have pressed the "Submit" button. If you did not see / receive a confirmation message that your proposal was submitted, please resubmit it using the "Submit" button on the last page. If this problem persists, please promptly contact the ISED's OCA via email at ic.ocacontributions-contributionsbc.ic@canada.ca or by phone at (343) 291-3051.

When I paste content into a text box in the PDF Application Form, the text cuts off. Why?

If you are inputting text from a word processing file (e.g. Microsoft Word, Notepad, etc.) into the PDF Application Form, please remember that all fields have a maximum character length which is displayed in each question. The PDF Application Form character count feature takes into account all spaces and hidden characters, including hard returns. If there is a difference between the Application Form and the one included in your word processing document, the PDF Application Form's count will prevail. It is always a good practice to remove unwanted spaces as this can help lower the character count.

Tips for Apple users and downloading the PDF Application Form with various browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Opera)

When I try to open the PDF Application Form with Safari as the browser, a new screen opens and displays a message saying "Please Wait" indicating that my PDF viewer may not be able to display the content. What do I do?

  • If you move your mouse to the bottom-middle on the page, a new menu with four icons will appear that give you the option to save it and download it to your computer.

    When I try to open the PDF Application Form using Chrome as the browser, a new screen opens and displays a message saying "Please Wait" indicating that my PDF viewer may not be able to display the content. What do I do?

  • If you move the mouse to the bottom-right on the page, a new menu with six icons will appear that give you the option to save it and download it to your computer.

    If you are trying to open the PDF Application Form using Firefox and/or Opera as the browser, a pop-up window will be displayed asking you to Open or to Save (download) the form to your computer. Please choose the option that is most convenient for you.