Archived — Program Guide

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© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Industry, 2016

Aussi offert en français sous le titre Fonds d'investissement stratégique (FIS) pour les établissements postsecondaires — Guide de Programme.

 

PDF version

This guide has been developed to assist in the completion of a project proposal for the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) and provides information on the assessment criteria against which project proposals will be assessed.

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Introduction

Prior to developing your project proposal it is recommended that you first read this guide to ensure a clear understanding of the SIF program objectives, eligibility criteria, and proposal assessment process.

A complete project proposal submission consists of both an online electronic submission and one paper copy of the same submission including the signed SIF Application Form (Annex A) and required supporting documentation (Annex B).

Please submit the paper copy of your project proposal by mail to:

Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund
C.D. Howe Building
235 Queen Street, 8th floor, East Tower - Suite 848J
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H5
Attention: Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund
Email: IC.SIF-FIS.IC@canada.ca

Additional information on the SIF is available at www.canada.ca/SIF or by contacting Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) at the toll free number 1-800-328-6189.

Confidentiality

The Applicant understands that the information provided may be accessible under the Access to Information Act ("ATIA"). No commercially confidential information which you submit to us will be disclosed unless otherwise authorized by you; required to be released by law (including ATIA); or required by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to be released to an international or internal trade panel for the purposes of the conduct of a dispute in which Canada is a party or a third party intervener.

Get information on the federal government's Access to Information Act.

Any information in the project proposal that, in the applicant's opinion, is of a proprietary or confidential nature should be clearly marked by the applicant as "Proprietary" or "Confidential" on each relevant item or page or in a statement covering the entire proposal.

About the Program

The Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) is a time-limited program that will provide up to $2 billion to accelerate strategic construction, repair and maintenance activities at universities and colleges across Canada. The SIF aims to generate direct economic activity and to enhance the research and innovation infrastructure at post-secondary institutions.

Online project proposals (SIF Application Form and supporting documents) will be accepted from April 6th, 2016 until May 9th, 2016, with hard copy duplicates due in the SIF office no later than May 13th, 2016.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible Recipients

Through the SIF, universities, colleges, publicly funded polytechnic schools, institutes of technology, and CEGEPs can apply for federal support to accelerate eligible construction, repair, and maintenance activities. Institutions in Quebec, by virtue of provincial legislation, will be required to apply for federal funding through the intermediary of the provincial government.

Eligible recipients are defined as those institutions that are directly or indirectly authorized by agreement, under the terms of provincial or territorial statutes, to deliver post-secondary courses or programs that lead to recognized and transferable post-secondary credentials. This encompasses both public and not-for-profit private institutions, including Aboriginal-controlled and Government of Canada-controlled post-secondary educational institutions.

Those institutions that are affiliated or federated with an eligible institution, for example, research and teaching hospitals and research parks and accelerators, must apply through the institution to which they are affiliated.

What is an eligible project?

Projects eligible under the SIF are those that support the enhancement, expansion, new construction and repair of infrastructure assets at post-secondary institutions. Projects are expected to be substantially completed by April 30th, 2018, and must correspond to at least one of the three program categories below:

  1. Improve the scale or quality of facilities for research and innovation, including commercialization spaces used by industry;
  2. Improve the scale or quality of facilities for specialized training at colleges focused on industry needs;
  3. Improve the environmental sustainability of research and innovation related infrastructure at post-secondary institutions and college training infrastructure.

Total funding from federal sources will cover up to half (50%) of the project's eligible costs, leveraging the remaining amount from non-federal partners. For institutions accredited by an Aboriginal Government, the limit on funding from federal sources is one hundred percent (100%).

Projects must meet the program's objectives, readiness, and assessment criteria to be eligible for funding under the SIF.

Examples of types of projects within the eligibility categories can be found in Annex C. For further details regarding eligible project costs please consult the Eligible Activities and Expenditures Principles section of this guide (Annex D).

Applying to the Program

It is recognized that many institutions have already made considerable progress toward developing proposals for infrastructure projects. The SIF is designed to permit existing proposal documentation to be used in conjunction with the SIF Application Form (Annex A). Please consult the SIF Project Proposal Completeness Checklist (Annex B) to determine the type of information that should be included in all proposals being submitted under the program.

Completing the SIF Application Form

The information provided below is designed to provide step-by-step assistance in completing the SIF Application Form. Aside from submitting their proposal online, applicants must mail a duplicate copy of the proposal (SIF Application Form and supporting documentation) to the SIF office, at the address noted above.

Projects will be assessed on their readiness and merit, based to a significant extent on the information provided in the SIF proposal. Applicants must, therefore, ensure:

  1. the completeness of the application form by completing each section with the requested information; and
  2. the submission of all necessary documentation in order to substantiate the summary information provided.

Applicants are asked to expand abbreviations or acronyms wherever possible when completing the description sections of the form.

The interactive SIF Application Form has several mandatory fields. It is designed to identify incomplete information and discrepancies and will not allow for its submission until all relevant fields are filled.

Applicant Information

Name of Eligible Institution

Indicate the name of the eligible post-secondary institution rather than the name of a faculty/department or affiliated institution (a separate field is provided further on in the form for this information). The eligible institution, rather than any affiliated or federated institutions associated with it, must be the applicant to the program. Where project proposals are submitted by a provincial or territorial government official on behalf of the institution, this section should still contain the name of the eligible post-secondary institution associated with the project.

Authorized Project Contact

the authorized project contact will be the main point of contact for discussions or clarifications of information provided, including technical and financial information.

Language Preference

the indicated language of preference will be used for all correspondence regarding the project proposal.

Project Information

Name of Affiliated/Federated Institution,Specific Faculty or Department benefiting from the project

If the application is by the eligible institution directly please name a specific faculty or department, where appropriate. If applying as an eligible institution on behalf of an affiliated or federated institution please indicate the name of the specific affiliated or federated institution by whom the project will be undertaken.

Project Summary

Provide a short description of the project in no more than 500 characters. Show how the project would improve the functioning of the institution and its impact on the Canadian economy. Write for a general audience using plain language since the summary may be used for communication purposes, such as a press release or on the ISED website.

Project Start and End Dates

The actual or proposed start date as well as the proposed completion date must be provided. The estimated start date cannot be before May 9th, 2016. Projects must be substantially complete by April 30th, 2018.

Substantial completion is as defined in provincial legislation but generally indicates that the project is ready for occupancy and its intended use.

Note: In some provinces an alternate term may be used; for example substantial performance.

Please note that the start date may only be an anticipated date at the time of application. When providing an anticipated start date please be as accurate as possible since the progress of each project will be monitored against the dates provided in the application form.

Project Location

Provide the primary location where the project will be undertaken. It is understood that the project location may differ from the applicant location information. Separate project proposals are required for each distinct project location.

Project Categories

Applicants should check all boxes that apply to the project. In order for the project proposal to be considered eligible, at least one of the project categories must be identified.

Project Financial Information

Use this section of the application form to indicate the anticipated funding and expenditures of the project. Round all estimates to the nearest dollar.

Breakdown of Project Costs

Indicate the cost estimates in the categories provided. For further details on eligible and ineligible costs please see the Eligible Activities and Expenditures Principles (Annex D).

Use the "Other Eligible Costs" category to include other costs not specifically categorized in the table. A short summary of the "other eligible costs" must be included.

Use the "Ineligible Costs" category to include any significant costs ineligible for funding under the SIF, including any significant costs falling outside of the SIF eligible expenditures dates. A short summary of ineligible costs must be included.

Additional information on eligible and/or ineligible costs may be requested by the SIF office of ISED at a later time.

Financial Information Summary

Indicate the estimated percentage of the total eligible project costs applicable to the categories provided. If the total project eligible costs relate to only one category, 100% should be indicated in the appropriate field.

Provide estimated SIF funding amounts by year as indicated in the form.

Sources of Funding

Provide information on all sources of confirmed, requested or anticipated funding. These figures should match the amounts identified within supporting documents attached to the project proposal. Other sources of funding can include the applicant, other federal departments/agencies (subject to federal fund limits), provincial or territorial governments, municipalities, and other(s) including the non-profit sector and the private sector.

Note: for the purposes of determining federal fund limits, a document should be attached to the proposal detailing which other federal departments/agencies, if any, have been solicited for funding and whether or not the request has been approved.

Total other sources of funding should equal the total project costs less the SIF requested funding.

Project Readiness Factors

Applicants are asked to provide all of the key documents available at the time of application that indicate project readiness. In some cases, this may involve providing documentation that indicates when a decision was made or will be made. Should there exist multiple dates for any one of the sections under this factor, please use the latest date. Examples of supporting documentation include the following:

Approval in principle by governing board of institution

A letter signed by the Chair of the Board of Governors or equivalent authority (which is clearly identified) indicating that the proposed project is a priority for the institution and that the institution is willing to provide all required administrative support for the completion of the project should be provided. In the absence of a letter, a copy of the resolution or record of decision passed by the Board is acceptable.

Project Schedule

Where available, a project schedule (i.e. GANNT chart) should be attached to the proposal. The schedule should include milestones that are key to the project's success, including anticipated start and end dates. Project schedule information will be used to track the planned progress towards completion of the project.

Engineering designs and regulatory approvals

In addition to the provision of engineering designs, applicants should attach approvals from appropriate authorities that the proposed project meets all of the regulatory requirements in their local jurisdiction, province or territory, and in Canada (e.g. Ontario Building Code, National Building Code of Canada, etc.).

Funding from all other sources confirmed in writing

If applicable, applicants should attach signed letters from other funding partners, which outline the partners' support and contribution for the balance of project funding.

Completed Environmental Assessments

Where required, applicants should attach environmental assessments completed in accordance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and/or equivalent provincial or territorial legislation. The date of receipt, or in the case where one has not yet been undertaken or completed, the anticipated date of receipt must be provided.

If the applicant has determined that the project is not subject to this requirement, the not applicable (N/A) box must be checked. For any project where Not Applicable is indicated a rationale explaining why it is not applicable should be substantiated in writing, providing supporting documents, as appropriate.

Note: Links to additional information regarding the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act can be found on the application form.

Proposals for work from contractors and start dates

When available, applicants should attach proposals for work from contractors including start dates that would serve to verify the project's readiness, and confirm the ability to complete the required work on or before April 30th, 2018.

Assesment Criteria

Use this section of the application form to describe the expected results of the project, especially with respect to expected outcomes and impacts on the applicant institute, its partners, and the user sector. Please quantify where possible (e.g. number of students affected, percent reduction in emissions, value of economic impact, etc.).

Applicants should check all boxes that apply to the project and provide a description sufficient to assess the project merit by describing the indicated benefits which are relevant to the project proposal. Supporting documentation, providing further in-depth detail may be submitted.

Aboriginal Considerations

The applicant must check all boxes that apply to the project proposal and describe the potential impact on Aboriginal groups or communities. Where projects may affect Aboriginal groups, the possibility of adverse impacts on established or potential Aboriginal and Treaty rights must be fully explained in the project's application form and supporting documentation. The questions in this section will be used to assess whether or not there is a Duty to Consult.

Note: Undisturbed/undeveloped land means any land that has not: undergone deforestation, been previously used for agricultural purposes or been previously built upon.

Environmental Assessments

Construction projects receiving financial assistance from the federal government may require that an assessment be conducted in accordance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and/or equivalent provincial/territorial requirements. Applicants must check all boxes that apply and provide additional information sufficient to understand the potential implications on the proposed project.

Note: Links to additional information regarding the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act can be found on the application form.

Certifications and Authorization

The Certification and Authorization section of the form must be completed by the Eligible Institution President, Principal or CEO, or Authorized Provincial Official, and included with the project proposal in order for the proposal to be assessed by the SIF office. Affiliated and federated institutions must not sign off the application form.

The duplicate hard copy of the SIF Application Form mailed to the program will need to bear the signature of the authorized official.

Submitting your proposal

Applicants are asked to apply directly to the online system using the SIF Application Form. The SIF Application Form must be completed in full. The SIF Application Form and the Additional Attachments Form are interactive and will not allow an incomplete application form to be submitted. It will highlight in red any discrepancies and provide relevant error messages.

Upon submission of the electronic form, an acknowledgement email will be sent. Please also include a printed copy of your acknowledgement email as a cover to your duplicate hard copy.

The form allows for the attachment of supporting documents up to a maximum of 100MB.

In the event that the attachments to your original application PDF will exceed that maximum, you may submit additional PDFs to the system using the Additional Attachment Form.

The steps below are to be followed:

  1. Complete the SIF Application Form and attach supporting documents up to 100MB.
  2. Submit the SIF Application Form by clicking the "Submit" button on the form. You will receive an application reference number both on screen and via email.
  3. To submit additional attachments, complete the Additional Attachment Form by completing all fields and carefully ensuring that the application reference number matches the number on the confirmation you received.
  4. Attach the remaining files you wish to submit by clicking on "To add attachments" and selecting the relevant documents up to the maximum of 100MB.
  5. Submit the Additional Attachment Form by clicking on the "Submit" button. You will receive an email confirmation indicating that your submission of attachments was successfully received by our system.
  6. Repeat this process as many times as required in order to link all of your attachments to your application. Each Additional Attachment Form submitted may be up to a maximum of 100MB.

In the event that one single attachment exceeds the maximum of 100MB and cannot be accepted by the system, an electronic copy of that attachment should be included in the duplicate hard copy submission. Please send an email to the SIF office indicating that the online submission is not complete and provide an itemized list of the additional supporting documents that could not be attached. Your email should also clearly indicate the application reference number provided in your email confirmation.

While your electronic application must be sent by May 9th, 2016, please remember that an exact duplicate hard copy of your proposal (SIF Application Form and supporting documents) must be received by the SIF office no later than May 13th, 2016. Please also include a printed copy of your acknowledgement email as a cover to your duplicate hard copy.

Annex A — SIF Application Form

The SIF Application Form must be completed in full. The form allows for the attachment of supporting documents up to a maximum of 100MB.

In the event that the attachments to your original application PDF will exceed that maximum, you may submit additional PDFs to the system using the Additional Attachments Form.

Annex B — SIF Project Proposal Completeness Checklist

Please make sure your submission includes the following:

  1. Detailed project proposal. Many organizations have proposals that are already at an advanced stage and those documents can be submitted to assist in the development of the project proposal. The following list describes the type of information a detailed project proposal typically includes:
    • Detailed project description including the proposed objectives of the project;
    • Background of the project;
    • Project governance (e.g. management and accountability mechanisms, groups or committee(s) that will examine, review, and/or monitor the project);
    • Identified project risks and mitigation strategies;
    • Detailed project schedule with milestones;
    • Project cost details (including any significant ineligible costs) and sources of funding;
    • Expected benefits of the project.
  2. Application Form completed and submitted.
    A separate SIF application form should be completed for each distinct project.
  3. Certification and Authorization of the project proposal signed by the Applicant's President, Principal or Chief Executive Officer or by an Authorized Provincial Official.
  4. Supporting documents that confirm, or indicate the expected timing to receive confirmation of:
    • Approval in principle by Governing Board of Institution;
    • Approved Project Schedule;
    • Engineering Design and Regulatory Approvals;
    • Other sources of funding confirmed in writing;
    • Environmental Assessment in accordance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) or applicable provincial legislation;
    • Contractor proposals and start dates;
    • Province/Territory or institution confirms project as a priority;
    • Details, as needed, regarding Aboriginal consultations.
  5. Supporting documents, where possible, that enumerate and explain the potential benefits of the project in greater detail than possible on the Application Form:
    • Potential for the project to generate direct economic activity including any evidence that the project is accelerated or expanded relative to what would have occurred in the absence of SIF support;
    • Potential to promote innovation and long-term economic growth by improving the use/functionality and efficiency of research and innovation or commercialization space;
    • Potential to advance Canada's climate change and sustainability goals by increasing energy efficiency and reducing energy use in a research, innovation, or training context;
    • Potential to increase capacity and functionality of specialized training facilities at colleges focused on meeting industry needs;
    • Potential to benefit Aboriginal populations.

Annex C — Examples of eligible projects under the Post-Secondary Institution Strategic Infrastructure Fund (SIF)

Eligible projects under SIF will be for the enhancement, expansion, new construction and repair of infrastructure assets that must correspond to at least one of the categories below:

  • Improve the scale or quality of facilities for research and innovation, including commercialization spaces used by industry;
  • Improve the scale or quality of facilities for specialized training at colleges focused on industry needs; and
  • Improve the environmental sustainability of research and innovation related infrastructure at post-secondary institutions and college training infrastructure.

Examples of projects improving the scale or quality of facilities for research and innovation, including commercialization spaces include, but are not limited to:

  • research laboratory renewals and upgrades to all types of teaching laboratories or research centres;
  • expansion of buildings to meet research program needs, growth needs, and research and innovation needs;
  • research library renewal and expansion;
  • expansion of space for technology transfer offices, business incubators, and accelerators to support post-secondary/industry collaboration on research and development;
  • expansion of facilities that support prototype development as proof of principle assessment; and
  • renewing space (such as a former library or lecture hall) to be converted to a research and innovation or commercialization space.

Examples of projects improving the scale or quality of facilities for specialized training at colleges focused on industry needs include, but are not limited to:

  • expansion and retrofitting of classrooms or labs containing, or to be modified for the purpose becoming equipped with industry standard equipment;
  • converting space into an industry or sector specific specialized training space (such as aviation, nanotechnology, or green technology);
  • retrofitting old auditoria/lecture halls into industry or sector-specific specialized training space; and
  • increasing facility capacity for advanced areas, such as Red Seal trades.

Examples of projects improving the environmental sustainability of research and innovation-related infrastructure at post-secondary institutions and college training infrastructure include, but are not limited to:

  • new technologies or approaches for improved energy efficiency in energy use (such as energy efficient windows; energy efficient lighting/pumps/motors); and
  • approaches for improved efficiency in generation, storage and distribution of energy, including investments in cogeneration facilities, converting heating plant burners to cleaner, more efficient fuels, and investments in renewable energy technologies.

Annex D — Eligible Activities and Expenditures Principles

Eligible Expenditures

Eligible expenditures are those incurred between the period of May 9th, 2016 and April 30th, 2018 and considered by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, in consultation with the Minister of Science, to be direct and necessary for the successful implementation of an eligible project.

Project costs that are eligible under the program include:

  1. capital costs of constructing or renovating tangible capital assets, as defined and determined according to, accounting principles generally accepted in Canada;
  2. expenditures directly associated with joint federal communication activities (press releases, press conferences, translation, etc.) and with recognition signage as set out in the contribution agreement;
  3. costs of other communication activities, project-related signage (i.e. safety), lighting, project markings and utility adjustments;
  4. engineering and environmental planning costs, including costs for planning, surveying, remedial activities, architectural supervision, testing and management consulting services;
  5. the costs of engineering and environmental reviews, including environmental assessments and follow-up programs as defined in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act of 2012 and the costs of remedial activities, mitigation measures and follow-up identified in any environmental assessment;
  6. costs of Aboriginal consultations relating to the project;
  7. project audit and evaluation costs;
  8. moving costs (labour) incurred as part of construction;
  9. landscaping costs, costs to construct or extend pedestrian walkways, roadways and/or parking lots provided the costs relate directly to the construction of a new facility or the expansion/renovation of an existing facility;
  10. leasing of equipment related to the construction of the project;
  11. the incremental costs of the applicant's employees or leasing of equipment may be included as eligible expenditures under the following conditions:
    • the recipient is able to demonstrate that it is not economically feasible to tender a contract;
    • the employee or equipment is engaged directly in respect of the work that would have been the subject of the contract; and
    • the arrangement is approved in advance and in writing by Canada; and
  12. other costs that, in the opinion of Canada, are considered to be direct and necessary for the successful implementation of the proposed project and have been approved in writing prior to being incurred.

Ineligible Expenditures

Ineligible expenditures include the following:

  1. costs incurred prior to the effective date of May 9th, 2016;
  2. costs incurred after April 30th, 2018;
  3. land acquisition, leasing land, buildings (acquisitions and leasing), equipment not related directly to infrastructure repair, renovation or construction, and other facilities, real estate fees and related costs;
  4. financing charges, legal fees(including those related to easements (e.g. surveys), and loan interest payments;
  5. expenditures related to developing a project proposal for funding;
  6. any goods and services costs which are received through donations or in kind;
  7. purchase of furniture and equipment with the exception of equipment which is fixed and integral to the building structure such HVAC and central IT infrastructure;
  8. employee wages and benefits, overhead costs as well as other direct or indirect operating, maintenance and administrative costs incurred by the ultimate recipient for the eligible project(s), and more specifically costs relating to services delivered directly by permanent employees of the ultimate recipient, or a Crown corporation or corporation owned and controlled by the ultimate recipient; and
  9. provincial and federal sales tax, for which the ultimate recipient is eligible for a rebate, and any other costs eligible for rebates.
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