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CanCode Program: Applicant guide 2021-2024


How to apply

The deadline to submit applications for CanCode is August 30, 2021 at 11:59:59 pm PST. Applications must be submitted electronically to the CanCode general mailbox ( An acknowledgment e-mail confirming receipt of an application will be sent.

What to submit?

When submitting your application, please include the following documents:

More questions?

This Applicant Guide was developed to assist in the completion of the Application Form and the Quantitative Data Workbook. If you have further questions, we invite you to check the Frequently Asked Questions at FAQ website page. For general questions and comments, please contact the CanCode team. Please note that the Department of Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada will not be assisting applicants in the development of their applications.

Telephone (toll-free in Canada): 1-800-328-6189
Telephone (Ottawa): 613-954-5031
Fax: 343-291-1913
TTY (for hearing-impaired): 1-866-694-8389
By email:
Business hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
By mail: CanCode Program
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
C.D. Howe Building
235 Queen Street, 1st floor, West Tower
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H5 Canada

1. Program overview

The Department of Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) has launched the third phase of the CanCode Program, under Budget 2021. This program is a non- repayable contribution program that will invest up to $80 million over three fiscal years (starting in 2021-2022 and ending in 2023-24) to provide Canadian students (kindergarten to grade 12) and their teachers opportunities to develop digital skills including coding, data analytics and digital content development. CanCode is focused on traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM including girls, Indigenous youth, youth with disabilities, black youth and youth residing in rural and remote communities including the North.

2. Program definitions

Digital skills

Digital skills are skills needed to engage with computers and the internet. CanCode is designed to provide students (kindergarten to grade 12) the opportunity to learn digital skills, including coding, data analytics, and digital content development with the intention of moving youth from passive consumers of digital content to active creators of digital technology and content.

Traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM

*Rural and remote areas are non-metro localities (i.e., with a population density less than 100,000 inhabitants and with a distance that is outside the commuting zone of these metro centres).

3. Program objectives

The CanCode Program objectives are as follows:

4. Project duration

Projects may start as early as September 1, 2021. All funded activities and components must be completed by no later than March 31, 2024.

5. Program funding

The CanCode Program will be investing up to $80 million in funding through contribution agreements with selected recipients.

Maximum Contributions and Stacking Limits

CanCode proposal applications may include funding from other federal departments and/or agencies, other orders of government, private sector or not-for-profit partners. However, the total funding from all government sources (federal, provincial/territorial and municipal) cannot exceed 100% of eligible costs.

6. Eligibility criteria

To qualify for funding, your organization must be a not-for-profit organization that is incorporated in Canada. Proof of incorporation such as a business number, article of incorporation and/or charitable registration number is required.

Not-for-profit organizations are legal entities that are incorporated under federal, provincial, or territorial legislation for purposes other than generating a profit for its shareholder. Post-secondary institutions, schools, school boards, and school districts are not eligible for direct funding through the program. These organizations can, however, partner with eligible not-for-profit organizations.

Your application must also clearly demonstrate that:

Note: Applicants are encouraged to collaborate with a network of partners (not-for-profit organizations) to submit an application. One not-for-profit organization must take the lead on the application and submit the application on behalf of all partners. These partners will be considered part of the initiative and cannot submit a separate application for the same project.

Not-for-profit organizations that already deliver coding and digital skills training could apply to expand their programming and broaden their geographic reach in terms of underrepresented groups.

7. Merit criteria

Merit criteria will be used to establish a priority ranking of eligible applicants. The following criteria will be taken into consideration:

8. Eligible activities

The proposed CanCode project's activities must explicitly and directly align with at least one of the two funding streams available through CanCode:

CanCode has two available funding streams to which Applicants can apply

Stream 1: Students training opportunities: the development and delivery of interactive training and skills development initiatives for students (kindergarten to grade 12) to learn digital skills, coding, and related concepts including artificial intelligence (AI) and digital content creation.

Student training opportunities are defined as follows:

Training Duration Opportunities this training counts for
1-5 hours (low intensity) 1 training opportunity each
6-15 hours (medium intensity) 2 training opportunities each
15+ hours (high intensity) 3 training opportunities each

Stream 2: Teachers training opportunities: the development and delivery of interactive training and professional development initiatives for teachers to acquire the skills and confidence to introduce digital skills, coding and related concepts including AI and digital content creation into the classroom, and;

the development of educational resources to support and enhance digital skills and coding learning initiatives and teacher training and development initiatives.

Applicants can choose to apply to a single funding stream or to both funding streams.

9. Training accommodations

Official Languages: The coding and digital skills training must be offered or available to participants in at least one official language (English or French). Official language requirements will be addressed within the clauses of the contribution agreement with selected applicants. Please identify on the Application Form the language of your proposed program delivery (English and/or French and/or other).

Accessibility: It is expected that accessibility needs are taken into account when providing digital skills and coding training by ensuring that the required assistive technologies are available to participants. Specific requirements will be addressed within the clauses of the contribution agreements with successful applicants.

10. Eligible and ineligible costs

Eligible costs

Eligible costs are costs that are directly related to the approved project and fully adhere to all terms and conditions set out in CanCode. These costs will be outlined in the contribution agreement and include:

* A recipient's administrative costs will be limited to 10% of ISED's funding through the CanCode program. Exceptions up to a maximum of 30% of total ISED funding will be considered and negotiated at the time of signing a contribution agreement for recipients headquartered in Canada's North (YT, NT, or NU).

** Eligible costs associated with technological equipment and materials will be considered only in cases where an organization demonstrates the need for such equipment to expand or scale-up an existing program.

Ineligible costs

Ineligible costs are those costs that are not covered under CanCode. Some examples include:

11. CanCode quantitative data workbook

The CanCode Quantitative Data Workbook is an application document that details the proposed project's budget. The budget must include sufficient information to determine if project costs meet the following requirements:

12. Anticipated training locations

Applicants are asked to provide the most specific information possible when identifying training locations. Outside of the metropolitan areas, please refer to the numeric identifier(s) available on the Census Divisions Map when the actual address or postal code are not known. In metropolitan areas, the first three digits of the postal code may be used if the full postal code is not known. Please refer to the example provided on the Training Events and Participant tab on the CanCode Quantitative Data Workbook.

Please note that when accessing the map, you can zoom in on its content by holding the control button on your keyboard and scrolling up on your mouse wheel (or by hitting the + key). The identifier is in small black text, and typically located in the middle of the area it is identifying.

13. Assessment process

All applications will be assessed through a competitive process against the program's eligibility and merit criteria. ISED will select proposals for funding that optimize program objectives and ensure equitable access to services across Canada for eligible participants.

Applicants must clearly demonstrate the extent to which the proposed project meets all criteria when completing the application. The strongest applications will be those that clearly explain how the proposed project will meet the eligibility and merit criteria as opposed to those that simply state a criterion will be met. ISED reserves the right to remove from consideration those applications found to be incomplete. ISED may request supplemental documentation for assessment purposes.

14. Project reporting

Applications selected to be recipients of program funding will be required to submit data, schedules, updates and reports with specific requirements outlined in a contribution agreement with ISED.

Recipient reporting will enable the Minister to:

15. Timing and method of payments

Expenditures will be eligible for federal reimbursement subject to the date of the last signature fully executing a contribution agreement. Expenditures incurred prior to the full execution of an agreement, as well as any expenditure related to contracts signed prior to the full execution of an agreement are ineligible for reimbursement. The Minister may approve payments to cover eligible costs retroactive from the date of the departmental signature to no earlier than the Minister's conditional approval date*.

Payments to recipients will be made in one of the following forms:

Each claim is to be accompanied by a progress report of the work completed, as well as details and documentation of all costs being claimed, in a form satisfactory to the Minister. The report will cover the progress made on the relevant project milestones and activities. All claims shall be certified by an authorized officer of the recipient. The Minister may request at any time that recipients provide satisfactory evidence to demonstrate that all eligible costs claimed have been paid.

Prior to the reimbursement of final payments of an agreement, the Minister may, at the Minister's discretion, withhold an amount of the Contribution from the total amount of Eligible Costs claimed at any point in time. The Minister shall determine the percentage of the hold back based on the amounts of the Contribution, as set out in the Project Budget, and using the then-current Assessment of Risk.

* Where an application is selected for conditional approval to receive funding, expenditures from the date of the conditional approval will be deemed eligible for reimbursement, subject to fully executing a contribution agreement. If a contribution agreement is not signed, ISED will not reimburse any costs incurred.

16. Program definitions

Applicant Individual or entity that has applied for a transfer payment.
Contribution Transfer payment subject to performance conditions specified in a contribution agreement. A contribution is to be accounted for and is subject to audit.
Contributions are non-repayable per the terms and conditions of CanCode.
Contributor Partner that provides cash or in-kind contributions to the applicant/recipient's project.
Eligibility Date Earliest date on which eligible costs may be incurred. Cannot be prior to the date that the application for funding has been received.
Eligible Costs Project costs that are incurred by the recipient and which, in the opinion of the Minister, are reasonable and required to carry out the eligible activities to which they relate. Eligible costs are those costs on which the contribution will be paid.
Ineligible Costs Project costs that are not eligible under the program.
In-kind Contributions Non-monetary resources and cash-equivalent goods or services provided to the applicant/recipient in support of the project. The in-kind contributions must be for goods or services that are both eligible under the program and necessary to deliver the project.
Partner An entity that may receive funding from the applicant/recipient in support of direct delivery of the project activities.
Recipient Individual or entity that has been authorized to receive a transfer payment or that has received a transfer payment.
Primary Recipient The lead individual or entity on a multi-applicant application that that has been authorized to receive a transfer payment or that has received a transfer payment.
Terms and Conditions Document, approved by Treasury Board or a minister, which sets out the parameters under which transfer payments may be made for a given program.
Total Government Funding Total funding provided by the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments for the project.
Total Eligible Costs Total amount of project costs that are eligible under the program and for which the contribution will be paid. Total eligible costs exclude costs that are deemed ineligible under the program.
Total Project Cost The total cost of the project including: total government funding (federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal), and all other sources of funding including amounts from partners and other contributors to the project, and the total value of all in-kind contributions for the project.
Transfer Payment Monetary payment, or transfer of goods, services or assets made, on the basis of an appropriation, to a third party, including a Crown corporation, that does not result in the acquisition by the Government of Canada of any goods, services or assets. Transfer payments are categorized as grants, contributions or other transfer payments. Transfer payments do not include investments, loans or loan guarantees.

17. Confidentiality

Personal information provided in the CanCode Application Form and Proposed Budget Form is protected under the Privacy Act, however, other information provided by organizations signing a contribution agreement with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is not protected under this legislation. This information could be provided to any entity requesting it under the Access to Information and Privacy Act. Information on the federal government's Access to Information Act is available on the following website:

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