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Boost Your Business Technology: Program Guide

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

January 5, 2022

Table of Contents


Part 1 - General information

1.1  Introduction

The Boost your Business Technology Stream offers financial support to small and medium Canadian-owned enterprises (SMEs), such as small manufacturing and food processing operations, to adopt new technologies. Support for these businesses will be in the form of grants to offset the cost of retaining Digital Advisors who will develop Digital Adoption Plans tailored to the business. The grant will cover up to 90% of the cost to develop the digital plan, up to a maximum grant payment of $15,000.

To support the implementation of the digital plan, SMEs will be able to apply for a zero-interest loan from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) (up to $100,000). In addition, the Boost Your Business Technology Stream will make available youth placement wage subsidies of up to $7,300. Eligible SMEs must apply for the work placement, offering a valuable learning experience for a youth.

This program guide will be periodically updated and revised.

1.2  Who can submit an application – Eligibility criteria

1.2.1 Applicants are required to attest and certify that they meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Is a sole proprietor whose owner is a Canadian resident
    Or
    Is a business incorporated under the laws of Canada or a province or territory
  2. Is a for-profit business
  3. Has between 1 – 499 full time equivalent employees†
  4. Has at least $500,000 of annual revenues but not more than $100,000,000 in one of the previous three tax years from the date of submitting a grant application.
  5. Is a privately owned business
  6. Is a Canadian-controlled Private Corporation (CCPC) as defined by the Canada Revenue Agency (applicable if the business is incorporated under the laws of Canada or a province or territory)
  7. Is a business that respects human rights codes, labour, environment and anti-corruption standards, as well as engages exclusively in legal activities
  8. Is not a business that has a class of shares publicly traded on a stock exchange (in Canada or outside)
  9. Is not a majority or wholly owned subsidiary or branch or sales office of a multinational corporation (MNC)
  10. Is not a business whose revenue model is designed to be economically dependent on non-commercial sources such as direct government funding or private donations
  11. Is not a government organization or body (other than an Indigenous entity or body) or an entity in which a government organization or body (other than indigenous entity or band) owns equity interests
  12. Is not a not-for-profit entity such as a union, charitable, religious or fraternal organization or business owned by such organizations, nor a business that exists as a fundraising vehicle for charities
  13. Is not a business in which equity interests are held by any current member of the Parliament of Canada or any current member of the Senate of Canada other than a business whose equity interests are publicly traded
  14. Is not a business that promotes violence, incites hatred or discriminates on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability nor does it trade with countries proscribed by the government of Canada
  15. Is not a business that directly or indirectly promotes sexual exploitation or disseminates media content that is sexually explicit
  16. Is not a business that has been determined to have pled guilty to or been convicted of tax evasion or a criminal offence

† A full-time equivalent (FTE) employee is defined as receiving a T4 Statement of Remuneration Paid slip  from the applicant. One FTE is defined as at least 30 hours/week of paid labour. Part-time employees must be included as fractions of 1 FTE based on average labour hours compared to typical hours for 1 FTE employee.

1.2.2
Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria at all times while in the program; this includes from grant application submission to grant payment, accessing of the BDC zero interest loan and the subsidized youth placements.
1.2.3
Applicants must inform the program of any change in their eligibility while in the program; this includes from grant application submission to grant payment, accessing of the BDC zero interest loan and the subsidized youth placements.
1.2.4
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) reserves the right to validate the eligibility criteria by seeking supporting information and documentation from the applicant at any point in the application process for the grant and grant payment. The eligibility criteria and application process for the BDC Zero Interest Loan are covered under Part 4 of this Program Guide. The eligibility criteria and application process for the subsidized Youth Placements are covered under Part 5 of this Program Guide.
1.2.5
If ISED determines that the applicant does not continue to meet the eligibility criteria, ISED reserves the right to terminate any Grant Agreement. Applicants whose Grant Agreements are terminated will be responsible for paying any and all costs incurred up to that point in time and any costs in the future associated with retaining a Digital Advisor under sections 3.2 and 3.3 of this Program Guide.

1.3  Additional documentation in support of eligibility

1.3.1 Applicants should not provide any additional documentation unless explicitly requested by ISED. As part of the eligibility determination process, ISED reserves the right to ask for additional supporting documentation such as:


Part 2 - General instructions for the grant

2.1  General instructions, terms and conditions

Applicants who submit a grant application agree to be bound by the terms and conditions set forth in this program guide.

2.1.1 Applicants must act in compliance with guidelines governing the CDAP program as set out in the Program Guide.

2.1.2 ISED has the sole discretion to cancel funding at any point in time with appropriate advance notice, in the event that program terms and conditions are amended or terminated, or under other circumstances that are deemed appropriate.

2.2  Failure to comply

2.2.1 Should ISED determine that the Applicant is not in compliance with all of the terms and conditions as set out in the Program Guide, the agreement may be terminated by ISED, at its sole discretion.

2.3  Disclosure of information

2.3.1 ISED may disclose any information submitted in this Application within the Government of Canada or to outside entities (e.g., Canada Revenue Agency, Digital Advisors, BDC, the Youth Placement intermediary), subject to applicable restrictions associated with privacy, confidentiality and security for the following purposes:

2.3.2 Any information (including any personal information) obtained in confidence from any Third Party by the Applicant and provided to ISED under the terms of this Agreement, will be marked as "confidential" by the Applicant and the Applicant shall ensure it was disclosed to ISED with the consent of the Third Party. ISED shall ensure that any disclosure of the Third-Party information is done in compliance with all legal requirements relating to personal information and Third-Party confidential information.

2.4  Enquiries

All enquiries regarding applications for grants under the Boost Your Business Technology stream must be sent in writing to digitaladoption-adoptionnumerique@ised-isde.gc.ca

2.5  Public announcements

ISED retains the right to make public announcements and to publish the names of funding recipients and the value of their grants.

ISED may request permission from Applicants to feature success stories derived from program support for CDAP communications purposes.


Part 3 – Grant application instructions and method of payment

3.1  Application submission process

3.1.1 Applicants must submit their grant applications through the CDAP website.  Applications submitted in an alternate format will not be accepted.

3.1.2 Applicants may only submit one grant application form per company.

3.1.3 Should there be technical difficulties accessing or using the web-based system, applicants should contact the CDAP program through the Contact CDAP webpage or digitaladoption-adoptionnumerique@ised-isde.gc.ca

3.1.4 Applicants will be asked to submit the following information:

What is a business number and where can I find it?
A Business Number (BN) is a nine-digit number designated by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) and is used as a common client identifier for businesses to simplify their dealings with federal, provincial, and municipal governments. You will need a business number if you incorporate or need a CRA program account.

The BN is the first nine digits of your company's HST account number. You can also find your BN on your most recent CRA Notice of Assessment.  Please ensure that the BN you enter corresponds with your company name at one of the following links: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada or Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

3.1.5 As part of the application process applicants must complete the free Digital Needs Assessment (DNA) survey. The DNA is a comprehensive analysis of a business' digital maturity against a global industry-specific set of benchmarks. The DNA will help applicants understand their digital capabilities and maturity.

3.1.6 The applicant must attest to meeting all of the eligibility criteria identified in section 1.2. The program will endeavor to confirm eligibility within five (5) but no later than ten (10) business days.

3.1.7 Upon confirmation of eligibility, the applicant will have up to six (6) months to accept the terms of the CDAP Grant Agreement. Should the applicant not accept the terms of the Grant Agreement within six (6) months, a new eligibility validation will need to be performed.

3.1.8 The submission of the Application does not constitute a commitment on the part of the ISED to award funding.

3.2  Retaining a digital advisor

3.2.1 Upon accepting the terms of the Grant Agreement, the applicant will have access to the Digital Advisor Marketplace system. The system contains information on registered Digital Advisory service providers. The applicant is solely responsible to pick an advisor from the system  that will produce a Digital Adoption Plan for them. A contractual relationship is only between the advisor and the applicant. The applicant will have up to 9 months to submit a Digital Adoption Plan and invoice from a listed advisor in order to receive a Boost Your Business Technology grant.

3.2.2 As the business relationship is only between the applicant and the Digital Advisor, the applicant should ensure that any contractual agreement with the Digital Advisor addresses the scope of work, costs directly associated with the production of the digital plan, and that the Digital Advisor will deliver a Digital Adoption Plan in accordance with the program's requirements identified in the CDAP digital adoption plan guide.

3.2.3 Although pre-selected by ISED, Digital Advisors are not agents, partners, or employees of ISED. ISED does not warrant the quality of the services provided by such Advisors and is not responsible for any losses or damages, which may result from using the services of an Advisor. Any disputes must be resolved between the applicant and the Digital Advisor.

3.2.4 The applicant is entirely responsible for ensuring full payment of invoices for services rendered by any Digital Advisor.

3.3  Eligible costs

Eligible costs are costs incurred in Canada by the applicant directly associated with retaining a registered Digital Advisor and for the direct production of a Digital Adoption Plan for the applicant. Eligible costs include:

3.4  Ineligible costs

Any activities not directly related to the development and production of a Digital Adoption Plan by the organizations registered on the Digital Advisor Marketplace.

3.5  Financial assistance

Financial assistance will take the form of a non-repayable grant.

3.6  Determining the value of the Boost Your Business Technology grant

3.6.1 The amount of the Boost Your Business Technology grant will be up to 90% of the eligible costs, up to a maximum grant value of $15,000 (including applicable taxes).

3.6.2 CDAP will determine the size of the grant payment on the basis of an invoice containing the final cost of the Digital Adoption Plan developed by a Digital Advisor listed on the Digital Advisor Marketplace.

3.6.3 Total Canadian government assistance for the Digital Adoption Plan, including federal, provincial/territorial and municipal financial assistance, will not exceed 100% of eligible costs funded. In no instance will the total Canadian government assistance be allowed to exceed the total of eligible costs.

What is the size of my grant? 

Example 1: Katarina is the owner of a small auto parts manufacturing business. She applies for a grant under the Boost Your Business Technology stream. Katarina retains a Digital Advisor, and the advisor produces a Digital Adoption Plan at a total cost (inclusive of taxes) of $10,000. CDAP will pay Katarina's business a grant of $9,000. Katarina's business must cover the remaining $1,000. She may self finance the $1,000 or find other federal, provincial or municipal funding programs or tax credits to cover that portion. However, Katarina must be careful to ensure that the other government programs do not provide more than $1,000 to cover the cost of the Digital Adoption Plan, otherwise, CDAP will recover the difference from the $9,000 grant.

Example 2: Mohammed owns a food processing business. He applies and is determined to be eligible for a grant under the Boost Your Business Technology stream. Mohammed retains a Digital Advisor, and the advisor produces a Digital Adoption Plan at a total cost (inclusive of taxes) of $20,000. CDAP will pay a grant of $15,000. Mohammed's business must cover the remaining $5,000. He may find funding through other, non-CDAP federal, provincial or municipal programs or tax credits to cover that portion. However, Mohammed must be careful to ensure that the other, non-CDAP government programs do not provide more than $5,000 to cover the cost of the Digital Adoption Plan, otherwise, CDAP will recover the difference from the $15,000 grant.

3.7  Method of grant payment

3.7.1 Grant payments will be made on the basis of documented claims for reimbursement of eligible costs incurred. The applicant must upload through the CDAP website the following documents and to ISED's satisfaction:

3.7.2 The applicant must also complete a client satisfaction survey on the quality of the digital plan at time of submitting the plan and invoice.

3.7.3 ISED is not obliged to pay any incurred costs in the event that an Applicant no longer satisfies the eligibility criteria under the Boost Your Business Technology Stream.

3.7.4 ISED reserves the right to revalidate eligibility criteria before the payment of a grant.

3.7.5 Upon submission of documents identified in section 3.7.1 to ISED's satisfaction, ISED will endeavor to approve, provide funding confirmation and disburse the grant payment to the Applicant within a 30-day period.

3.8  Recovery of funds

3.8.1 Misrepresentation. Funding provided as a result of any misrepresentation by the Applicant will be repayable in full (with any interest) within thirty (30) days of notice provided.

3.8.2 Overpayment. Where ISED determines that the amount of the Grant disbursed exceeds the amount to which the Applicant is entitled, the Applicant shall repay the excess amount promptly and within thirty (30) days of notice provided.

3.9  Monitoring and reporting

To support ISED in its efforts to measure the economic impact of the Boost Your Business Technology Stream, grant funding recipients are asked to respond to user experience and outcome surveys that will be sent by the CDAP program.

3.10  Intellectual property rights

Intellectual property created by grant funding recipients will remain the property of the recipients. ISED may seek access to use intellectual property developed by recipients or through a third party. The negotiated rights to use this material may include further use of data for research purposes and/or publishing the intellectual property on ISED's website, in printed documents or other publications.


Part 4 – Business Development Bank of Canada zero interest loan

4.1  Application process

4.1.1 Applicants interested in a BDC zero interest loan must begin their application process using the CDAP website upon receiving a Boost Your Business Technology grant. Applicants will have up to six (6) months upon notification of grant payment to apply for a BDC zero interest loan.  

4.1.2 Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements as identified in section 1.2 as well as financial viability.

4.1.3 Once eligibility is validated the applicant will be directed to BDC's electronic intake system to complete the application process. Applicants should reference information posted on the BDC zero interest loan.

4.2  BDC loan fast track process

4.2.1 For applicants that already have an existing Digital Adoption Plan through an ISED recognized digital adoption program and do not require a Boost Your Business Technology Grant, the program offers a fast-track process to the BDC zero interest loan.

4.2.2 Applicants must begin their application process using the CDAP website.

4.2.3 Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements as identified in section 1.2 and submit evidence of having obtained a Digital Adoption Plan from a recognized provincial or territorial program within the last 24 months.

4.2.4 The list of recognized provincial and territorial programs are identified and may be added to over time.

4.2.5 Once eligibility and the existing digital plan is validated, the applicant will be directed to BDC's electronic intake system to complete the application process. The applicant will have 30 days once eligibility is validated to proceed to BDC to complete the application process for the loan. Applicants should reference information posted on the BDC zero interest loan.


Part 5 – Youth placements

5.1  Application process

5.1.1 Only applicants that have received funding confirmation for a Boost Your Business Technology grant or have obtained a Digital Adoption Plan from a recognized provincial or territorial program within the last 24 months are eligible to apply for a subsidized youth placement. Applicants should consult the list of recognized provincial and territorial programs.

5.1.2 Eligible applicants must meet the eligibility requirements as identified in section 1.2.

5.1.3 Eligible applicants seeking a youth placement subsidy must begin their application process through the CDAP Portal. The process is administered by a third-party organization under contract with CDAP for this purpose. For more information on the youth placement application process interested applicants should visit [link] (TBD).

5.1.4 Applications will be selected on the basis of offering a valuable learning experience for a post-secondary student or recent graduate (within 2 years) aged 18-30, to support the company's digital transformation.

5.1.5 Applicants will be given access to the Youth Placement Intermediary's Portal, which will be used to find and hire a qualified post-secondary student or recent graduate.

5.1.6 Applicants will create a profile in the Youth Placement Intermediary's Portal, which will be used to match the Applicant with qualified post-secondary students or recent graduates.

5.1.7 Applicants will review a list of qualified post-secondary students or recent graduate and interview desired candidates.

5.2  Wage subsidy provisions

5.2.1 Applicants can only receive one subsidized youth placement through the Boost Your Business Technology Stream.

5.2.2 The youth placement subsidy will be up to $7,300 and will be paid as reimbursement upon production of proof of wage payment.

5.2.3 CDAP does not permit the 'stacking' of other government funding (federal, provincial/territories, municipal) for the same youth placement.

5.2.4 There is no requirement for an Applicant to contribute to the work placement wage in order to qualify for the wage subsidy. However, Applicants have the option to supplement the wage subsidy paid to the youth.


Annex – Terms and conditions of the Boost Your Business Technology grant agreement

Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) Stream 2 - Boost Your Business Technology Grant Agreement

As of: January 5, 2022

The business legal name/Operating name (referred to below as the "Applicant"), acting through its authorized representative respondent name, represents, acknowledges, and agrees that:

The Applicant represents that:

  1. It meets all the eligibility requirements to receive grant funding from the Government of Canada as set out in the Program Guide.
  2. The information submitted in the Application is true, accurate and complete.
  3. It has the necessary authority to undertake the procurement of a Digital Adoption Plan from a registered Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) approved Digital Advisor.

The Applicant acknowledges that:

  1. Any payment made under this Agreement is subject to the appropriation of funds by the Parliament of Canada for the fiscal year in which the payment is to be made.
  2. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) has the sole discretion to cancel funding at any point in time with appropriate advance notice, in the event that program terms and conditions (see Program Guide) are amended or terminated, or under other circumstances that are deemed appropriate.
  3. Funding provided by ISED as a result of any misrepresentation by the Applicant will be repayable upon demand (with any additional costs) to the Government of Canada by the Applicant.
  4. The submission of the Application does not constitute a commitment on the part of ISED to award funding. In accordance with the Program Guide, funding will be confirmed upon submission of a Digital Adoption Plan conforming to program requirements and an invoice for payment issued by a CDAP-approved Digital Advisor.

The Applicant agrees to the following:

  1. To submit a Digital Adoption Plan that is compliant with program criteria set out in the Program Guide and the invoice for payment made to the CDAP-approved Digital Advisor, within 9 months of acceptance of this grant agreement, for grant disbursement.
  2. The maximum amount of the grant payable will be up to 90% of the eligible costs of a Digital Adoption Plan to a maximum of $15,000 (including applicable taxes), as set out in the Program Guide.
  3. The grant funding awarded will only cover eligible expenses charged by the Digital Advisor in creating the Digital Adoption Plan, as set out in the Program Guide.
  4. To reimburse the grant funding to the Government of Canada in the event ISED determines subsequently that the grant funding was not provided in compliance with the Program Guide or was otherwise provided erroneously or under false representations.
  5. To maintain eligibility from the time of application until payment is confirmed by ISED.
  6. To inform the program of any change in eligibility.
  7. Should the Applicant no longer meet the eligibility requirements, funding may be reduced or terminated.
  8. To act in compliance with guidelines governing the CDAP program as set out in the Program Guide. Should ISED determine that the Applicant is not in compliance with all of the terms and conditions as set out in the Program Guide and any additional instructions or conditions as stipulated by the Program during the period of eligibility, the agreement may be terminated by ISED, at its sole discretion.
  9. Total Canadian government assistance for the Digital Adoption Plan, including federal, provincial/territorial and municipal financial assistance, will not exceed 100% of eligible costs – see Program Guide for further details and examples.
  10. ISED may disclose any information submitted in this Application within the Government of Canada or to outside entities, subject to applicable restrictions associated with privacy, confidentiality and security for the following purposes:
    1. To reach a decision on the Application;
    2. To support transparency, accountability and citizen engagement; and
    3. To respond to requests made under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.
  11. Any information (including any personal information) obtained in confidence from any Third Party by the Applicant, and provided to ISED under the terms of this Agreement, will be marked as "confidential" by the Applicant and the Applicant shall ensure it was disclosed to ISED with the consent of the Third Party. ISED shall ensure that any disclosure of the Third Party information is done in compliance with all legal requirements relating to personal information and Third Party confidential information.
  12. The Applicant will participate in electronic surveys which will assess Applicant experience with CDAP to support service evaluation and improvement (refer to Program Guide for further details)
  13. The Applicant shall indemnify the Government of Canada from any claim or cause of action arising from injury, damage, or death sustained in carrying out this Agreement.
  14. This Agreement does not create a partnership, agency or joint venture and the Applicant shall not represent itself as an agent, partner or employee of ISED in carrying it out.
  15. The Applicant is not in any way authorized to make a promise, agreement or contract or to incur any liability on behalf of ISED.
  16. This agreement including the funding confirmation (see clause 7) will constitute the entire agreement between the Applicant and ISED.
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