Western Economic Diversification Canada
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1. Overview

1.1 Western Diversification Program (WDP)

The Western Diversification Program (WDP) is one of the programs through which Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) makes strategic investments in initiatives with not-for-profit organizations that enhance and strengthen the economy of Western Canada.

The WDP complements other federal programs and is not intended to replace or duplicate other sources of financing that may be available.

1.2 WDP Call for Proposals (CFP)

The WDP Call for Proposals (CFP) process allows for a comparative analysis of projects against clear criteria (see Section 4.3 of this guide), strengthens the department’s responsiveness to economic trends and industry needs, and ensures alignment to Government of Canada plans and priorities.

The CFP process provides clarity for applicants on the WDP objectives and priorities and establishes a clear intake and assessment process. If applicable, WD will inform applicants if their project is better suited under other federal government programs, other level of government programs, or with industry.

1.3 WD's 2017 CFP Investment Priorities

WD is seeking applications under the 2017 WDP-CFP that directly support one (or more) of the following WD investment priorities: 

  • Clean technology; and/or
  • Indigenous economic growth.

In parallel to the WDP-CFP, WD is also seeking applications for the Economic Development Initiative (EDI) to enhance the vitality of francophone communities (See Section 2.3 for more details).

1.4 Objective of the WDP-CFP

Through its Inclusive Innovation Agenda, the Government of Canada is dedicated to building on three core priority areas:

  • People – developing Canadian talent and the workforce of tomorrow;
  • Technology – fostering leading-edge technologies; and,
  • Companies – growing world-class companies and accelerating growth.

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) works to advance these priority areas by making strategic investments in supports and services that enable western Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including Indigenous businesses, to be more innovative, productive, more export-oriented, and to create good quality jobs.

This call for proposal process invites applications that advance WD's 2017 investment priorities, which are:

  • Clean technology (clean tech): Building on the competitive advantages of innovative clusters in Western Canada to grow the clean tech sector by supporting the development, commercialization, and export of clean tech products and processes.
  • Indigenous economic growth (IEG): Increasing the number of Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses, and ensure Indigenous communities in Western Canada are well positioned to capitalize on significant economic development and growth opportunities. Preference will be given to IEG applications submitted by Indigenous organizations or those with Indigenous partners.

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2. Eligibility

2.1 Eligible Applicants – Mandatory Criteria

The following not-for profit organizations are eligible to apply for WDP funding:

  1. Industry associations, economic development organizations, cultural organizations, and societies;
  2. Post-secondary institutions;
  3. Co-operatives;
  4. Hospitals and regional health care centres;
  5. Indigenous-led not-for-profits and organizations which may include but are not limited to First Nations as represented by their Chief and Council, Tribal Councils, Indigenous Representative Organizations, Métis and Inuit organizations, and Settlements as well as First Nation/Métis Settlement wholly-owned businesses where all profits accrue solely to the First Nation/Settlement to benefit community members;
  6. Municipal Governments and organizations created by them;
  7. Federal Crown Corporations (Treasury Board Secretariat will be consulted prior to any funding decisions for federal Crown corporations); and,
  8. Provincial Government Departments, agencies, and Crown Corporations (although eligible within the WDP Terms and Conditions, WD would require an Order in Council to contract with these organizations. As such, any projects would be considered on an exceptional basis).

For-profit organizations can access funding for innovation projects through WD's Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative.

2.2 Activities Eligible for Funding

Projects will be assessed against how well they contribute to WD's 2017 investment priorities: clean technology or Indigenous economic growth. Preference will be given to projects that demonstrate industry participation/support, support priority clean tech initiatives as identified by industry sectors, or IEG applications submitted by Indigenous organizations or those with Indigenous partners.

Details on eligible activities funded under this CFP are below:

Clean Technology Priority
Clean technology (clean tech) is any product, process, or service that reduces environmental impacts relative to the standard and/or most commonplace technology in a given market.
Objectives – Projects must address one or more of the following:
  • Support the development and/or commercialization of new clean tech products and processes that will surpass the current marketplace standard and/or most commonplace technology.
  • Strengthen the clean tech sector to help clean tech firms expand, modernize, grow, export, and/or become more productive.
  • Build capacity at the firm, sector, and community level to foster growth in the clean tech sector by increasing access to capital, talent, and markets.
Desired Outcomes Examples of how Economic Results will be Measured
  • Increased development and/or commercialization of clean tech products and processes that will surpass the current marketplace standard and/or most commonplace technology.
  • # of products, processes, or services proven through successful deployment in an operational setting
  • # of instances of intellectual property exercised
  • $ value of sales tied to the knowledge-based product, process, service, or technology commercialized
  • Increased access to capital and clean tech market share for western Canadian business.
  • # of SMEs that increase gross margins
  • SME employment growth (FTEs)
  • # of SMEs and other organizations pursuing a new trade, investment, or international R&D opportunity
  • # of western clients with new international sales
  • $ value of new international business leads generated through missions, events, or marketing initiatives
  • $ value of international business activity
  • # of western SMEs or other organizations participating in an international business mission event or marketing initiative
  • $ value of incremental private sector investment attracted
  • Increased employment, development, and retention of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) in clean tech industries.
  • # of HQP jobs created
  • # of HQP trained
Examples of project activities that WD could support:
  • Studies and analyses that identify ways to grow clean tech opportunities for western Canadian organizations in the marketplace (e.g., market intelligence, supply chain development, innovative cluster growth, or export opportunities).
  • Support innovation service providers to expand their suite of services (e.g., applied R&D, incubator space, expertise) provided to western Canadian businesses developing and commercializing clean tech.
  • Technology development activities including prototype design and field testing and/or operational demonstration in collaboration with industry partners to develop and commercialize clean tech products or processes.
  • Testing or adapting clean tech from abroad that would surpass the current standard in Western Canada for suitability to Canadian conditions (e.g., environmental, marketplace, regulatory).
  • Acquisition of necessary equipment that enables development and commercialization of new technologies that address market demand for clean tech products and processes.
  • Trade shows, missions, investment forums and other events that promote branding, access to capital, market intelligence, and/or market or export development opportunities for western Canadian clean tech firms.
Examples of project activities that WD will not fund:
  • The adoption of existing clean tech already proven for use in Western Canada (e.g., installation of solar panels, geothermal power, or biogas digesters already in the marketplace).
  • Conferences held to increase awareness of environmental issues.


Indigenous Economic Growth (IEG) Priority
Objectives – Projects must address one or more of the following:
  • Strengthen Indigenous business development and entrepreneurship.
  • Increase Indigenous participation in economic opportunities such as significant natural resource developments, tourism attraction, government procurement, or opportunities in the technology sector.
Desired Outcomes Examples of how Economic Results will be Measured
  • Greater Indigenous participation in the western Canadian economy.
  • Increase and expand Indigenous businesses.
  • Increased capacity and competitiveness of Indigenous businesses.
  • Increased employment for Indigenous people.
  • Increased skills development to address labour gaps.
  • # of businesses created, maintained, or expanded through business or capital services
  • # of SMEs that increase gross margins
  • SME employment growth (# of FTEs)
  • # of business training services (# of unique participants)
  • # of SMEs investing in adoption of sound management, business practices, or technology
  • # of participants trained in skills shortage area
  • # of skilled workers hired
  • # of new Indigenous economic development partnerships and/or business opportunities created
  • # of Indigenous communities or businesses participating in an economic development or business development conference or event
  • # of western firms and other organizations participating in a domestic tourism business mission, event, or marketing initiative
  • # of western SMEs and other organizations participating in an international tourism business mission, event, or marketing initiative
  • # of tourists visiting Western Canada (domestic and/or international)
Examples of project activities that WD could support:
  • Preference will be given to applications from Indigenous organizations or those with Indigenous partners.
  • Activities that encourage the formation of business partnerships between Indigenous communities and industry that will generate economic growth for Indigenous communities.
  • Support for initiatives that will encourage the creation and/or expansion of Indigenous businesses including incubators, training centres, co-operatives, or physical equipment.
  • Initiatives delivered by a regional, provincial, or national organization that increase capacity among Indigenous entrepreneurs (e.g., business development, marketing, and/or financial management).
  • Activities that will increase participation in supply chain opportunities (e.g., major resource projects, procurement) and/or development of, and access to, new markets.
  • Activities that support the Indigenous tourism sector and increase tourism visits, including building awareness of the sector.
  • Skills development training in high demand by industry, with a high likelihood of immediate employment, and the majority of participants are indigenous. Demand and likelihood of immediate employment is to be demonstrated. Examples include industry's financial support to the project, industry's commitment to hire the trainees, or labour market data/skills gap studies that strongly demonstrate need. Preference will be given to training that incorporates Indigenous teaching methodologies and/or learning styles that enhances learning outcomes and business opportunities. These initiatives must complement, not compete, with existing services available in the marketplace.
Examples of project activities that WD will not fund:
  • Feasibility studies or economic development studies.
  • Basic or general skills training that are eligible for other federal government funding programs.
  • Skills training that do not have an industry commitment to hire the trainees or respond to labour market skills gap.
  • Skills development training projects where the minority of participants are Indigenous.
  • Tourism projects that do not benefit a number of communities in a region.
  • Basic municipal/community infrastructure projects (e.g., water, wastewater, roads, broadband connectivity).
  • Conferences and events without a strong, demonstrated link to the objectives and desired outcomes listed above.
  • Business advisory services that duplicate services provided by existing organizations.


2.3 Additional Eligibility Under Other Government of Canada Priorities

Through the WDP-CFP, WD is also encouraging applications eligible for funding under the Economic Development Initiative (EDI) for francophone communities. EDI is a separate funding program from the WDP-CFP and is part of the Government of Canada's official languages strategy: "Roadmap for Canada's Official Languages (2013-2018): Education, Immigration, Communities." EDI facilitates sustainable growth in Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs) by promoting the development of new expertise through innovation, diversification, partnerships, and increased support of small- and medium-sized businesses.

Projects may target rural diversification, trade and investment, innovation capacity building (leading to technology commercialization), support of immigrant and youth entrepreneurship, support services for small businesses, tourism, improving access to skilled labour, and building community capacity. EDI projects will be assessed against the same criteria, in comparison to the merits of all EDI applications received.

Economic Development Initiative for Francophones
Objectives – Projects must address one or more of the following:
  • Facilitate sustainable growth in OLMCs by promoting the development of new expertise through innovation, diversification, partnerships, and increased support of small- and medium-sized businesses.
  • Address the economic development needs of OLMCs and contribute to results in community economic growth, or business productivity and growth.
Desired Outcomes Examples of how Economic Results will be Measured:
  • Increased business productivity and growth
  • # of HQP trained
  • # of businesses created, maintained, or expanded through business or capital services
  • # of businesses adopting sound management practices or technology
  • # of skilled workers hired as a result of training/skills certification
  • # of businesses pursuing a trade or tourism opportunity
  • Increased community economic growth
  • # of local and regionally-based community strategic plan(s) developed and/or updated
  • # of communities benefitting from Community Economic Growth projects
  • $ value of community-based projects
Examples of project activities that WD could support:
  • Incorporating French language options for training programs in needed sectors and mobile training labs available in French to improve access to skilled trades locally in rural or remote areas.
  • Developing economic development plans for francophone communities and/or delivering components of those plans directed at community capacity building as well as francophone business growth and development.
  • Supporting francophone businesses in adopting sound management practices and technology to enhance productivity.
  • Supporting international trade events for francophone businesses to increase their capacity to pursue international business opportunities or to attract international visitors.
  • Creating a pool of highly qualified personnel to support the commercialization of knowledge-based products in the francophone community.
  • For examples of EDI projects WD has supported in the past, please see WD's EDI webpage.
Examples of project activities that WD will not fund:
  • Research projects.
  • Projects for which only a small component benefits francophone communities (for these, please see the Official Languages section).
  • Projects primarily focussed on social or cultural development.
  • Projects primarily focussed on community infrastructure improvements.

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3. Funding

WDP provides non-repayable contributions (see Section 9 of this guide for a definition).

The assessment of the required level of funding will take into consideration all other sources of funding available to the applicant. Preference will be given to projects which leverage funding from provincial governments, the private sector, and other non-government sources.

Successful applicants will need to sign a contribution agreement and will be reimbursed on the basis of documented claims for eligible costs incurred and paid and/or the fulfillment of conditions specified in the contribution agreement. Successful applicants will also be required to complete claims and progress reports at key phases of the project, as well as a final project report.

3.1 Eligible Project Costs

All proposed costs should be incremental and essential to the implementation of the project. Costs that may be eligible for reimbursement include, but may not be limited to:

  • Equipment purchase and lease;
  • Information management and information technology acquisitions;
  • Legal, administrative, accounting, licensing, permits;
  • Rents, leases, leasehold improvements;
  • Acquisitions of proprietary processes;
  • Supplies, transportation;
  • Capital improvements related to projects;
  • Personnel: salary and benefits (that are incremental to an organization's daily operations); and,
  • Other costs that are reasonable, incremental, and directly attributable to activities necessary to achieve desired results, as specified by the agreement.

WD reserves the right to make the final determination on the value of contributions, the inclusion of any in-kind contributions, and to exclude expenditures deemed to be ineligible or outside the scope of the project.

3.2 Ineligible Costs

Costs that are deemed unreasonable, not incremental, and/or not directly related to project activities will be ineligible for reimbursement. These include, but may not be limited to:

  • Allowance for interest on invested capital, bonds, debentures, and other debt;
  • Losses on investments, bad debts and associated expenses, other projects and contracts;
  • Refinancing of existing debts;
  • Amortization or depreciation of assets;
  • Federal and provincial income taxes, GST (recoverable portion), taxes or surtaxes on excess profit;
  • Provisions for contingencies or commissions paid to consultants to secure funding;
  • Lobbying activities;
  • Donations, dues, and membership fees;
  • Entertainment expenses; and
  • Land and buildings.

Generally, the following costs/activities will not be supported:

  • Marketing plans, and business plans;
  • Hospitality and other related costs;
  • Sole sourced consultant fees; and,
  • Fees related to advocacy work.

Costs incurred prior to the Proposed Project Funding Start Date will not be eligible. The Proposed Project Funding Start Date should be no earlier than June 1, 2017.

Project costs incurred by the applicant in the absence of a signed funding agreement with WD are incurred at the sole risk of the applicant.

3.3 Disbursements

If you are successful in obtaining WDP funding for your project, you will need to sign a contribution agreement and will only be reimbursed by WD for costs after you have paid for them and submitted a claim to WD. Thus, you will need to plan your project cash flow accordingly. WD will provide detailed instructions on this process to those who are approved for funding. It is the expectation that claims for reimbursement will be submitted in a timely fashion, e.g., on a quarterly basis.

3.4 Guidelines for Conferences and Similar Events

WD will consider supporting conferences, forums, expos, and other similar events through this CFP when it is clearly demonstrated that the event aligns with WD's 2017 investment priorities (clean technology or Indigenous economic growth). Additionally, a proposed event should:

  • Have demonstrated support from the private or non-government sector. This could be in the form of written support, or agreement to cost-share the event;
  • Not duplicate existing conferences, forums, or other events; and
  • Not benefit one province at the expense of another

Additional consideration may also be given to events that:

  • Benefit more than one province;
  • Provide a forum for Western Canadian industry to develop business opportunities; or
  • Support small organizations and the businesses they represent in building capacity for economic growth.

Eligible event costs can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Venue rental, including break-out rooms for B2B and B2G meetings;
  • Booth rental and related exhibition costs;
  • Audio visual and translation-related equipment rental;
  • Services required for the event (e.g. marketing, AV, translation, event management);
  • Speaker fees; and,
  • Preparation of Western industry profiles, promotional, or other related materials.

Projects that demonstrate broad stakeholder support and, as a result, seek WD funding for a smaller component of the project (e.g., under 25 per cent), may be viewed as a higher priority.

3.5 Guidelines for in-kind Costs/Contributions

Under WDP, only project costs incurred and directly paid by the applicant can be reimbursed by WD. However, an in-kind contribution is a project cost that does not involve an expense incurred and paid for by the project applicant. Typically, these expenses are borne by third parties for items or services that are in turn provided to the applicant at no cost, or at a reduced cost (e.g., a deep discount not typically offered to others). Such costs are used to demonstrate a more accurate picture of the project scope, including project funding, leveraging and demonstration of participant and/or private sector contributions to a project.

The cost must be for an item considered by WD to be essential to a project's success, eligible under the WDP, and that would otherwise be purchased and paid for by the applicant. For example:

  • An industry partner will provide trucks to a college for use in a project to train truck drivers. In this case, the college did not incur or pay any incremental costs, but the project could not reasonably go forward without trucks. Therefore, this would be an in-kind contribution to project costs.

In-kind costs may only be included in the project when there is a clear plan and commitment from the applicant on how the costs can be verified.

  • In the example above, the value of the trucks to the project can be quantified via sales records, etc.