Application guidelines – Innovation Initiative

Sport Support Program

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Objectives and expected results for the Sport Support Program

The Sport Support Program (SSP) supports the development of Canadian athletes and coaches. Funding is provided to eligible organizations for programming that supports the goals of the Canadian Sport Policy.

The objectives of the SSP are to:

  • increase the opportunities to participate in quality sport activities for all Canadians, including under-represented groups;
  • increase the capacity of the Canadian sport system to systematically achieve world class results at the highest international competitions;
  • contribute to the provision of technical sport leadership within the Canadian Sport System; and
  • advance Canadian interests, values and ethics in sport at home and abroad.

Objectives and expected results for the Innovation Initiative sub-component

The Innovation Initiative is a sub-component of the SSP which supports the development of Canadian athletes and coaches. Funding is provided to eligible organizations for the testing of innovative programming that supports the goalsFootnote 1 of the Canadian Sport Policy.

The Innovation Initiative sub-component is seeking organizations that are:

  • interested in testing new ways of working in sport;
  • committed to monitoring and measuring results;
  • interested in collaborating with researchers and evaluators; and
  • willing to share the stories nationwide to improve sport participation experiences for Canadians.

The Innovation Initiative sub-component enables the testing of innovative quality sportFootnote 2 approaches, the trial of new programs, strategies, and technologies; in order to develop evidence-based solutions that can be shared nationwide.

The objectives of the Innovation Initiative sub-component are to:

  • test new or adapted quality sport approaches (e.g. new programs, strategies and technologies) that align with one or more of the Canadian Sport Policy goals;
  • evaluate and document successes and failures of the approach; and
  • share results for nationwide use and implementation.

The expected results of the Innovation Initiative sub-component are to improve sport participation by piloting new or adapted quality sport approaches that contribute to one or more of the following specific outcomes:

  • increased accessibility to sport programs;
  • increased frequency, rates and retention of participation in sport;
  • reduced or eliminated barriers to participation in sport;
  • increased physical literacy; and
  • the achievement of social goals through the intentional use of sport.

Application deadline

The submission deadline for concepts and applications will be specified in the Call for Concepts and the Call for Applications, respectively.

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding, your organization must be:

  • a federally or provincially incorporated not-for-profit organization; and
  • undertaking a national initiative, a pilot leading to a national initiative or a component of a national program.

Provincial and national level organizations working with community organizations must submit documented support from the community with the application (such as a resolution or formal letter of support under signature of the proper governing authority).

Eligibility

We are responsible for determining the eligibility of each applicant, its project and project-related expenses.

The Innovation Initiative sub-component is highly competitive. Requests for funding typically exceed our available resources. If your organization is eligible, submitting an application does not guarantee funding.

Eligible projects

To be eligible for funding from the Innovation Initiative sub-component:

  • Your project must support pilotFootnote 3 projects with either a sport participation or sport for social development outcome.
  • The sport activities employed in the pilot project must be consistent with the principles of quality sport.
  • Eligible projects will pilot:
    • a new sport program;
    • a new sport for social development program;
    • an existing sport program for a new population or purpose; or,
    • an adaptation of an existing sport program in order to align it with the principles of quality sport.

The Canadian Sport for Life - Long-Term Athlete Development Resource Paper provides a roadmap for developing quality sport programming. It represents a shift in the way that sport is led and delivered by considering the mental, cognitive, emotional and physical development of an individual and outlining the key elements that need to be addressed when planning, developing and implementing sport programs. Using this resource, applicants can design and implement quality sport programs which have the potential to contribute to the objectives of the Canadian Sport Policy.

Project duration

Pilot projects of one (1) to three (3) years may be considered.

Participants in the pilot project

Participants in the proposed pilot project may be children, youth, adults, seniors, coaches, officials, program leaders, volunteers, etc. involved in sport or sport for social development purposes.

Other participants in a pilot project may include those supporting its design or delivery such as community members, teachers, coaches, parents, elders, and advisors or mentors.

Target populations will be specified in the Call for Concepts.

Eligible expenses

Only project-related expenses, which can be of cash and in-kind value, are eligible; these may include:

Administration

Administrative costs related to the management of an organization. You may allocate up to 10% of your total funding toward administration costs.

Eligible expenses include:

  • general administrative costs;
  • general organizational, promotion and communication activities, including website; and,
  • domestic meetings, including travel, meals, accommodation and facility rental.

Travel expenses, which must not exceed the rates permitted for travel on government business.

Salaries, fees and benefits

Costs of employing or contracting part-time and full-time management and administrative staff.

Eligible expenses include:

  • contracts and/or honoraria;
  • pro-rated salaries/wages, statutory deductions and benefits; and
  • staff professional development.

The SSP contribution towards staff salaries and expenses is limited to $90,000 per eligible full-time position. The contribution limit for part-time positions is pro-rated against this amount.

Operations and programming

Costs related to the development and implementation of the sport programming.

Eligible expenses include:

  • contracts and/or honoraria;
  • equipment rental or purchase;
  • coaching/officiating/athlete development program content development and delivery;
  • resource design, printing and distribution;
  • translation services for web content, promotional material and activities, social media, communication and documents related to the pilot project; and
  • travel, meals, accommodation, facility rental for program delivery or development opportunities.

All uniforms and equipment for the pilot project and sporting and office equipment must remain the property of the funded organization.

Travel expenses must not exceed the rates permitted for travel on government business.

Research and evaluation

Costs related to the evaluation and documentation of successes and failures of the quality sport approach.

Eligible expenses include:

  • contracts and/or honoraria;
  • data development and management; and
  • evaluation and reporting.

Ineligible expenses for all include:

  • capital costs; a tangible asset held for long-term use rather than for sale, such as building or land owned by your organization;
  • costs of sales;
  • fundraising;
  • medals, trophies and banquets; and
  • personal items.

In-kind contributions are considered real contributions to the cost of the proposed project but are not reimbursable. Donated goods and services may be considered in-kind contributions if they:

  • are essential to your project’s success;
  • are eligible and would otherwise have to be purchased or paid for by you;
  • can be measured at fair market value (i.e. in relation to similar goods and services); and
  • are balanced by an equal revenue in your budget (i.e. total in-kind expenses equal total in-kind revenues).

We cannot fund expenses incurred before we receive your application. Only expenses incurred during the project period (beginning April 1, 2022) as outlined in the funding agreement will be eligible for reimbursement. If you incur expenses for your project before receiving written confirmation of your funding approval, you will be doing so at your own risk.

Limits of government assistance

To ensure the success of the project, we encourage you to have other funding sources. This may include contributions from your organization, the private sector or other levels of government.

The total financial assistance received from the Innovation Initiative sub-component and other levels of government (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) cannot exceed 100% of total project-related costs.

Applying for more than 12 months

You may request funding for a project spanning more than 12 months. You must then show that there is a need for a multi-year commitment and that you have the capacity to complete the project. This is demonstrated with a realistic project timeline and budget projections as well as sound governance.

How to apply

Read the Call for Concepts and the Application Guidelines in their entirety before beginning.

Call for Concepts

The development of a concept is the first stage in the application process.

The Call for Concepts is a way for you to tell us what sport innovation idea you would like to test and what specific population(s) you will be working with. The Call for Concepts is how we will identify ideas that have the potential for development into a full application.

You must submit pilot concepts in the PDF application form to us. Each pilot concept must be no more than 1500 words (i.e. 3 pages), use the headings below and include a brief description of:

  • Applicant information
    • Your organization name, address and contact details
    • Primary / Secondary contacts and titles;
  • Project Title;
  • The sport-related gap;
  • The hypothesis that will be tested to address the gap;
  • The specific population(s) your organization will be working with;
  • The pilot concept and the expected results;
  • The innovation aspect;
  • Quality Sport;
  • How the pilot will be evaluated;
  • The names of other organizations (if any) involved in the delivery and evaluation of the pilot project; and
  • The detailed estimated, overall costs associated with the implementation and evaluation of the pilot.

You must demonstrate in the pilot concept how the sport activity clearly aligns with the principles of quality sport and the objectives and expected results of the Innovation Initiative sub-component.

Only pilot concepts which include all the information as requested above will be considered.

All pilot concepts are subject to screening and review. Not all organizations that respond to the Call for Concepts will be invited to submit an application for funding. Only organizations that meet the eligibility and concept assessment criteria will be invited to submit a full application.

We will acknowledge receipt of a pilot concept within two (2) weeks.

Call for Application

If your concept is selected by us, you will be invited to submit a funding application. All applications will be assessed based on the evaluation criteria below and depending on the outcome of the assessment, funding will be allocated to successful applicants for full project implementation.

You must submit the application to us. Each application must use the headings below and include a description of:

  • Applicant information
    • Your organization name, address and contact details
    • Primary / Secondary contacts and titles;
  • Project Title;
  • Gap to be addressed
    • Current state of the sport-related gap
    • Hypothesis
    • Target population for the pilot
    • Description of the pilot project activities and expected results
    • Method for selection or identification of the participants
    • Expected start / end dates for the pilot project;
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
    • Performance measurement data (i.e. indicators) to be collected and monitored to measure progress
    • Methodology for measuring the impact of the pilot on the stated objectives (e.g. baseline data comparison, pre-post surveys, interviews, sharing circle, etc.)
    • If successful, the proposal for scaling up
    • Application for how learnings may be used to inform current or future approaches; and
  • Risk and Financial Management
    • Organizational experience and capacity to deliver the pilot project
    • Human resources and risk management plan
    • Letters of support and roles and responsibilities of all parties in the pilot project
    • Detailed budget including other sources of funding (if applicable)
    • A copy of your organization’s most recent board approved financial statements, audited, if available.

You must demonstrate in the application how the sport activity clearly aligns with the principles of quality sport and the objectives and expected results of the Innovation Initiative sub-component.

Only applications which include all the information as requested above will be considered.

We will acknowledge receipt of an application within two (2) weeks.

The Call for Applications is a competitive process. Applications are subject to screening and evaluation. Not all organizations that are invited to submit an application will receive funding.

Application process

  • Complete, sign and date the Application Form;
  • Attach all the required supporting documents; and
  • Submit your application electronically to the following email address: SportCanadaInnovation@pch.gc.ca

The email must be sent no later than 11:59 p.m. local time on the date of the application deadline for your application to be considered.

How applications are evaluated

We fund projects that have clear objectives and measurable results. Your application will be evaluated based on the evaluation criteria below by a Review Committee who will compare it with other applications and prioritize it in relation to the funds available.

Applicants must demonstrate in the Call for Concepts and in the Call for Applications (if invited to submit) how the sport activity clearly aligns with the principles of quality sport and the objectives and expected results of the Innovation Initiative sub-component.

Failure to comply with any conditions of a previously funded project will be considered in the evaluation of your new application and could result in a rejection of your new application.

Evaluation criteria

Concepts

Concepts will be screened for eligibility and then reviewed by us. Concepts will be evaluated based on the criteria below:

  • Organizational eligibility: The extent to which your organization meets the criteria for who can apply.
  • Completeness: The extent to which information as requested in the Call for Concepts is included.
  • Pilot eligibility: The extent to which the pilot concept aligns with the criteria for eligible projects, including meeting our definition of innovationFootnote 4 as well as aligning with the principles of quality sportii.
  • Soundness: The extent to which the project concept follows a clear sequence of ideas and logical arguments (i.e. is based on valid reasoning and judgement).
  • Financial feasibility for us: The extent to which the pilot project is financially feasible for us.

Applications

If eligible, your application will then be evaluated by a Review Committee, who will compare and prioritize it with other applications received, and in relation to funds available. Your application will be evaluated based on the criteria below:

  1. Gap to be addressed / Current state of the sport-related gap: The extent to which the sport-related gap to be addressed and the drivers leading to the pilot project are aligned with the Innovation Initiative sub-component Guidelines.
  2. Organizational capacity: The extent of the experience and capacity of your organization (including consideration of its staff or volunteers), along with its delivery partners (if any) to manage the activities described within the application, achieve the desired results and complete the project in a timely manner. This component may involve consideration of previous funding from the Government of Canada.
  3. Community engagement and commitment: The extent of and approach to community consultation for the implementation of the project and ongoing communications with affected parties throughout the project.
  4. Objectives, activities planned and expected results: The extent to which the application is connected to the Innovation Initiative sub-component objectives and expected results, aligned with quality sport, and the consistency between eligible activities, expected results and projected expenses. The assessment process will consider program design, timeliness, cost-effectiveness, and the degree to which the activities will result in the expected outcomes. This assessment also considers whether the budget demonstrates a realistic assessment of estimated total costs and justification of the level of funding requested.
  5. Project management: The extent to which the management of the pilot activities have been planned and articulated in the application (e.g. management of project scope, human resources, project monitoring, reporting and evaluation, risk management).

You are highly encouraged to leverage resources by fostering partnerships and by demonstrating economies of scale. This may include collaborating with other organizations, academic institutions or agencies to undertake mutually beneficial activities.

Application processing time

Please refer to the Service standards for Canadian Heritage funding programs or contact the Program.

We will acknowledge receipt of your application within two (2) weeks of receiving your application in our office.

Funding decisions

Please note that decisions regarding eligibility and funding amounts are final.

How funding is provided

We provide funding in the form of a contribution.

A contribution is a conditional payment issued for a specific purpose, as outlined in a funding agreement. The funding agreement is signed by your organization and by us and specifies the terms and conditions to receive payment. At the end of your project, you must submit a final report.

Funding conditions

You may be required to submit interim reports during the project. If you receive $250,000 or more as a contribution, you are required to submit an audited financial report.

If your organization receives support from us, you must:

For more information, please consult the Sport policies, acts and regulations.

Additional conditions may apply and, if applicable, will be included in your funding agreement.

Anti-racism and anti-hate

Canadian Heritage is committed to address systemic racism, promote diversity, and create environments where every individual is valued, respected, and empowered. We strive to challenge discriminatory beliefs and practices, cultivate understanding and empathy, and champion policies and programs that advance equality for all.

Organizations receiving funding, including any representatives whether employees, consultants, or other persons directly affiliated with the organization, must take steps to ensure they respect the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act, and Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy.

Workplace well-being

The Government of Canada is strongly committed to promoting healthy workplaces where harassment, abuse and discrimination are not tolerated. Organizations that receive funding from Canadian Heritage must take measures to create a workplace free from harassment, abuse and discrimination.

Official languages requirements

We are committed to taking positive measures to enhance the vitality of official-language minority communities and to promote the use of English and French in Canadian society. If you receive funding, you agree to comply with the official languages requirements set out in your application and in your funding agreement.

Acknowledgement of financial assistance

If you receive funding, you must publicly acknowledge – in English and in French – the financial support received from the Government of Canada in all communications materials and promotional activities. Additional requirements may be included in your funding agreement.

For additional information, please refer to our Guide on the public acknowledgement of financial support.

Access to information requests

We are subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The information you submit in your application may be disclosed in accordance with these acts.

Disclosure of information

By submitting your funding application, you authorize us to disclose any information submitted with this application within the Government of Canada or to outside entities for the following purposes:

  • to reach a decision;
  • to evaluate the results of the project; and
  • to support transparency, accountability and citizen engagement.

Audits of recipients and evaluation of the Program

We reserve the right to audit your accounts and records to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of your funding agreement. We also conduct periodic Program evaluations, during which you may be required to present documentation.

You must keep any records, documents, or other information that may be required to perform the audit or the evaluation for five years. Demonstrated failure to maintain such records may result in the repayment of amounts previously received.

Contact us

For further information, please contact us:

Department of Canadian Heritage
Innovation Unit, Sport Canada
15 Eddy St
Gatineau QC  J8X 4B3

Email
SportCanadaInnovation@pch.gc.ca
Telephone
819-997-0055
1-866-811-0055 (toll-free)
TTY
1-888-997-3123 (for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired)

Agents are available to answer your questions Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (ET).

Regional offices of the Department of Canadian Heritage

Glossary

Audited financial report
An audited financial report includes a statement of operations for the given period with regard to the Project and is prepared by a certified accountant who is not part of your organization.
Audited financial statements
A complete set of financial statements including a statement of financial position; a statement of operations; and a statement of changes in financial position. Audited financial statements are completed by a certified accountant who is not part of your organization. The certified accountant performs auditing activities in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
Final report
A final report is submitted at the end of your project based on the requirements in the funding agreement. Your final report needs to provide the results of the activities you have undertaken for the duration of your project.
Indigenous communities
Indigenous communities are First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.
Interim reports

Interim reports are submitted during your project based on the requirements in the funding agreement.

These reports indicate the results of the activities undertaken for a specific period. In addition, they include a status report on the work to be accomplished and updated revenue and expense reports.

Official-Language Minority Communities
The official-language minority communities are the Anglophone communities residing in Quebec and the Francophone communities residing outside of Quebec.
Sport
Sport pertains to any form of competitive physical activity or event that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants.

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