Climate Action Fund: applicant guide

1.0 Purpose

This applicant guide provides information and requirements needed for applicants to apply for federal funding under the Climate Action Fund.

Please read this guide carefully before submitting an application form.

2.0 About the program

2.1 The Climate Action Fund

The Climate Action Fund will provide up to $3 million in funding to increase action and awareness on climate change and climate change initiatives driven by, or in support of students, youth, Indigenous peoples and organizations, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

2.2 Program objectives and outcomes

The objective of the Climate Action Fund is to contribute to increased action and awareness on climate change. This will be achieved by supporting projects which contribute to the following outcomes:

  • Canadians are more aware of action towards climate change
  • Indigenous peoples and organizations are engaged on clean growth and climate change initiatives
  • youth and students are engaged on clean growth and climate change initiatives   
  • increased awareness and engagement on climate change advances, and increased capacity and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • increased awareness and engagement on climate change advances, and increased capacity and action on climate change adaptation

3.0 Eligibility

3.1 Mandatory eligibility criteria

Applications must meet the following mandatory eligibility criteria:

  • the applicant must be an eligible recipient (see Section 3.2 – Eligible recipients)
  • the project must be an eligible activity (see Section 3.3 – Types of eligible activities)
  • the project must support climate action and awareness activities driven by, or in support of,  youth, students, Indigenous peoples and organizations, and SMEs
  • the project must contribute to a minimum of one outcome (see Section 2.2 – Program objectives and outcomes)  
  • the project must be completed within two fiscal years
    • a fiscal year is defined as the period from April 1 to March 31
    • projects must start in the current fiscal year and the project duration cannot exceed two fiscal years
    • for example, if your project start date is September 15, 2018, the project end date can be no later than March 31, 2020
  • the amount requested from Environment and Climate Change Canada is equal to or less than $500,000 (or $200,000 if you are a for-profit entity, see Section 5.1 – Funding levels)

3.2 Eligible recipients

The Climate Action Fund supports projects undertaken by the following eligible recipients:

  • full-time Canadian students, including undergraduate, graduate, or post-doctoral students registered at Canadian colleges or universities
  • Canadian youth between the ages of 15 and 30 (inclusive)
  • research, academic and educational institutions
  • Indigenous peoples and organizations
  • Canadian small and medium businesses with less than 500 employees
  • industry and/or trade associations
  • Canadian not-for-profit organizations, such as non-governmental organizations, professional, industry, community, and student/youth clubs or associations.

3.3 Eligible activities

Activities

Description

Examples of Projects (for illustrative purposes only)

Education, training, and tools 

Activities that support increased awareness and understanding of climate change which can be disseminated and/or offered through educational or training programs, or tools that can be used by Canadians to support climate action.

Development of training program offered to educate participants on climate change impacts and actions.

 

Developing curriculum materials for schools on-reserve that teach students about climate change impacts.

 

Traditional knowledge studies related to climate change impacts.

Outreach and promotion

Activities to raise awareness on climate change amongst eligible recipients, including activities that involve international audiences.

Hosting a community gathering on climate change.

 

Hosting information sessions to present information on energy efficiency best practices.

Networking and partnering

Activities that promote collaboration with the objective of increasing awareness on climate change.

Creating partnerships to support collective climate action or engagement in national or international platforms.

 

Participation in, or creation of, mentorship program to build capacity for installing or maintaining a renewable energy project.

 

A project that brings together youth and Elders to share knowledge on climate change impacts.

 

Supporting community efforts to study the impacts of climate change, and create a needs assessment of emergency management plan.

3.4 Ineligible activities

 Ineligible activities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • activities which result in a direct personal benefit to the applicant (e.g. installing energy efficiency improvements or energy generating products on homes or businesses or retrofitting equipment or machinery for personal use)
  • ongoing programs and activities
  • activities required by law and/or mandated by all levels of government or in relation to the enforcement of, or compliance with, by-laws in effect
  • projects focused primarily on the purchase, or installation of, capital assets or equipment
  • projects designed only to beautify an area
  • incentives and rebates
  • lobbying, advocacy or fundraising activities (or that can be perceived as such)
  • further disbursement of funds to a third party recipient

4.0 Application and project selection process

4.1 Call for proposals

Consult the Key dates section of the Climate Action Fund webpage.

4.2 How to apply

Applicants should review the eligibility criteria in Section 3.1 – Mandatory Eligibility Criteria prior to submitting an application. The application form includes instructions to assist applicants to complete an application.

Applicants may contact Environment and Climate Change Canada by email (ec.facsoumissions-cafsubmissions.ec@canada.ca) if they require clarification or information on any elements of the program or application process. Applicants may also refer to the “Frequently Asked Questions” section on the Climate Action Fund webpage for additional information.

All applicants must submit an application form in order to be considered for funding. Applicants must clearly demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria in Section 3.1 – Mandatory Eligibility Criteria. Detailed instructions to guide applicants on how to prepare and complete an application can be found in the application form.

4.3 Project selection

Environment and Climate Change Canada will review proposals as submitted and will not contact applicants for further information. The onus is on the applicant to provide clear, comprehensive and accurate information.

Proposals will be assessed and ranked based on a combination of factors, including, but not limited to:

  • completeness and quality of application (application and related instructions)
  • satisfaction of eligibility requirements (Section 3.1 – Mandatory eligibility criteria)
  • clearly defined need for the project and how it will achieve program goals and objectives  (Section 2.2 – Program objectives and outcomes)
  • feasibility and quality of work plan and budget
  • clear and measurable expected results (See Appendix A: Program evaluation - performance measurement)
  • demonstrated value for money
  • effectiveness of communications plan in maximizing climate change participation and awareness
  • application of innovative and/or novel concepts or delivery approaches, if applicable

4.4 Communicating funding decision

Environment and Climate Change Canada will assess all submitted projects for funding and select successful projects by fall 2018.  All applicants will be notified of the final decision.

Successful applicants will be provided information on the funding amount and next steps.

Unsuccessful projects will be kept on file and may be re-considered based on their ranking, if additional funding becomes available at a later date within this fiscal year.

Please note that decisions regarding eligibility and funding amounts are final. Environment and Climate Change Canada may disburse funding as a grant or as a contribution.

Grants are unconditional transfer payments that the Government provides to individuals or organizations for activities that meet eligibility criteria set by the funding program.

Contributions are similar to grants, except that, in order to receive funding and be reimbursed for specific costs, recipients need to meet certain performance conditions. The government can also audit the recipients' use of funding.

4.5 Funding agreements

Federal contributions to selected projects are contingent on the signing of a funding agreement between Environment and Climate Change Canada and the recipient within 30 business days of the notification of approval. Otherwise, the federal funding may be cancelled. The agreement will outline the terms and conditions according to which federal funding will be provided.

5.0 Funding parameters

5.1 Funding levels

The maximum federal contribution per project will be no greater than $500,000, with the exception of for-profit entities, for which the maximum federal contribution per project will be no greater than $200,000. There are no prescribed minimum funding levels.

For projects which span two consecutive fiscal years, requested Environment and Climate Change Canada funding should, at a minimum, be allocated as follows:

  • minimum of 80% of total funding requested allocated to the first fiscal year of the project
  • maximum of 20% of total funding requested allocated to the second fiscal year of the project

For example, a project seeking funding of $100,000 must allocate a minimum of $80,000 in the first fiscal year and a maximum of $20,000 in the second fiscal year.

5.2 Other funding sources

The maximum level of total Canadian government assistance (federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal assistance for the same eligible expenditures) cannot exceed 100% of the total eligible expenditures of a project.

Funding from Canadian government sources cannot be used where the total funding from all funding sources exceeds the total cost of the project.

Applicants will be required to disclose all anticipated funding sources (Canadian and non-Canadian) of the project, including in-kind contributions from other Canadian government sources.

5.3 Eligible expenditure period

Incurred costs may be considered eligible for reimbursement as of the date the applicant is notified of project approval in writing by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

Payments can only be reimbursed by ECCC after the signing of a funding agreement between ECCC and the successful eligible recipient.  Only those expenditures described in the agreement will be considered for reimbursement by ECCC.

Payments for eligible expenditures may be issued subject to the achievement of defined milestones, upon project completion, or based on submitted invoices. Payment details will be included in the Funding Agreement between ECCC and successful applicants.

5.4 Eligible expenditures

The eligible expenditures may include:

  • salaries and benefits required to undertake project activities
  • contractors, management and professional services, including venue and conference expenses
  • equipment rentals
  • communications activities, including printing and distribution
  • material and supplies costs
  • hospitality costs
  • travel expenditures (including the cost of accommodations, vehicle rental and kilometric rates, bus, train, airplane or taxi fares, allowances for meals and incidentals)
  • administrative costs, such as monitoring and reporting activities
  • other costs that are, in the opinion of Environment and Climate Change Canada, considered to be direct, reasonable and necessary for the successful implementation of the project and have been approved in writing by Environment and Climate Change Canada, prior to being incurred

5.5 Ineligible expenditures

The ineligible expenditures include:

  • costs incurred outside the eligible expenditure period, including those for preparing the  application
  • costs incurred for cancelled projects
  • land costs (acquisition, leasing, property taxes)
  • lobbyist fees
  • legal fees
  • financing charges and interest payments on loans
  • expenditures for provincial sales tax, goods and services tax, and harmonized sales tax for which the recipient is eligible for a rebate, and any other costs eligible for rebates
  • any goods and services costs which are received through donations or in-kind

6.0 Reporting requirements

Successful applicants will be required to report on progress and prepare, at a minimum, annual reports that provide details about project implementation and the progress towards the identified milestones and expected results. Additional reporting requirements may be outlined in the funding agreements between Environment and Climate Change Canada and successful applicants.

7.0 Service standards

A service standard is a public commitment to a measurable level of performance that applicants can expect under normal circumstances. Environment and Climate Change Canada has set the following service standards for the timely review and assessment of Climate Action Fund project proposals under normal circumstances:

Service Standard

General acknowledgement of receipt of application

Within 5 business days of receipt of application

Review, assessment and determination

Within 45 business days of the deadline to submit

Notification of approval/rejection of funding

Within 5 business days of final funding decision by Environment and Climate Change Canada

Signing of funding agreement

Within 30 business days of notification of successful application

8.0 Confidentiality

All information provided by applicants in an application, including supporting documentation is collected by Environment and Climate Change Canada solely for the purpose of the Climate Action Fund, under the authority of the Department of the Environment Act, and will be treated in accordance with the Federal Government’s Access to Information Act, Privacy Act and Library and Archives Canada Act. These laws govern the retention, use and disclosure of personal and confidential information by Federal Government institutions. It is important that the applicant clearly identifies and labels any proprietary data, commercially sensitive information and potentially valuable results or ideas submitted to Environment and Climate Change Canada in connection with the application.

The Climate Action Fund collaborates with other federal climate change programs. In submitting an application, the applicant consents to the sharing of all the information by Environment and Climate Change Canada with other federal and provincial government institutions and, subject to confidentiality agreements, to its disclosure by Environment and Climate Change Canada to selected external experts (e.g., scientific, technical, financial, marketing, commercialization, credit agencies, etc.) for the purpose of assisting Environment and Climate Change Canada with project review and evaluation and/or to determine eligibility under other federal government programs.

9.0 Official language 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 or in your funding agreement.

Appendix A: Program evaluation - performance measurement

Applicants are required to clearly identify which program outcomes they will contribute to and the targets the project will be measured against.

Program Outcome Indicator(s) Target Source of data Data collection frequency
Canadians are more aware of action towards climate change

number of people participating in climate action (e.g. number of event participants)

 

 

 

number of people reached (i.e. for social media, can be measured by number of shares, reactions, retweets)

 

 

 

number of media distributions (articles, publications, newspapers, and other publicly available content)

 

 

 

percentage of survey respondents indicating increased awareness on climate change

 

 

 

Indigenous peoples and organizations are engaged on clean growth and climate change initiatives number of Indigenous peoples and/or organizations participating in the initiatives

 

 

 

Youth and students are engaged on clean growth and climate change initiatives

number of youth and/or students reached

 

 

 

number of youth groups, schools or academic institutions reached 

 

 

 

number of youth and/or students participating in the initiative

 

 

 

Increased awareness and engagement on climate change advances, and increased capacity and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

percentage of participants indicating increased awareness and engagement on climate change will lead to action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their business/organization within the next year

 

 

 

number of individuals trained to better understand greenhouse gas impacts associated with their business/organization, and/or trained to implement greenhouse gas emission reduction measures 

 

 

 

number of greenhouse gas emission reduction measures implemented

 

 

 

Increased awareness and engagement on climate change advances, and increased capacity and action on climate change adaptation

percentage of participants indicating increased awareness and engagement on climate change will lead to climate change adaptation action in their business/organization within the next year

 

 

 

number of individuals trained to better understand climate change impacts and risks associated with their business/organization, and/or trained to integrate identified risks into planning and decision-making

 

 

 

number of climate adaptation measures implemented

 

 

 

Of note, other indicators and targets may be acceptable if the applicant can demonstrate that they contribute to the achievement of one or more program outcomes.

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