Canada Digital Adoption Program

Program Guide

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Program Guide

Program Overview

 
The way Canadians do business has changed. Companies, employees and customers are doing more and more business online, which is why the Government of Canada is committed to helping businesses adopt new digital technologies to stay competitive and meet their customers’ needs.

In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada announced the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) to support Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Grow Your Business Online Program is one part of CDAP

CDAP will help SMEs boost their e-commerce presence and digitize how they run their businesses behind the scenes. The program provides funding and expertise to businesses, as well as training and work opportunities for young Canadians as E-Commerce Advisors.

Program Scope

The Grow Your Business Online Program will help up to 90,000 small businesses, that haven’t yet adopted digital technologies, take advantage of e-commerce opportunities across Canada. 

Eligible businesses will receive micro-grants of up to $2,400 to help with the costs related to adopting digital technologies, as well as support and advice from a network of E-Commerce Advisors.

Grow Your Business Online will support a network of more than 11,000 E-Commerce Advisors across the country. E-Commerce Advisors will have the opportunity to work with local small businesses to assess their digital needs and help them develop their e-commerce strategies and deploy new digital technologies.

In BC, a minimum of 12% of the micro-grants to small businesses and funding for E-Commerce Advisors will be reserved for equity-deserving groups and businesses operating outside of the Greater Vancouver area.

Application Assessment

Applications will be assessed based on the criteria set out in this document. 

Application Support/Contact Information

If you have a question, support is available from Alacrity Canada. Support can be provided in both English and French at this time. Please contact Alacrity Canada by email: cdap@alacritycanada.com or phone: 1 (778) 400-1808.

Escalation Process

  1. All complaints must be made in writing.
  2. When a concern arises, first contact our team by email: cdap@alacritycanada.com, if unsatisfied with the outcome, please submit a written complaint as stated below.
  3. Provide the written complaint to the Project Manager who is responsible for making determinations in respect of complaints. If the Project Manager is absent or is named in a complaint, the complaint will be directed to the Operations Manager.
  4. The Project Manager will reach out to discuss the concern as soon as possible and within five business days of receiving the written complaint.
  5. Following the meeting, the Project Manager will conduct whatever enquiries and/or investigations are necessary and provide a written response that includes reasons for the determination of the complaint. 
  6. Written reasons for the determination will be provided within 20 days after the date on which the complaint was made. If not satisfied with the determination of the Project Manager please advise within five business days of being informed of the determination. The Project Manager will immediately refer the matter to the Operations Manager who will review the matter. If the dispute is the concern of the grant structure, an Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Government representative may  be involved in the resolution.
  7. The business owner or E-Commerce Advisor making the complaint may be represented by an agent or a lawyer.

Details for Small Business Recipients:

1) Program Scope

In BC, the Grow Your Business Online Program administered by Alacrity Canada will support up to 7070 small businesses that haven’t adopted digital technologies, to take advantage of e-commerce opportunities. 

Eligible businesses will receive micro-grants of up to $2,400 to help with the costs related to adopting digital technologies (i.e. software, technology infrastructure, cybersecurity, platform subscriptions and licences), as well as support and advice from a network of E-Commerce Advisors.

2) Applicant Eligibility – Small Business

Business applicants must meet all of the following eligibility criteria: 

  • A for-profit business (including for profit social enterprises and cooperatives)
  • A registered or incorporated business
  • A consumer-facing business
  • A business that can be accessed by customers or provides in person services to customers
  • A business with a minimum of one employee (other than the business owner)
  • The business’s sole or primary operations are located in B.C

3) We will ask Small Business applicants to provide the following:

  • Business and Owners contact information
  • One of the following:
    • A government document that confirms the business (i.e. incorporation or registration documents, CRA business number, operating/business license,); or
    • Federal Business Number
    • GST/HST number; or
    • (Indigenous businesses only) Proof of business registration with a Band Council
  • A government document that confirms the payment of Payroll Source Deductions paid (the employee must have been working at the business for at least three (3) months)
  • Industry type and NAICS code
  • Number of years in business
  • Proposal how funds will be used against the eligible cost categories (outlined in the Eligible Costs section below)

4) Ineligible Small Businesses include:

  • Corporate chains, franchises, or registered charities
  • Representatives of multi-level marketing companies
  • Real estate brokerages and sales agents

5) Application Overview & Timelines

Grants will be awarded in the order received. 

The application form must be submitted and approved by Alacrity Canada before the project begins. Meeting the program intake criteria does not guarantee that the application will be approved for funding. Applicants must ensure that the application form and all required information and attachments are completed and submitted. An incomplete application cannot be approved to receive a grant.

Guide for proposal: current online solution / desired outcome from the grant funds / does your proposal match the eligibility requirements? 

The program application has following steps:

Step 1: Complete the online application, demonstrating that you meet the eligibility criteria, provide required documents and submit your proposal for the implementation or improvement of digital technologies.

Step 2: Alacrity Canada will review submitted and complete applications against eligibility criteria. Applicants will be contacted within 2 weeks with an update of their application. 

Step 3: Applicants that meet the eligibility criteria will be conditionally approved for the program and will receive a grant letter along with their grant agreement. 

Step 4: Once the applicant signs the grant agreement, they will be approved into the program.

Step 5: Approved applicants are then matched with E-Commerce Advisors to facilitate implementing their e-Commerce proposal.

6) Awarding of Funding

Approval of funding to successful applicants will be conditional upon the terms and conditions set out in the grant letter. Following project start date, the business must submit to Alacrity Canada the expense summary report along with receipts and/or invoice copies, with proof of payment, for all eligible project related expenses within 90 days. 

General Conditions: 

  • Funding agreements will require the applicant to follow program guidelines and requirements, including submitting final reports and financial reporting documents. 
  • Funds will be reimbursed upon review of receipts and/or invoice copies, with proof of payment.
  • Small Business Recipients must commit to maintaining the digital adoption strategy for 6 months post intervention.
  • A business will be required to consent to participating in follow-up surveys, having their information shared with the Government of Canada (ISED and Statistics Canada), and having the name of their business published as a recipient of funding.

7) E-Commerce Advisors

  • E-Commerce Advisors will be available, at no cost to the business, to review current digital strategy and requirements, provide a recommendation on strategies for digital marketing, social media, SEO, paid advertising, and analytics to help you determine the best options for your business.
  • A dedicated Alacrity Liaison will be assigned to manage all aspects of the E-Commerce Advisor assignments to the business, answer questions and resolve concerns should they arise.
  • E-Commerce Advisors will spend up to 30 hours working with each business on assessment, recommendation and some implementation of the solutions.
  • While the services of the E-Commerce Advisor are not mandatory, it is highly recommended that small businesses take advantage of this service to help ensure that they make an informed decision.

Eligible/Ineligible Expenses

Alacrity Canada will assess the eligibility of costs. 

Eligible Expenses (Costs)

All eligible costs must be directly tied to the sale of goods and services online (i.e. online reservations/ordering or chatbot function on website), and you will need to clearly outline this in your application.

  • Costs related to the implementation or improvement of a digital e-commerce plan (i.e. online reservation/booking tools, online ordering systems, electronic payments)
  • Costs related to website search optimization
    Note: plan cannot be used solely for SEO, it needs to be tied to the overall e-commerce implementation plan, and not a standalone item.
  • Costs related to the installation of an e-commerce platform (including subscription fees/costs)
  • Costs of back-office solutions to support an e-commerce strategy (i.e., an e-commerce solution that allows for full integration between the storefront and back-office processes. like inventory management, order fulfillment and distribution)
  • Costs of social media, advertising & marketing
    Note: plan cannot be used solely for marketing purposes, it needs to be tied to the overall e-commerce implementation plan, and not a standalone item.
  • Costs related to the creation of customer databases
  • Hiring a consultant/agency to execute Digital Marketing initiatives related to your e-commerce store
  • Development of a new e-commerce website
  • Upgrading existing e-commerce site for added functionality (i.e. new plugins, or features)
    Note: redesign of an existing website is not eligible
  • E-commerce software including:
      • Software to track and manage product inventory, as well as fulfill and ship orders,
      • Software for product databases
      • Software to track sales, market to customers, offer discounts, maintain a loyalty programs
      • Software to simplify marketing
      • Cyber Security software or certifications
        Note: all software must be directly tied to the selling of goods and services online, and you will need to clearly outline this in your submitted plan.
  • Hardware and accompanying software up to 20% of total grant amount
    Note: All hardware and software must be directly tied to the selling of goods and services online, and you will need to clearly outline this in your submitted plan. (As for examples of limited coverage for software, it would be any software that is bought with the equipment that is required to support an e-commerce strategy. For instance, if a small business buys a new e-commerce integrated point of sale (POS) system that costs $1,300 (including software), CDAP will cover 20% or $260.)

Ineligible Expenses

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

  • Costs of connectivity
  • Costs related to the shipping of goods purchased through the e-commerce platform
  • Purchases made prior to grant approval
  • Renewal of digital services such as domain name, software subscription etc. (This includes existing eCommerce subscriptions) 
  • Signage and printing
  • Logo redesign and rebranding
  • Business Owner’s salary or current employee salary for executing the project
  • Costs of land, building or vehicle purchase
  • Costs of intangible assets such as goodwill, whether capitalized or expensed
  • Depreciation or amortization expenses
  • Interest on invested capital, bonds, or debentures
  • Bond discount
  • Monthly mortgage, loan and/or rent payments
  • Refinancing an existing debt
  • Losses on investments, bad debts, and any other debts
  • Fines or penalties
  • Costs related to litigation
  • Fees for administrators including payments to any member or officer of the Recipient’s Board of Directors
  • Opportunity costs
  • Hospitality and entertainment costs
  • Franchise fees and/or franchise license costs
  • Lobbyist fees
  • New capital expenditure
  • Consulting fees for submission of CDAP application or any costs not related to the acquisition or set up of technology solution

    Expenses Report Assessment and Audits

    At the completion of your project you will provide invoices, along with proof of payment and will be reimbursed for eligible expenses by electronic funds transfer (EFT). Alacrity Canada will assess submitted expenses against eligible criteria for approval to determine final grant amount.

    The Government of Canada retains the right to audit.

    Final Reporting Requirements

    • Recipients must commit to maintain digital adoption strategy for 6 months post intervention 
    • A business will be required to consent to participating in follow-up surveys, having their information shared with the Government of Canada (ISED and Statistics Canada), and having the name of their business published as a recipient of funding.

    Details for E-Commerce Advisors:

    Program Scope

    In B.C., the Grow Your Business Online Program administered by Alacrity Canada will support up to 878 E-Commerce Advisors, and will hire, train, mentor, and deploy students as E-Commerce Advisors to support participating small BC businesses that require guidance to build their e-commerce and digital capabilities.

    E-Commerce Advisors will receive training to understand the Grow Your Business Online Program, learn the capabilities of several e-commerce solutions and related tools, understand the basics of cyber security, develop communication skills and determine individual business needs and values.
    The students will act as E-Commerce Advisors to small businesses that require guidance to build their e-commerce and digital capabilities. E-Commerce Advisors will be temporarily employed with Alacrity Canada for the duration of the training and placements to small businesses.

    Applicant Eligibility — E-Commerce Advisors

    Applicants who have graduated from high school and are planning on pursuing a post-secondary education; or currently pursuing post-secondary education; or has recently graduated from a post-secondary institution, must meet all the following eligibility criteria:

    • be a Canadian Citizen, permanent resident, or person on whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
    • be legally entitled to work according to the relevant provincial/territorial legislation and regulations; and
    • have a valid Social Insurance Number at the start of employment.

    We will ask applicants to provide the following:

    • Social Insurance Number
    • Current enrolment status (high school graduate, Student or Recent Graduate)
    • Supporting documentation for completed education (diploma, GED, certificate, degree, etc.)

    Application Overview & Timelines

     Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received. 

    The application form must be submitted and approved by Alacrity Canada before the employment begins. Meeting the program intake criteria does not guarantee that application will be approved. Applicants must ensure that the application form and all required information and supporting documents are completed and submitted. An incomplete application cannot be approved.

    The E-Commerce Advisors program application steps:

    Step 1: Complete the online application demonstrating that you meet the eligibility criteria for E-Commerce Advisors. 

    Step 2: Alacrity Canada will review submitted and complete applications against eligibility criteria. Applicants will be contacted within 2 weeks with an update of their application.

    Step 3: Students that meet the eligibility criteria will be conditionally approved to the program. They will be contacted with a letter of employment and will also be asked to provide further onboarding documentation demonstrating eligibility requirements, complete a background check, and return necessary tax documentation to proceed with employment by Alacrity Canada.

    Step 4: At final approval, an employee agreement will be issued to the applicant by Alacrity Canada for signatures.

    Step 5: Once onboarding has been completed, E-Commerce Advisors will complete a training program through Alacrity Canada to learn the necessary e-commerce and digital marketing skills required to support small businesses through a work placement.

    Step 6: Students will be assigned by the Alacrity Liaison to work directly with small businesses to assist them with their digital technology adoption. 

    Expectations:

    • Be available between 20 up to 40 hours per week for a total of 340 hours. Special arrangements are made for co-op students. All hours are subject to approval by Alacrity and will reach out should any hours be in question.
    • Complete the self-led training program (20 hours) with a minimum score of 80%.
    • Work with assigned businesses to review their current digital strategy, gather requirements and provide a written recommendation.
    • Assist in the implementation or improvement of digital technologies.
    • Complete required reporting weekly and at the end of each assignment.

    Contact Information

    If you have a question, support is available from Alacrity Canada. Support can be provided in both English and French at this time. Please contact Alacrity Canada by email: cdap@alacritycanada.com  or phone:  1 (778) 400-1808.

     Where do I apply? 

    Alacrity Canada acts as an intermediary for GYOB Program on behalf of the Canadian Government. Should you apply through us, we’ll be leading you through your studies.