How it Works

A. Program Overview

The partnership between the Automotive Parts Manufacturer’s Association (APMA), the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development and Growth (MEDG) supports the auto parts sector in adopting industry leading software, hardware and/or provide training to improve processes and increase the competitiveness of the industry in Ontario. 

Through Automotive Supplier Competitive Improvement Program (ASCIP), small and medium sized automotive suppliers, or large companies partnering with small or medium sized automotive suppliers, can apply for to up to $100,000 in project funding. 

ASCIP will fund projects across two streams:

Stream 1 – Technology Adoption

  • Stream 1 will provide grants to Ontario-based small and medium-sized auto parts supplier firms that conduct projects to advance product life cycle management and improve competitiveness through adoption of advanced hardware, software and/or training.
  • OCE will contract with a company and reimburse up to 50 per cent of the total eligible project costs, or up to $100,000 per project, whichever is lower, with the company funding the remainder with matching cash contributions.
  • The APMA will provide support to the applicant company by marketing the ASCIP program to its members and support the applicants in developing project proposals.

Stream 2 - Mentorship Pilot Program

  • Stream 2 will provide grants to Ontario-based small and medium-sized auto parts supplier firms that conduct projects to improve operational efficiency and competitiveness through the organizational adoption of lean manufacturing practices.
  • The mentors will be automotive industry experts with background and expertise in lean manufacturing process efficiency to assist suppliers with specific business development needs.  They will be identified in collaboration between the applicant company and APMA, and matched based on project outcomes and overall company goals.
  • The services provided by the mentor will qualify as an eligible cost for selected projects. OCE will contract with a company and reimburse up to 50 per cent of the total eligible project costs, or up to $100,000 per project, whichever is lower, with the company funding the remainder with matching cash contributions.

Program Objectives

Stream 1 – Technology Adoption:

  • Increase suppliers’ capabilities to deliver shorter design cycle times, be more productive, more responsive to market changes and able to take advantage of new business opportunities with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)
  • Support the adoption of specific software and IT solutions that allow companies to manage the entire lifecycle of a product efficiently and cost-effectively
  • Target small and medium suppliers to increase their sourcing capabilities and take up innovation and productivity initiatives to expand success in the growing export markets

Stream 2 – Mentorship Pilot Program:

  • Demonstrate and validate the notion that support from expert and experienced mentors has the potential to lead to material improvements at leading supplier facilities, which will contribute to building a case for an expanded mentorship program in the future
  • Applicants will be able to engage qualified lean manufacturing professionals to review current production capabilities and identify where manufacturing issues, such as bottlenecks and other inefficiencies, exist

Note: Applicants may only apply to one stream, and may only receiving funding for one project during the lifetime of the program.

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B. How Funding Works

  • Projects of any size can be proposed for funding – ASCIP funding will cover up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs up $100,000
  • Approximately 40 projects will be funded across the program’s two year lifetime
  • All projects will be up to 2 years in duration 

Flow of Funds

Successful applicant must execute OCE’s standard Funding Agreement within 30 days of notification of award. A copy of the agreement will be generated through OCE’s online system and sent to successful applicants upon project approval only.

Upon successful execution of the Funding Agreement, 25 per cent of funds will be released directly to the company. The remaining funding will be released to the company on a claims and reimbursement model for eligible expenses. Claims can be made when submitting interim report(s), and the final report, required at the end of the project. More information on reporting in section E. Project Reporting and Claims Requirements.

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C. Eligibility

Eligible Companies

  • Priority:  Small and medium sized Ontario-based enterprises (firms with either fewer than 500 employees globally or global revenues of less than $1 billion)
  • Secondary:  Larger firms are eligible, but must partner with at least one Ontario-based small and medium-sized enterprise
  • At least 50 per cent of the firm’s total sales revenue must come from auto supply sector
  • Only one project per company is allowed for the lifetime of the program

Eligible Projects

  • Stream 1 – Technology Adoption: Eligible projects must focus on advancing product life cycle management and improving competitiveness through the adoption of advanced IT technologies:  hardware, software and/or training.
  • Stream 2 – Mentorship Pilot Program: Eligible projects must focus on operational efficiency and competitiveness improvements. Adoption of advanced IT technologies may be included as part of the project overall scope.

Eligible Expenses

Refer to the Eligible Expenses Guide for full details.

NOTE: When completing the Budget Table in your online application, please note that no more than 25% of OCE funds can be used towards "Salaries and Benefits”.

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D. Evaluation and Project Activation

Selection Criteria

Projects will be assessed and scored against program objectives and the following assessment criteria:

  • Stream 1: Product lifecycle management advancements through IT ( software and hardware) adoption and/or training
  • Stream 2: Improved operational efficiency and competitiveness through adoption of lean manufacturing practices
  • Stream 1 & 2:
    • Ability to achieve the expected results, as demonstrated by the feasibility, clarity and specificity of the project plan
    • Applicants’ capabilities and commitment

Sample Proposal Questions can be found for Stream 1 and Stream 2.

Application Process and Decision Making

This is a discretionary, non-entitlement program with limited funding. All eligible projects will be assessed on their merit and undergo a fair and transparent review process, where the applications are assessed against program objectives and assessment criteria.

Applications will be accepted during intake periods (schedule below in Section F: How to Apply) and submitted to OCE using the AccessOCE application portal.  APMA will work with applicants on application preparation and submission.

Smaller projects (up to $50,000 from ASCIP funds)

Following confirmation by OCE of application completeness and financial compliance, applications will undergo an on-line review by two external domain experts from OCE’s College of Reviewers (COR) and one from the Province, who will assess the project against program objectives and assessment criteria. Reviewers will make funding recommendations to OCE. 

Larger Projects ($50,000 to $100,000 from ASCIP funds)

Following confirmation by OCE of application completeness and financial compliance, applications will undergo a two-stage review process:

  • Initial online assessment will be done by members of the External Review Panel (ERP), where the project will be assessed and scored against program objectives and assessment criteria. The ERP will be comprised of external domain experts, APMA and the Province.
  • Only those applications that achieve the required scoring threshold will be invited to proceed to a presentation to the ERP.  The ERP will review the submitted application and presentation and make a funding recommendation to OCE. Final funding decisions rest with OCE.

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E. Project Reporting and Claims Requirements

1. Interim Progress and Claim Report(s)

Interim report(s), including progress, proof of expenditures, financial attestation, and a request for reimbursement may be submitted up to twice per fiscal year.

Copies of detailed reporting instructions will be sent to successful Clients at the time of contracting. The report must be received and approved by OCE prior to release of funds for eligible claims.

NoteApplicants MUST retain all proof of purchases, receipts, and other relevant documentation relating to eligible expenses. These should be included in the Interim Progress and Claim Report.

2. Final Results and Claim Report

A final report, including progress, proof of expenditures, financial attestation, and a request for reimbursement, will be required at the end of the project. Forty-five days prior to the scheduled completion date, the Client will receive an email notification of the project end date from the AccessOCE system, with a link to the Final Progress and Claim Report should the Client wish to begin entering data.

  • If a project extension is required, the Client MUST request it using the Project Administration tab in their AccessOCE project file. Extension requests must be made before the project end date.
  • On the scheduled project completion date, the Client will receive another notification and a link to complete the Final Project Progress and Claim Report from OCE’s AccessOCE system.
  • All required final reports by all Clients must be submitted within 30 days of project completion in order to be reimbursed for eligible expenses and maintain good financial standing with OCE.
  • If early reporting is required, the Client MAY request it by emailing OCE Project Administration, project-administration@oce.zendesk.com.

3. Metrics Survey

If the project continues past a fiscal year end (March 31), the Client will be required to complete an annual metrics survey each April, for the part of the project that has been completed since the previous March 31. This annual report is mandatory for OCE to fulfil its contract with its funders. Required metrics reports from all Clients must be submitted in order to maintain good financial standing with OCE.

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F. How to Apply

Prior to initiating the application, representatives from APMA will work closely with the company to assess the company’s eligibility and potential fit with program objectives. 

Only companies that are eligible and fit with program objectives will be invited to initiate an application.

Full applications must be submitted in OCE’s online application system, AccessOCE. Prior to submission, applicants MUST first request their OCE Business Development Manager (BD) to provide an endorsement of the application for eligibility and suitability. Once the endorsement is provided, the applicant or BD will then be able to submit the application.

Please allow at least one week prior to the application submission deadline for the BD endorsement step to be completed. Applications initiated less than one week prior to the deadline MAY NOT have sufficient time for a BD to support the application and provide an endorsement.

Stream/Round Intake Deadline Presentation (applicants requesting over $50K) 
Stream 1, Round 1 2 pm, April 27, 2017  May 31, 2017
Stream 1, Round 2
2 pm, November 7, 2017  December 19, 2017

To initiate an application, please send an email to Warren Ali, Director of Emerging Technologies Initiatives, APMA, wali@apma.ca, with the subject heading: ASCIP Application Initiation.

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G. FAQ

Please review OCE's Program FAQ.

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I. Contact

For general inquiries about eligibility and initiating an application, please contact Warren Ali, Director of Emerging Technologies Initiatives, APMA, wali@apma.ca.

For inquiries specifically related to navigating the online application system, please contact Application Support Team, at 416-861-1092 ext. 2400 or application-support@oce.zendesk.com.

For inquiries specifically related to contracting and funding claims, please contact Sam Saad, Program Manager, at 416-861-1092 ext. 1097 or sam.saad@oce-ontario.org.

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