Programs FAQ

Expense Eligibility/Use of funds:

1.  Do I need prior OCE approval if I intend to use OCE fund for trips to conferences outside Canada?

Yes. Travel outside Canada is not an eligible expense for some of OCE programs. Please provide relevant justification such as purpose of the trip, estimated cost, date and destination to avoid delay in the approval of your application. Also, note that your airline ticket must be purchased at the lowest rate available. If you require clarification, please consult OCE prior to submitting your application

2. What percentage of capital expenditure is allowed in a project budget?

There is no allowed percentage. OCE approves capital expenditure on a case-by-case basis and only prorated amounts of the capital expenditure are eligible. Applicants are advised to provide detailed justification for such expenses on an application.

3. What happens if an ineligible expense is charged to a grant?

 This would violate the terms of the executed agreement. OCE will not cover such expenses. Please note that applicants and institutions/companies must complete and sign a use of fund attestation as part of the final report at project completion.

4. Can OCE funds be used to pay for retroactive expenditures incurred prior to approval of the application by OCE?

OCE does not encourage applicants to start charging costs to their projects prior to OCE approval of an application. However, in exceptional cases where there is an urgent need to incur an expenditure before funding is officially approved, but not prior to the date the application is submitted, such expenditure will be allowed provided it was included in the proposal.  Please note that OCE will not assume responsibility for any costs incurred if the application is not approved.

5.  Can OCE funds be used to cover expenses associated with an OCE Discovery event?

No. OCE’s cash contribution to a project is meant to be used toward achieving project milestones and goals.

6.  Are administrative support costs for a Research Finance Accountant on a VIP I project an allowable expense?  

No. Overhead is not an eligible expense for VIP I projects. Please see individual program expenses eligibility for more details.

7.  What are common budget errors and weaknesses?

- Expenses that are deemed ineligible by OCE guideline

- Excessive costs or a budget that appears inflated and contains expenses that are not adequately justified.

- Incomplete information i.e., blanks in the budget or lines left unfilled.

- Use of wrong expense categories and units.

8.  Why do I have to abide by the Broader Public Sector Procurement Directive?

It is a directive enacted in 2010 by the government to provide guidance on accountability and transparency for procurement decisions and processes. All procurement activity that involves the use of public funds must abide by the directive.

Project Funding and Reporting

9. Once my application has been approved by OCE, how long will it be before funds are deposited in our account?

Once the funding agreements are signed by all parties, funds are normally disbursed 10 business days after OCE receives the industry partner’s cash contribution or confirmation of receipt of the industry partner’s cash contribution by the Institution and banking information (where applicable) is supplied to OCE. Please note a project is not activated until the industry funds are received. OCE is not responsible for any cost incurred in the event that the partner withdraws support for the application.

10. If an industry partner remits funds to an institution for a project that has been withdrawn, can the institution use the funds for another project awaiting approval from OCE?

Such a decision will be left to the industry partner. Please note that for certain programs, an industry partner’s cash contribution must be remitted directly to OCE. In a situation where an industry partner’s cash contribution is already with the Institution, OCE requires confirmation of receipt of the contribution from the Institution.

11.  Can OCE make project payments in USD?

OCE remits project payments in Canadian dollars only.

12. Why must an Industry Partner pay HST on a remittance to OCE?

Because OCE is providing a service and there is an expected benefit that accrues to the industry partner (IP or process improvement), OCE is required by Canada Revenue Agency to collect HST on industry contributions. Please note that HST is 100% recoverable by the industry partner as an HST rebate. More information about HST rebate and recovery.

13. Does OCE track the progress of a project once it has been approved?

Yes, but tracking methods vary. Some programs require multiple progress reports and a final report at project completion e.g., VIP II, Market Readiness and all multi-year programs. In other cases such as for VIP I, TalentEdge, SmartStart Seed Fund, only final reports are required. Please note that progress tracking is often related to how the funds are disbursed.

14.  On VIP I and TalentEdge (academic-based) applications, can the industry partner send their cash contribution directly to the institution?

 An industry partner’s cash contribution for VIP I and TalentEdge (academic-based) must be sent directly to OCE. Please note that OCE will invoice the industry partner as soon as the projects are approved and funding agreements must be strictly adhered to.

15.  How will OCE treat a situation where an industry partner has already remitted cash to the institution?

OCE send invoices to the industry partners for their cash contribution as soon as the projects are approved. The industry partner is obligated to forward the cash contribution to OCE as stated on the award letter. If, however, the industry partner’s cash contribution is sent to the institution instead of OCE, it is the responsibility of the industry partner to retrieve the cash from the institution and forward it to OCE. Please note that OCE will not release its funding for a project until the industry partner’s cash has been received.

16. Once my project is completed, do I have to submit reports to OCE?

Yes. Final reports are required for all OCE projects. At the end date of your project, you will receive a message reminding you to complete your final reports. Please note that the release of a final payment is contingent upon receipt of satisfactory final reports and an attestation for the use of funds.

17. Once the applicant has submitted the required final report, how long will it be before the holdback is released?

Holdbacks are released upon satisfactory review of both the applicant’s and industry partner’s (where applicable) final reports and attestation for the use of funds.

Project Extension

18. My project ended a few months ago but I have remaining funds in my budget that I intend to use for activity already budgeted for on the project. Do I require OCE approval? 

Yes. Such a request will require an end-date extension of your project. Please contact the Business Development Manager for your project to request an end-date extension. Please note that this might require an amendment and resubmission of your and your industry partner’s final reports if such reports were already submitted on the earlier project end date.

19. If I want to extend the end date of my project, how should I proceed?

Please send your request to the OCE Business Development Manager in charge of your project.

20.  What are the approval requirements for a project end-date extension and budget re-allocation?

Please contact the OCE Business Development Manager in charge of your project.