How it Works
A. Program Overview
Ontario Centres of Excellence (“OCE”) drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario’s global competitiveness. In so doing, OCE help develop the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs, and are a key partner of Ontario industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and government.
A not-for-profit organization, OCE receives operations and program funding from the Ontario government as well as the federal government. We are a proud member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE).
OCE accelerates innovation by supporting collaborative R&D between industry and academia, investing in early-stage commercialization of emerging technologies, fostering youth entrepreneurship, and leading and developing networks around high potential business-led opportunities.
This program is supported by the Ontario government with funds dedicated to projects that drive job creation and economic development, support cleantech innovation, increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Applications are being received from Canadian small and medium enterprises (“SMEs”) who request funding for an innovative technology development and demonstration project for GHG reduction technologies. SMEs are responsible for large amounts of innovation and are a source of many new GHG reduction technologies. The SMEs are required to develop Consortium Partnerships which may include, industrial large emitters, other SMEs and Ontario-based post-secondary academic institutions. The goal is to accelerate commercialization of technologies that benefit Ontario, Canada and globally through GHG reductions, enterprise development, and economic growth.
B. Program Objectives
Applications may be for development and demonstration of innovative technologies in the following strategic investment areas, including and not limited to:
- Industrial Point Source: Technologies in this area involve reducing GHG emissions through more sustainable approaches at industrial production sites.
- Value Chain: Technologies in this area involve reducing GHG emissions through more sustainable approaches through industrial value chain.
- Carbon Capture and Utilization: New and innovative uses of carbon dioxide.
- Examples: Cost effective capture and valorization of CO2 using energy efficient pathways such as sequestration in long lived products such as cement and other building materials or catalytic or biological shifting of CO2 to higher value products like liquid fuels, chemical building blocks for commodity materials etc.
C. How Funding Works
Total Funds Available
The total funding available for projects supported through this Call is up to $6.7 million Canadian Dollars ($CAD) from OCE, subject to the discretion of OCE and the availability of funds.
The following guidelines should be followed when determining the funding to be requested from OCE. OCE’s contribution to the project shall not exceed $1M. The minimum ask from OCE is $500,000. Eligible applicants will be entitled to be reimbursed up to 50% of the total project cost. In other words. The applicant: OCE match should be 1:1.
If the applicant obtains additional government funding for the same project, total government funding of eligible project costs MUST not exceed 75%. Government funding includes OCE, other Canadian government funds (federal, provincial and municipal) and Canadian SR&ED credits generated from project activities. The lead applicant and the partner can provide any combination of funding (cash and in-kind) to address the balance of eligible project costs not covered by the OCE under the condition that 25% of the applicant and partner contribution should be cash.
For information about eligible expenses and costs, please refer to the OCE Eligible Expenses and Cost Instructions document. OCE’s contribution will match a combination of cash and in-kind eligible expenses from the Consortium Partners (Applicant and 3rd Party partners). Eligible expenses, whether cash or in-kind, must be an actual, auditable, at-cost expense incurred in support of the Project by the Applicant and qualifying Consortium partners. For example, lost revenue associated with taking a particular manufacturing line for the purpose of the Project does not qualify as an actual expense.
In-kind contributions from Consortium partners (3rd party partner(s)) are defined as Eligible Expenses for which the Consortium partner has not been compensated or reimbursed. Consortium partners (3rd party partners) may also be reimbursed by the Applicant for their costs provided that no profit is generated, however, these expenses are considered cash costs to the Applicant, not an in-kind contribution. Discounted market rates from Consortium partners do not qualify as an at-cost expense unless the partner can demonstrate (to an auditable standard) that the cost reported is cost-recovery without profit margin.
Note: Applicants must justify the amount of funding requested from OCE. OCE may choose at their sole discretion to award project funding for less than the requested amount.
The maximum project length for projects funded under this Call is three (3) years.
Projects may commence at any time after the date on which the Applicant is notified that the project has been approved by OCE, however, no disbursements will be made prior to execution of the Contribution Agreement with OCE. Project costs incurred prior to receiving notification of OCE’s decision will not be considered eligible as matching funds and will not be eligible for OCE’s contributions. Furthermore, Applicants are advised that project costs incurred prior to execution of the Contribution Agreement will not be reimbursed by OCE in the event that an agreement is not executed.
This Call is directed at Ontario small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Ontario SMEs are defined as organizations incorporated and operating in Canada, having fewer than 500 employees and less than $50 million in annual gross revenue. The Ontario SME must have R&D and or manufacturing operations in Ontario. There are no restrictions on the number of applications that can be submitted by any Applicant. Projects or portions thereof that have received OCE funding are not eligible to receive further funding for the same development. However, Applicants may request support for a new phase of development that builds on and sufficiently advances a previously-funded project.
This Call requires that Applicants form a consortium comprised of the Applicant organization and at least one contractual non-related partner that is providing at-cost contributions to the proposed project. Consortium Partners may include industrial large emitters, other SMEs and Ontario-based post-secondary academic institutions. In-kind contributions by the Consortium are at the discretion of the partners but their expenses must be incurred at cost (i.e., no profit generated through their participation in the project). For example, the lead Applicant could be a Canadian technology developer and the Consortium Partner could be an industrial large emitter in Ontario validating the technology. Consortium partners can represent companies in the future value chain of the technology to be developed and demonstrated.
All projects supported through this funding process must be applicable and well suited for deployment in the province of Ontario. Projects must take place in Ontario and must demonstrate how the proposed project will result in GHG reductions, commercialization and economic growth in Ontario.
Stage of Development
Applicants can apply for development and demonstration projects to advance technologies currently at the stage of Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4-7, as defined below:
Prototype Development: At this stage of development, the technological components have been integrated and the concept has been proven (TRL 4-5). Projects in this category include technology improvement, development of a prototype system and prototype testing in a simulated operational environment.
Field Pilot: At this stage of development, a small-scale prototype system is ready to be field tested in an operational environment (TRL 6). Projects in this category include field testing of prototype units and small-scale field pilots.
Commercial Scale Demonstration: At this stage of development, a prototype system is ready to demonstrate commercial viability (TRL 7). Projects in this category include commercial scale demonstration of actual system prototypes in an operational environment.
E. Evaluation and Assessment
Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
Technology and Innovation
In this category, applications will be evaluated based on the strength of the technology involved, including:
- The scientific basis for the technology;
- How clearly the technology will lead to GHG reductions in Ontario, Canada and globally;
- The expected technology advancement over the course of the project; and
- How innovative the technology or application of technology is.
In this category, applications will be evaluated based on the strength of the project consortium, including existing and potential relationships with technology adopters, customers and other partners. Please note: Consortium Partners may include industrial large emitters, other SMEs and Ontario-based post-secondary academic institutions.
Management and Team Capacity
In this category, applications will be evaluated based on how well suited and committed the project team is to carry out the proposed work, including the management and technical capacity of the Applicant.
Budget and Co‑Funding
In this category, applications will be evaluated based on the budget and financing for the proposed project, including how well developed and realistic the budget is and the Applicant’s ability to obtain financing for the project.
Project Scope and Plan
In this category, applications will be evaluated based on how well developed, achievable and impactful the scope of work and work plan are.
Market and Value Proposition
In this category, applications will be evaluated based on the opportunity for commercialization and market adoption of the technology, including:
- Competitiveness with existing commercial technologies/processes;
- The market size and market value associated with the technology and its products; and
- The commercialization plan and expected pathway for commercial deployment and market adoption in Ontario and Canada, with deployment priority in Ontario.
GHG Reduction Potential
In this category, applications will be evaluated based on the potential to deliver significant and sustainable reductions, including:
- The reductions per unit of technology output/throughput;
- The immediate emissions reductions upon project completion;
- The reductions that would result from commercial-scale deployment of the proposed technology in Ontario; and
- The broader potential for emissions reductions throughout Ontario, Canada, and the rest of the world from widespread adoption of the proposed technology.
In addition to the evaluation criteria described above, projects may be screened out based on one or more of the following factors:
- The proposed development does not have sufficient GHG emission reduction, enterprise development or economic growth potential in Ontario;
- The proposed development carries the risk of detrimental side effects (e.g. environmental impacts);
- Failure to provide sufficient information for a proper evaluation;
- The application is not written in English or French, is not sufficiently comprehensible or easy to read;
- The application does not conform to the submission standards (see Section 3.3);
- The proposed project is inconsistent with the intent of this Call; and/or
- The project is not innovative or is assessed to be business as usual.
Note on Economic Benefits and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions
Applicants must demonstrate how the proposed project will lead to economic growth, commercialization and GHG emissions reductions. All projects will ultimately be evaluated based on their potential to result in significant, sustainable emission reductions and economic growth in the province of Ontario through commercialization activities. Preference will be given to applications with broad deployment and growth potential, including global expansion opportunities.
Funded projects will be required to report on emissions reductions and enterprise growth resulting from the project.
Note on Proposal Quality
This is a highly-competitive process and not all projects will be shortlisted. Successful applications depend on the quality of the application submitted. Only the highest quality applications will be funded. In this regard, “quality” means both the quality of the proposed project relative to the evaluation criteria and the quality of the written proposal (clarity, completeness, etc.).
F. Reporting Requirements
All projects are required to comply with progress, annual, metrics and post- completion reporting. This includes reporting against milestones and reporting on the use funds. Templates will be provided by OCE.
G. How to Apply
Please contact your local Business Development Manager for information on the online application submission deadline. Applicants are encouraged to complete their submissions well in advance of the deadline. Furthermore, OCE will not accept partial or incomplete submissions.
Applicants may initiate an online application in the AccessOCE Application Portal (“Portal”) by working with an OCE Business Development Manager. Once an application is initiated, applicants must complete all requisite information requested in the online Portal and upload a completed application form to the module and other content. Applications must be initiated in the Portal 1 week prior to the deadline above. The submission must be finalized by completing all necessary steps in order for the application to be considered complete.
The following timelines are anticipated for the full funding process. Note that OCE at their sole discretion reserve the right to alter or cancel the currently-anticipated process and deadlines.
Online Expression of Interest Submission Deadline
Check with your OCE Business Development Manager
Funding Proposal Due Diligence Visits
Within two weeks of application submission
Funding Proposal to the Investment Committee
Within four weeks of receiving applications
Final Funding Decision Notification
Within six to eight weeks of application submission
Applications must be submitted through AccessOCE, OCE’s online application system, where the application questions must be attached and full submission requirements (including project contacts, summary for public release, classification, budget, milestones and team members) are listed. The application questions are linked for your reference only.
The following checklist is provided as a guideline for Applicants to assemble a high-quality application. This list is intended to complement the screening and evaluation criteria and is provided only for the benefits of Applicants:
- Small- to Medium-Sized Company (less than or equal to 500 employees)
- Canadian Incorporated Company
- High capacity management team
- Experienced advisory team
- Capital raised to date
- Project demonstration in Ontario
- Development work in Ontario
- Market potential for Ontario
- Emission reduction benefits for Ontario, Canada and globally
- Market pull consortium partner(s)
- Technology advantage (disruptive/innovative)
- Technology Readiness Level 3-7 at start of demonstration
- Identified milestones in the demonstration.
- Project funding request up to 66.7% of eligible expenses
- Term for the project of 1-3 years
- Project Budget defined
- Clear Intellectual Property ownership
I. Legal Notice
Intellectual property will be addressed through a Contribution Agreement between OCE and each successful applicant, and will be specific to the circumstances of each project. However, a few general principles apply:
- Background IP (patents, copyright, software) and third-party technology remains with its original owner(s).
- OCE retain rights to the project results, including without limitation the technical data, reports, analysis, and discussion.
- Project technology (based on patent disclosures) developed as a part of the co-funded activities will be owned by the successful Applicant, however, successful Applicants will be expected to use and/or make the technology available through reasonable commercial terms for the benefit of Ontario and Canada.
OCE shall keep confidential all information disclosed to them in the application, except information which:
- Is part of the public domain;
- Becomes part of the public domain other than as a result of a breach of these provisions;
- Either party is required to disclose pursuant to applicable Laws or by a Governmental Authority;
- Can be demonstrated to have been known or available to OCE or independently developed by OCE;
- Was received in good faith from an independent Person who was lawfully in possession of such information free of any obligation of confidence;
- Is aggregated and used publicly for purposes related to statistical analysis and reporting in a manner that does not identify individual Applicants; or
- Is agreed upon by the Applicant to be acceptable for public release, including information provided in sections of the application indicated as non-confidential.
Notwithstanding the above, Applicants hereby acknowledge that the Access to Information Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. A-1) may apply to all information and records provided by the Applicant to OCE and to any information records which are in the custody or under the control of OCE.
By submitting an application ( “Application”) you confirm that you have read, understand and accept the information contained in this Call for Expressions of Interest (“Call”) and, that each of you, the applicant (the “Applicant”) and any project partners, agree as follows:
- Ontario Centres of Excellence (“OCE”) and its partners (collectively the “Funders”) are relying on the information provided in this application guideline and in the application for all purposes relating hereto. The Applicant acknowledges that it has reviewed, and is in compliance with, all applicable terms and conditions as stated within the application guidelines.
- OCE may, at any time, withdraw, suspend, cancel, terminate, amend or alter all or any portion of this Call including, but not limited to, the application requirements, the application selection and review process and the application eligibility criteria.
- OCE reserves the unqualified right to accept or reject any or all applications for any reason. OCE is not required to accept the highest ranked application nor are they required to accept any application recommended for advancement to the Funding Proposal (“FP”) stage by the applicable evaluators.
- The final decision with respect to the projects to be included in the application shortlist rests solely with OCE. The evaluation of applications may be based on, but is not in any way limited to, the criteria set out in this Call. OCE may consider any criteria determined to be relevant to the mandates of OCE, regardless of whether such additional criteria have been disclosed to the Applicant.
- Applications that do not comply with the requirements described in this Call may be rejected in whole or in part or not considered by OCE. OCE reserves the unqualified right to accept or reject a non-compliant application.
- This Call is an invitation only. It is not a funding offer and the submission of an application does not create a contract or agreement of any kind between OCE and the Applicant.
- No conduct, act or omission of OCE, or their directors, officers, consultants, project advisors, agents, servants and their respective successors and assigns (collectively the “Funding Parties”) other than a written notice to the Applicant signed by an authorized person for OCE, will constitute an acceptance of an application.
- Acceptance of an application does not create a binding contract between OCE and the Applicant. OCE shall not be obligated in any manner whatsoever to any Applicant until a written contribution agreement (“Contribution Agreement”) between OCE and the Applicant has been duly executed relating to an approved FP.
- If the Project is accepted for funding, the Project partners will complete an environmental self-assessment to determine if any environmental assessments are required under federal, provincial, territorial or municipal legislation and if it is determined that such an environmental assessment is required, the Applicant shall be responsible for ensuring that such environmental assessments are completed.
- As between the parties, the application and all information, documents and materials submitted to OCE in connection with this Call (collectively, “Applicant Information”) are the exclusive property of OCE immediately upon delivery. For clarity, this refers to the materials themselves, not to any technology or innovations disclosed or discussed in them. Intellectual property developed during the course of the Project will be addressed through the Contribution Agreement and will normally be owned by the Applicant. For further clarity:
- neither the Applicant nor to the knowledge of the Applicant, any Project partner, has paid or agreed to pay either directly or indirectly, any contingency fees for the solicitation, negotiation, or obtaining of OCE funding, to any person including a broker, consultant or advisor. "Contingency fee" means any payment or other compensation that is contingent upon or is calculated upon the basis of a degree of success in soliciting or obtaining OCE funding. It is OCE policy that any applications or proposals that involve the payment of a contingency fee will be rejected.
- each Funder may share Applicant Information with the other Funder, with the Funding Parties, and with other agencies or third parties who are part of the assessment of the application; and the individuals or organizations referred to in the application may be contacted directly by OCE as part of the assessment of the application.
- You, the Applicant and any Project partners, will keep this application and FP confidential and will not use, reproduce or distribute it, any portion of it, or any data, information, drawings or specifications included in or provided with it except as necessary to prepare an application and FP as requested by OCE.
- Neither OCE nor any of the Funding Parties will have any liability whatsoever to you, the Applicant or any Project partners, or any of them, in connection with this Call or any application prepared in response to it.
- You, the Applicant and any Project partners, will not make a claim against OCE or the Funding Parties for any reason whatsoever or howsoever relating to this Call. You are undertaking the expenditures required to prepare and submit an application entirely at your own risk and you waive any right and release OCE and the Funding Parties from any demands, liability, claim or recovery for costs, expenses or damages incurred whatsoever or howsoever arising out of or relating to this Call or any application prepared in response to it, whether such right or claim arises in contract, negligence or otherwise.
- If you, the Applicant, generate revenue from the project or project assets during the project, such revenue must flow back into the Project to offset project costs; under no circumstances can the Applicant or other consortium members or related parties profit from the Project or the Project assets during the project period of funding.
- OCE take no responsibility for the accuracy of the information supplied during this Call by OCE or the Funding Parties.
- The Applicant hereby represents and warrants that:
- there are no actions, suits, investigations or other proceedings pending or, to the knowledge of the undersigned, threatened against the Applicant, the Project or the Project assets, including any intellectual property forming part of the Project and to the best of the undersigned’s knowledge there is no order, judgment or decree of any court or governmental agency which could materially and adversely affect the activities contemplated by the Contribution Agreement to be entered into between OCE and the Applicant and the performance by the Applicant of its duties and obligations under such Contribution Agreement;
- all factual matters contained in the application and Applicant Information are true and accurate, and that all estimates, forecasts and other related matters involving judgment were prepared in good faith and to the best of the Applicant’s ability, skill and judgment;
- the application and Applicant Information does not contain any untrue statement of a material fact nor omit to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements contained herein or therein, in light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading:
- to the best of the Applicant’s knowledge the Applicant:
- has in respect to the Project assessed trade and competition impacts, including compliance with international agreements; and
- the Project complies with all applicable federal, provincial/territorial and municipal legislation.
- Neither OCE nor any of the Funding Parties will have any liability whatsoever or howsoever to any one or more of you, the Applicant and any Project partners, or any of them, in connection with this Call or any application prepared in response to it.
For more information on the TargetGHG Collaborative Technology Development Program, contact:
For general inquiries about the program, such as eligibility, funding, timelines, and the application process:
Manager, Cleantech Portfolio
(416) 861 1092 x1110
For Business Development assistance with identifying partners in Ontario and preparation of applications:
Please contact your OCE Business Development Manager.
Senior Business Development Manager
Regions: Metropolitan Toronto
(416) 861 1092 x2425
Business Development Manager
Regions: Southwestern Ontario
(289) 684 3415
Business Development Manager
Regions: Southwestern Ontario
(416) 861 1092 x6003
Eastern & Northern Ontario
Business Development Manager
Regions: Eastern Ontario, Northern Ontario
(866) 759 6014 x3249
Director, Business Development
Regions: Eastern Ontario, Northern Ontario
(416) 861 1092 x3252