Programs FAQ

Expense Eligibility/Use of funds:

1.  Do I need prior Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) approval if I intend to use OCE fund for trips to conferences outside Canada?

Yes, you need Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) approval for this.

Travel outside Canada is not an eligible expense for some OCE programs. Please provide justification for such a trip, including purpose, estimated cost, duration and destination to avoid delays in the processing of your application.

Also, please 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 allowable capital expenditure. OCE approves capital expenditure on a case-by-case basis and only if capital expenditures are eligible per the specific program’s eligible expenses list.

Only prorated amounts of the capital expenditure are eligible (based upon the project duration period relative to useful life of the asset) unless otherwise indicated on the program’s eligible expenses list.

Applicants are advised to provide detailed justification and calculation of prorated amount for such expenses on their application.

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

This would violate the terms of the OCE funding agreement.

OCE will not cover such expenses. Please note that applicants and institutions/companies must complete and sign a use of funds 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?

No, unless indicated otherwise. OCE does not encourage applicants to start charging costs to their projects prior to OCE approval of an application.

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. The OCE 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 Voucher for Innovation and Productivity I (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?

Common budget errors and weaknesses include:

  • Expenses that are deemed ineligible by OCE guidelines
  • 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 incorrect expense categories and units
  • Incorrectly identified or unidentified payees

Project Funding and Reporting

8. 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.

9. 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.

10.  Can OCE make project payments in U.S. dollars?

OCE remits project payments in Canadian dollars only.

11. 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., Voucher for Innovation and Productivity II (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.

12.  For Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (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.

13.  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.

14. 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.