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 Ontario?
Yes, you need Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) approval for travel outside Ontario.
Travel outside Ontario 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 Ontario Centres of Excellence (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 wrong expense categories and units;
- Incorrectly or unidentified payees; or,
- Incomplete or insufficient detail within the Budget Justification section.
To ensure your application has an acceptable budget that adheres to the program eligibility guidelines, it is important to provide an additional description of each expense as follows in the Budget Justification section of your application:
- How each expenditure supports the completion of the project activities and overall objectives.
- For salary and benefit expenses (including in-kind support from company staff in industry-academic projects), the role of the individual in the project, time to be devoted to the project, rate of compensation, and how the total value was calculated. (For reimbursement claim-based projects, time sheets to support the expenditures incurred for this category must be submitted in interim and final project reports.)
- For travel costs: name/role of individual(s), purpose, location of travel, and expense details (e.g., accommodation, flight, etc.) are required to ensure proper use of funds.
- For equipment usage: type of equipment, value, and how the cost has been calculated for the project.
- Please refer to the Eligible Expense guidelines for the specific program. Unless otherwise specified in the program Eligible Expense guidelines, capital costs are not eligible; equipment usage (prorated for the project duration) must be included as Operating Expenses in the budget.
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 banking information (where applicable) is supplied to OCE.
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.
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 Voucher for Innovation and Productivity and TalentEdge (academic-based) must be sent directly to the institution. The institution is required to attest and provide documentation confirming of the receipt of the industry funds when reporting to OCE.
13. Once the applicant has submitted the required final report, how long will it be before the holdback is released?
Holdbacks are released within fifteen business days after the approval of the final reports
For more information, please search OCE’s Knowledge Base of Frequently Asked Questions.