AgriCompetitiveness Program: Applicant guide
Purpose of this guide
This guide will:
- help you determine if you may be eligible for funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) under the AgriCompetitiveness Program.
- provide you with directions and explanations to assist you in completing the project application form.
The guide includes additional details on:
- funding and cost-sharing
- program priorities and eligible activities
- expected results
- assessment criteria
- reporting on your Project
- other requirements
Your completed application form will provide AAFC with the information needed to make decisions about eligibility and funding. It is highly recommended that you read this guide and Annex A: How to complete the application form in its entirety before you complete the form.
Table of contents
- 1.0 Canadian Agricultural Partnership
- 2.0 Expected results
- 3.0 Assessment criteria
- 4.0 Reporting on your project
- 5.0 Considerations
- 6.0 After you apply
- 7.0 Contact information
- Annex A: How to complete the application form
1.0 Canadian Agricultural Partnership
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector. In addition, producers will continue to have access to a robust suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs.
The Partnership came into force April 1, 2018.
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership focuses on six priority areas:
- Science, research, and innovation – to help industry use science and innovation to improve resiliency and increase productivity
- Markets and trade – to open new markets and help farmers and food processors improve their competitiveness through skills development, improved export capacity, underpinned by a strong and efficient regulatory system
- Environmental sustainability and climate change – to help the sector reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, protect the environment and adapt to climate change by enhancing sustainable growth while increasing production
- Value-added agriculture and agri-food processing – to support the continued growth of the value-added agriculture and agri-food processing sector
- Public trust – to build a firm foundation for public trust through solid regulations, improving assurance systems and traceability
- Risk Management – to enable proactive and effective risk management, mitigation and adaptation to create a resilient sector
For more information, please visit the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
The AgriCompetitiveness Program is a program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
1.1 About the AgriCompetitiveness Program
AgriCompetitiveness programming assists industry-led efforts to provide producers with information needed to build capacity and support the sector’s development. Funding is provided to support sector-led activities such as farmer-oriented seminars, and conferences that identify industry best practices and build the capacity of the sector, farm business management and farm safety information and tools, as well as activities which build agricultural awareness.
The AgriCompetitiveness Program aims to help the agricultural sector to leverage, coordinate and build on existing capacity, enhance safety, adapt to changing commercial environments, seize new opportunities, share best practices, and provide mentorship opportunities. The program builds on existing capacity by facilitating the sharing and expansion of skills, knowledge, and best practices, and increase agricultural awareness. It also provides for activities that allow agri-businesses to transition, adapt, and improve their profitability by nurturing the entrepreneurial capacity of new and established farmers, delivering farm safety initiatives, and cultivating individual and industry leadership.
The program provides funding to the sector to promote the benefits of a career in agriculture and to enhance the public's perception of agriculture and its role in the economy.
The program also supports activities undertaken by important domestic agricultural fairs and exhibitions which have strong international and domestic components, as well as, generic agriculture awareness activities which will help strengthen public trust about the origin of the food they eat and how it is produced.
The objective of the AgriCompetitiveness Program is to help the industry further develop capacity throughout the sector and facilitate the sharing and expansion of:
- skills, knowledge, and best practices among industry members
- business management and planning capacity in the sector as it relates to production practices, business and financial management practices, and environmental practices, which builds resilience and adaptability
- assistance for producers to learn how to develop and implement business and strategic plans to help them capitalize on opportunities and manage a wide range of risks
- platforms to help the sector build leadership and facilitate knowledge transfer, which will assist the sector to be better able to respond to market demands and promote agricultural awareness to build public trust
1.2 Eligible applicants
Not-for-profit organizations are eligible under this program. They may include:
- Indigenous groups
- Eligible applicants must be legal entities capable of entering into legally binding agreements.
- Associations should operate on a national basis. Consideration may be given to regional not-for-profit associations if there is no representation at the national level, and the applicant can demonstrate the ability to deliver a project that is national, and/or agriculture and agri-food sector wide in scope.
- Demonstrating the ability to deliver a project that is national and/or agriculture and agri-food sector wide in scope includes but is not limited to:
- participation of relevant industry stakeholders in the project development and/or implementation
- illustration of the ability to implement the project nationally
- indication of the support and buy-in from relevant industry stakeholders in the proposed project through support letters
- Indicating that organizations are willing to share results from the proposed project with other industry stakeholders is not sufficient to demonstrate the ability to deliver a project that is national, and/or agriculture and agri-food sector wide in scope.
- Demonstrating the ability to deliver a project that is national and/or agriculture and agri-food sector wide in scope includes but is not limited to:
Commodity organizations, academic institutions, for-profit organizations, and individuals are not eligible to receive funding under this program.
1.3 Funding and cost-sharing
The maximum AAFC contribution for an applicant will normally not exceed $1 million per year.
The maximum AAFC contribution for a project undertaken by a national fair to carry out awareness activities during the fair will normally not exceed $100,000 per year.
Eligible project costs will normally be shared between AAFC and you as follows:
- a maximum of 50% AAFC and a minimum of 50% Applicant
You must clearly indicate all sources of funding for the project, including your contribution and other industry and/or partner sources of funding including:
- other federal government departments, agencies and crown corporations Footnote *
- provincial/territorial governments Footnote *
- municipal government Footnote *
- Industry and/or Partners such as:
- industry associations and networks
What is a cash contribution?
A cash contribution is an expense requiring a cash outlay, by either your organization or by a participant/contributor (such as a partner or other government), during the term of the contribution agreement (CA). Specifically, a cash contribution is an expenditure for an eligible project cost incurred and paid for by your organization, or another project participant.
AAFC will only reimburse cash contributions for eligible project costs that are incurred and paid for by your organization. A cash contribution made by another project participant should be reported as part of your sources of funding, and must be an eligible project cost.
What is an in-kind contribution?
In-kind means the fair market value attributed for goods and the fair value attributed for services that are contributed to this project and require no outlay of cash during the term of the CA by you or a contributor. These contributions must be eligible costs. They will not be reimbursed by AAFC. More information on in-kind contributions is provided in the Annex A: How to complete the application form.
All costs claimed or contributed under the program must fall within the program cost categories and respect all limitations, including effective dates of the contribution agreement. For more information and details on cost categories, eligible/ineligible costs and other limitations, refer to the Details on eligible cost items section of Annex A.
While an expense may fall within a program cost category, there are limitations to the types of expenses which may be claimed. For more information and details on cost categories, eligible/ineligible costs and other limitations, refer to the Project Costs section of Annex A.
For further clarity, ineligible costs include, but are not limited to:
- alcohol, entertainment, gifts (such as gifts for speakers or facilitators)
- minor assets and capital items not directly related to training and not specifically required for the execution of a project
- refundable portion of the GST, value-added taxes, or other items for which a refund or rebate is receivable
- cost for activities intended to directly influence/lobby governments
- other costs not specifically required for the project
1.4 Eligible activities
The Program will prioritize projects that advance economic growth and build public trust. Program priorities and examples of eligible activities are:
- Building skills, knowledge, and best practices among industry members
- facilitation of the sharing and expansion of skills and knowledge among industry members
- develop information to strengthen the ability of the sector to manage transformation, respond to change and adopt best practices in their farming operations
- tools to facilitate the implementation of business and strategic plans to increase the potential for opportunities and profitability
- Helping the sector build leadership and facilitate knowledge transfer
- develop leadership and entrepreneurship throughout the sector for youth, new and young farmers
- events, conferences, workshops, training, tools, web sites, newsletters to develop, share, and disseminate information regarding industry best practices, farm business management, farm safety, and agricultural awareness
- Increasing business management and planning capacity within the sector
- development of new farm management information, resources, tools, publications
- expansion of awareness of farm management practices, business management, assessment and planning capacity in the industry
- capacity and leadership building through outreach, networking and training
- delivery of farm business management information, resources, tools, publications
- farmer-oriented workshops, seminars, conferences, and information sharing to increase business skills
- Promoting farm safety
- development and dissemination of farm safety information, resources and tools to help producers, their families and their workers make farms a safe place to live and work.
- Increasing public trust
- creation and dissemination of generic agriculture awareness material to increase consumer education and awareness which will reinforce public confidence in Canada’s food production systems and promote public trust
- International business centers hosted by important domestic agricultural fairs and exhibitions which have strong international and domestic components and were previously funded under the AgriMarketing Program (the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Canadian Western Agribition, Farmfair International, Calgary Stampede) which help advance the Government’s priorities by raising awareness of Canadian agriculture both domestically and internationally.
1.5 Ineligible activities
Examples of ineligible activities include:
- core business activities of the organization, including, but not limited to:
- Annual General Meetings, board meetings
- fundamental operational costs not directly related to the project
- normal costs of establishing a commercial operation
- the purchase of land or buildings
- activities that are sector-specific in scope and are not a benefit agriculture and agri-food sector wide
- activities that are regional in scope and are not a benefit nationally
1.6 Application deadlines
Starting July 1, 2020, a call for proposals process will be undertaken for projects for the 2021-22 (year 4) and 2022-23 (year 5) funding years. Applications will be accepted from July 1, 2020 until November 1, 2020. The Program will prioritize applications received within these dates.
Eligible applications received after November 1, 2020 will only be considered if sufficient funding remains.
Applications will be accepted until September 30, 2022, or until funding has been fully committed or until otherwise announced by the program.
The program ends March 31, 2023.
For detailed information on how to complete a project application form, refer to Annex A: How to complete the application form.
2.0 Expected results
Federally delivered CAP activities will help the agriculture and agri-food sector grow and become more resilient. Budget 2017 set an ambitious target to grow agri-food exports to $75 billion by 2025.
Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector is one of the most respected in the world. Government plays a key role in providing tools to help the sector adapt to and align with public values.
Today’s globalized marketplace creates both new opportunities and challenges for the performance and sustainable growth of Canada’s diverse agriculture and agri-food sector. The sector’s success is dependent on strong collaboration between industry and governments to remain competitive and prosper in this complex environment.
The expected outcome of the AgriCompetitiveness Program is:
- an agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector which has an increased level of entrepreneurial skill, knowledge and awareness of issues, practices, and best practices. This will ultimately help the sector to:
- leverage and coordinate existing capacity
- transition and adapt to changing requirements and conditions
- seize new opportunities
Applications must demonstrate how the proposed project will address the industry/sector need, as well as provide clearly defined targets and performance measures.
3.0 Assessment criteria
Project proposals must be related to delivering national services and/or products in one or more of the areas of developing agri-businesses entrepreneurial capacity, including:
- the development of youth, young and established farmers
- farm safety initiatives
- business skills development
- individual and industry leadership development
- agriculture awareness
Your application will initially be reviewed against the following criteria:
- the application is complete and the proposed project is eligible
- the proposed activities, including expected results and outcomes, support program objectives and priorities
- all sources of funding for the project funded under this stream are identified
If these criteria are met, a more thorough assessment of your application will be done. This will include:
- your organization’s capacity to deliver the project, taking into consideration your resources and timelines
- the degree to which the proposed project can demonstrate a current or potential market opportunity or need
- the proposed activities and expenditures are eligible, reasonable and required to meet the project objectives
- project linkages to building entrepreneurial capacity and leadership in the sector
- evaluation of the project’s impact to stakeholders and how it benefits the sector
The assessment process will determine an appropriate amount level of funding for approved projects. This will be based on:
- scope and duration of project
- reasonableness and fair market value of proposed eligible expenses
- importance of proposed eligible activities for greater impact to the sector
- reasonableness of the overall projected cost of eligible expenditures given the projected outcome(s)
- other sources of funding
- demonstrated due diligence in obtaining and reporting on performance results
AAFC will provide a written decision letter outlining the level of assistance awarded and any other conditions, if applicable.
Each application will be meticulously reviewed for eligibility, appropriateness, and impact. For an applicant to prove that the activity cost meets each of the above three elements, it is important that each activity and corresponding cost is provided in a manner that is required for an appropriate assessment by AAFC.
Please refer to Annex A: How to complete the application form for detailed information on how to complete a project application.
- each activity requires an explanation of the benefits and impact to the target market proposed in each activity, and how each will be measured and assessed
- please outline the anticipated number of participants, but also be mindful that AAFC is looking for more detail on how this activity will positively impact the audience
- each activity must be clearly defined and articulated in each section of the application
- each cost must clearly outline how the value was calculated
4.0 Reporting on your project
If your project is approved, we will communicate the level of reporting necessary in writing in advance of the signing of a contribution agreement. The reporting includes progress, performance and financial reports.
You will be required to provide progress reports describing the activities completed and progress made towards deliverables, as described in the Project Work Plan. Progress report frequency is either quarterly, semi-annually or annually, depending on risk level.
You will also be required to provide performance reports annually and at the end of the project. The reports will track progress against mutually agreed to performance measures outlined in the CA.
Financial reporting is required with each request for reimbursement of expenditures, in addition to year-end accounting and other financial reports. When submitting a claim for reimbursement supporting invoices representing 10%, 20% or 40% may be required.
Other reports may be required at AAFC’s discretion.
5.1 M-30 Act (Quebec organizations only)
The Province of Quebec’s M-30 legislation may apply to Quebec based applicants only. It is the Act Respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif (R.S.Q., c. M-30).
More information on the Act is available online or by contacting the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation (MAPAQ) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
M-30 applies to various types of Quebec organizations, for example, organizations located in Québec and receiving more than half of their financing from the Government of Quebec may be subject to the Act.
All Quebec based organizations will have to address this matter and demonstrate their compliance with the Act during the project assessment process, and prior to entering into a contribution agreement.
6.0 After you apply
Once an application has been submitted, an acknowledgment notice will be forwarded to the applicant.
Note: You should not consider an application as submitted to the program until you receive the acknowledgement notice.
Our goal is to:
- respond to general inquiries made to our phone number or email address before the end of the next business day
- acknowledge receipt of your application within one business day
- assess your application and send you an approval or a rejection notification letter within 100 business days of the close of the July 1, 2020 - November 1, 2020 application intake window, or within 100 business days of the application being deemed complete, if received after the July 1, 2020 - November 1, 2020 intake period.
After your application is received, AAFC verifies that all required forms and declarations have been completed accurately and there is sufficient detail in the application for a full assessment.
Next, a full review and assessment of your application against the principles and criteria of the program will be carried out by assessors including program administrators and other technical reviewers within AAFC.
AAFC may contact you for more information at any point after you apply.
If your application is approved, a program officer will communicate with you to go over the details of the approval including activities, funding levels as well as start and end dates. The program officer will then follow up with you to negotiate the details of the Contribution Agreement you will be required to enter into.
Note: AAFC does not have the authority to reimburse recipients for costs incurred until a Contribution Agreement is signed, even if an approval is granted.
Please note that even if a project meets all eligibility criteria, the submission of an application creates no obligation on the part of the Minister or of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada officials to provide funding for the proposed project. The Minister retains discretion to determine, based on other public policy and public interest considerations, whether an application that meets the criteria identified in this guide will ultimately receive funding.
7.0 Contact us
For more information on the AgriCompetitiveness Program, please contact us by:
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
1341 Baseline Road
Tower 7, 7th Floor, Room 216
Ottawa, ON K1A 0C5
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