Guide to Managing Award Holders in Canada (Development Stream) - Chapter 2

October 2016

PDF Version (1 MB)

Table of Contents

2 Planning and Organizing an Award Program

2.1 Roles and Responsibilities of Key Institutional Resources

The purpose of this section is to outline the roles and responsibilities of the main institutional resources involved in a Global Affairs Canada award program.

A. Executing agency

The EA must ensure that all requisite conditions are met for the integrated management of award programs, and that award holders have access to all the benefits linked to their Global Affairs Canada award, in accordance with the contractual agreement between the EA and the Department.

Diagram 3: Illustration of EA Management Activities as Part of an Award Program

The executing agency responsible for managing the Global Affairs Canada award program ensures an integrated management of the various activities such as: planning, management and organization, communication, and evaluation.

In its award program administration process, the EA must give consideration to the priority needs of the recipient country from which the award holder originates, including when selecting the educational institution or practicum location. In addition, educational needs must be identified and education–employment suitably matched with the expectations of the recipient government.

The administration of award holders is an integrated system whose activities in Canada are interrelated with those carried out in the recipient country. The EA must bear in mind that the administrative process will include activities both in the award holder’s country and in Canada.

Below is a list of the main tasks that the EA must carry out as part of its mandate.

2.1.1 Award program planning

The EA must, in particular:

  • Develop the structure of the award program and specify its duration;
  • Coordinate the award holder selection process;
  • Thoroughly review the files of short-listed candidates and make the final selection;
  • Find educational institutions, practicum locations and training programs best suited to the identified needs;
  • Submit applications for admission or for practicums to targeted Canadian educational institutions or organizations and inform candidates of the decisions.

2.1.2 Award program management and organization

The EA must, in particular:

  • Have award holders and other parties sign the Training Agreement;
  • Enroll award holders in a health care plan (HCP) with a Canadian insurer (plan for visitors to Canada);
  • Coordinate a pre-departure briefing, orientation session in Canada, and mid‑term (as needed) and end-of-stay sessions;
  • Check that award holders received all the necessary authorizations before leaving their country;
  • Comply with IRCC requirements for obtaining an entry visa to Canada;
  • Supervise and guide award holders throughout their entire training program;
  • Take care of the logistics and arrangements for award holders’ practicums in the home country or in Canada during the training program, if required;
  • Arrange logistics for award holders’ return to their country;
  • Guide award holders in reintegrating into their workplace upon their return to their country;
  • Take into account the educational institutions’ internal regulations and deadlines;
  • Comply with the various internal standards of the organizations where the practicums will be taking place;
  • Comply with the terms of its contractual agreement with Global Affairs Canada, as the terms and conditions of the agreement take precedence over the information contained in this guide;
  • Know the objectives of the project that is providing funding for the training program in Canada and the expectations of award holders regarding their training and the context in which they will be required to work upon returning from this training;
  • Make the most appropriate decisions in light of the award program objectives;
  • Put in place all the human and institutional resources that may be needed for the administrative process;
  • Keep a constant line of communication open with award holders and oversee their progress throughout the training program;
  • Keep track of deadlines so that the length of the award program does not exceed the deadlines set during program planning;
  • Monitor administrative, accounting and financial management activities;
  • Keep to the budgets, multiple and varied deadlines and timetables impacting administration of the award program, including those of award holders’ home country (departmental and local administrative requirements), the Department, educational institutions and organizations offering practicums;
  • Inform award holders of their obligations.

2.1.3 Communication

  • The EA must:
  • Provide recipient-country authorities with relevant information about Canadian institutional resources, available award programs and target dates;
  • Respond to requests for information about the award program within a reasonable amount of time.

2.1.4 Award program evaluation

The EA must, in particular:

  • Be made aware of the challenges of consistency between the needs of recipient countries and those of award holders, the award program objectives, reintegration of award holders into their workplace, and education−employment suitability;
  • Prepare evaluation reports at various stages in the award holders’ progress;
  • Produce post-training evaluations.
B. Global Affairs Canada

For the purpose of administering an award program, the Department must:

  • Monitor and control the execution of the contractual agreement with the EA;
  • Determine the resource envelopes or quotas to be allocated to each country, as required;
  • Analyze the EA implementation plan and annual work plans;
  • Give approvals and provide comments to the EA to promote program efficiency and the achievement of results;
  • Approve the list of admissions to award programs;
  • Approve the allocation and annual renewal of awards;
  • Approve any changes to the training program under way, to the educational institution or to the practicum location, as well as any training program extensions;
  • Offer the Department’s awards and the associated benefits for the entire duration of the training program;
  • Authorize and control program disbursements;
  • Guide embassy and EA staff by answering their questions and addressing their comments about the program;
  • Evaluate the award program after each phase.
C. Educational institutions and organizations offering practicums

As part of an award program, educational institutions and organizations offering practicums must:

  • Evaluate applications for admission from candidates;
  • Provide responses to applications for admission;
  • Receive selected award holders;
  • Report any problematic situations involving award holders to the EA.
D. Recipient country or home institution

As part of an award program, the recipient country must:

  • Disseminate information about the awards in the country’s institutions;
  • Approve any changes to the training program under way, to the educational institution or to the practicum location, as well as any training program extensions. However, the Department gives the final approval;
  • Select and propose candidates for award programs;
  • Reimburse any expenses incurred by the award program if an award holder withdraws after signing the agreement or if the award is withdrawn;
  • Require award holders to return to their country at the end of the training program;
  • Ensure that after returning to their country, award holders work in the sectors on which their award program focused;
  • Ensure that award holders are reintegrated into their home institution, keep their position or are promoted to a higher-level position upon returning to their country;
  • Repay any unpaid debt that award holders leave behind in Canada.

2.2 Suggested Administration Activity Schedule (for students only)

The EA must allow close to a year for all of the required steps to be completed before an award holder leaves for training. An activity schedule has been provided as an example:

Time of year Task
July – December
  • Communication and information about awards
  • Selection of priority sectors
  • Identification of training needs              
December – January
  • Candidate selection process
January – February – March
  • Training program structure
  • Identification of educational institutions or practicum locations
  • Applications for admission to educational institutions
April – May – June
  • Confirmation of admission
  • Formalities for entering Canada
  • End-of-stay session before award holders return to their countries
June – July
  • Signing of the Training Agreement
  • Enrollment in the educational institution’s health care plan or in the health care plan provided by the EA
July – August
  • Preparations for stay in Canada
  • Travel to Canada
  • Reception and settlement of award holder
  • Orientation session upon award holder’s arrival
Late August – Early September
  • Course or practicum registration
  • Beginning of training program
Throughout program
  • Guiding of award holder
  • Academic supervision or monitoring of practicum of award holder

2.3 Identification of Training Needs and Objectives

Training needs must be identified based primarily on the needs of the recipient country and the identified sectors of intervention. Therefore, candidates for a Global Affairs Canada award must be selected based on these different needs, the level required for program completion in the shortest amount of time and the available quotas.

In order to achieve the main goal of strengthening the institutional capacity of ODA recipient countries, the general and specific objectives of a given training program must be determined. The general objective will define the general learning direction, while the specific objective will pinpoint the learning that award holders will have to complete during their training program.

2.4 Candidate Selection Process

Governments receiving assistance must identify their priority needs and then select and propose candidates to departmental and EA officials. Even though recipient countries do not always know the details or terms of each award program, the EA must send them all the relevant information as well as information on the candidate selection criteria.

 The main steps in the selection process are as follows:

  1. The recipient country or home institution screens the applications submitted by candidates against set selection criteria.
  2. A decision is made by the LAC (or the selection committee), which consists of government representatives of the recipient country, one representative from the Canadian embassy who acts as an observer and other parties, to ensure transparency in the selection process.
  3. The applications selected by the LAC (or the selection committee) are sent to the EA, which checks them, meticulously vets them and makes the final selection.
  4. The EA sends the final list of selected candidates to the Department for approval.
  5. The EA submits the selected applications to the admissions office of the selected educational institutions.
  6. The educational institutions inform the EA of their decision to either accept or reject the candidate; if the candidate is not accepted by the educational institution, he cannot receive an award from the Department.

Note: The final decision on any application for admission to an award program lies with Global Affairs Canada.


As part of the process to select candidates for an academic training program, the EA must also send the recipient countries information on the admission requirements for training programs in Canadian educational institutions. Once the Department approves the admission list, the EA must submit the selected applications to the admissions office of the selected Canadian educational institutions and inform the candidate of his acceptance or rejection by these institutions. If the educational institution rejects the candidate, he cannot receive any award from the Department.


For a short-term practicum, the basic structure of the vocational or technical skills training program must be developed before the candidate is selected. Also, the recruitment pool of candidates is limited to the human resources of the organization participating in this program. The EA will then try to reach a consensus with candidates’ superiors about the choice of individuals most likely to benefit from the training program. The person who will best meet the organization’s productivity and performance needs will then be selected.

2.5 Choice of Training Programs, Educational Institutions, and Practicum or Short-term Training Locations

When the needs, training objectives and level of training required for award candidates have been established and the final candidate list has been approved by the Department, the EA may present the parties involved (local authorities and candidates) with a choice of training programs, suggesting educational institutions or practicum locations best suited to their needs. To avoid any change requests while the program is under way, the training program and educational institution or practicum location should be selected jointly with the candidates.

The needs that have been identified, the objectives that have been defined, and the availability of organizational, human, logistical and financial resources should all be taken into consideration in choosing the educational institution or practicum location. Since academic rules and regulations differ from one institution to another, an application for admission for each candidate should be sent to multiple educational institutions offering a similar program.

A training program must be selected in light of the following considerations:

  • Will the award holder apply his knowledge, skills and abilities?
  • Will the training help the award holder perform better in his workplace?
  • Will the training received be transferable to another workplace or a different professional setting?  

2.6 Selection of Award Holders and Admission to the Training Program


2.6.1 Summary of required documents

The documents required for candidate selection are the following:

  • A duly completed application form;
  • A cover letter specifying the candidate’s career intentions for the training;
  • Certified true copies of the degrees/diplomas obtained;
  • A certified true copy of the candidate’s birth certificate or an official certification of the place and date of birth;
  • A certified true copy of the candidate’s passport or any other valid document proving the candidate’s citizenship;
  • Certified true copies of all transcripts, regardless of how long ago the degrees/diplomas were obtained;
  • For admission to graduate school, at least two or three letters of recommendation from immediate superiors or professors;
  • For admission to graduate school, a 750-word career intent essay;
  • For admission to post-doctoral programs, a 1,200-word research project proposal that includes the purpose, thesis, methodology and expected results. The proposal must also indicate the support and resources available in the country for carrying out the project;
  • A resumé showing the candidate’s current duties and responsibilities.

Note: Some of the documents listed above are not required for a practicum.

In addition to the above-mentioned documents, the government of the recipient country may sometimes require that candidates obtain an official document from their home department authorizing them to take a leave of absence for a specified period. In some cases, an exit visa may also be required.

It is up to each candidate to find out from the government authorities of the recipient country whether specific document requirements must be met. This can be done in cooperation with members of the Canadian mission in that country.

2.6.2 Information on required documents

If any of the application documents are not in one of Canada’s two official languages, they must be accompanied by a translation, certified by the Canadian embassy or consulate in the recipient country.

In the Canadian education system, transcripts are of paramount importance. Program directors analyze previously obtained grades to make a decision on whether to admit or reject a candidate. If the applicant is admitted, this analysis may also indicate compulsory courses that might be required before the student is definitively admitted to the program.

If transcripts are not sent with the application for admission, the institution may deny admission, or students may have to take courses they have already taken but cannot prove they passed.

The documents required for candidate selection must be sent directly to the EA. These selection documents must enable the EA to verify that the award holder’s training objectives are consistent with the specific needs of the recipient country.

2.6.3 Prerequisite or refresher courses

Depending on the quality of the applications proposed to the educational institutions, or if candidates cannot demonstrate that they have taken and passed certain courses in the last five (5) years of their previous program, program directors in educational institutions may require candidates to take prerequisite or refresher courses. The student will have to pass these courses to be definitively admitted to his study program.

Moreover, given the differences in work methods and requirements between educational institutions in recipient countries and those in Canada, educational institutions may suggest that students take a few courses to help them become familiar with North American work methods faster or to build some of their skills.

Other specific courses may also be proposed or required, such as computer courses or courses that teach how to use certain software.

2.6.4 Language requirements

To be admitted into a Canadian educational institution, students must be fluent in one of Canada’s two official languages. Institutions normally require foreign students to take a language test before they are admitted, either before they leave their home country or when they arrive at the Canadian institution. The EA should therefore contact educational institutions to determine their requirements in this regard. The EA must also evaluate candidates’ language skills during selection.

At French-language institutions, courses are given in French, but much of the reference material is in English. Students wishing to register at a French-language university must therefore be fluent in French and proficient in reading English. Depending on their level of fluency in English, students may be asked to take an English course before they are admitted to a French-language program.

Since all prerequisite or refresher courses required by an educational institution will affect the duration of the training, the EA will have to take this into account when developing the training program structure.


Trainees are selected based on organizational needs, performance and productivity objectives, and the particular abilities of the potential candidates. The admission requirements for a practicum depend on the Canadian organization that made the offer. The EA must also ensure that the candidate is fluent in the working language used in the training environment.

2.7 Applications for Admission

Once the training programs, educational institutions and practicum locations have been determined, the EA must prepare and send the applications for admission or practicum. For academic programs, each official application for admission submitted by the EA must be made using the form specific to the intended educational institution. In addition, each application must be sent to the secretariat of the educational institution, along with payment of the registration fees, which may vary from one institution to another.

Although application deadlines may be different for each institution, they are generally as follows:

  • Before February 1 or March 1 for admission to a fall session;
  • Before October 1 or November 1 for the winter session.

Note: Missing these deadlines may lead to delays in admitting the award holder to an educational institution.

Official notice of admission from the educational institution provides confirmation of admission. This sets procedures in motion for the foreign student to leave the home country and to stay in Canada. The EA must forward this notice to the following parties:

  • Global Affairs Canada project officer;
  • LAC (or selection committee) responsible for each country, as applicable;
  • The candidate in the home country;
  • The candidate’s employer, if in the private sector.

2.7.1 Instructions for correctly completing admission documents

The documents required for applications for admission are listed in section 2.6. However, an educational institution might require additional documents not listed there.

It is also important for the application form to indicate the candidate’s address in the recipient country so that he can receive correspondence intended for foreign students from the educational institution. The student will receive a variety of useful information materials about the institution’s rules and procedures, student life and so on. The EA must also indicate its own address on the form so that it can be informed of the institution’s decision regarding the candidate’s admission.

Furthermore, the EA should provide award holders with all necessary information about the concept of first and last names in the Canadian system in order to avoid any legal or administrative complications or issues with identification.

2.8 Degrees/Diplomas and Equivalencies

Most Canadian educational institutions set their own standards for equivalencies. These standards can sometimes differ from those set by foreign institutions.

In many cases, the recipient country has bilateral agreements with Canada regarding equivalencies to Canadian degrees/diplomas. The EA should determine the existence of such agreements as well as their content and scope, and relay this information to candidates when they are selected.

If no official agreement exists, the EA should inform the Department, because this is crucial for ensuring that Canadian credentials are recognized abroad. The existence of this type of agreement has a direct impact on the student’s re-entry into the labour market upon returning home after training. The Department should then initiate official negotiations so that this issue is settled before the student returns.

2.9 Requirements for Entry into Canada

Canadian entry formalities for a candidate can be quite lengthy because they involve coordination between a number of Canadian and foreign government departments. The EA should ensure that these formalities are completed so that the award holder’s departure from his country is not delayed.

To be able to stay in Canada, the candidate must:

  • Obtain the administrative authorizations required by the recipient country for a stay in Canada;
  • Obtain the necessary visas for transit through a third country if the itinerary requires such transit;
  • Have a valid passport;
  • Meet IRCC requirements to obtain the necessary documents to enter and stay in Canada (for example, visas, work permit or study permit).

Note: Global Affairs Canada does not cover the award holder’s passport costs. However, when necessary, costs associated with travel to a third country to obtain the visa and undergo the required medical examinations will be reimbursed under the National Joint Council Travel Directive.

It is the responsibility of the award holder to inquire with IRCC about the requirements for entering and staying in Canada. After being admitted to an educational institution or accepted by an organization offering a practicum, the candidate must visit the IRCC website to find out about the application process for entering and staying in Canada. The candidate must provide all the documents required by IRCC in support of his application. These documents may include the following:

  • A valid passport;
  • A copy of the Training Agreement signed by the government of the award holder’s home country, the award holder and the Government of Canada;
  • The original letter of acceptance from the educational institution or confirmation from the Department of the candidate’s official acceptance to a Canadian educational institution;
  • If applicable, a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) if the training or studies are to take place in Quebec.

Failure to meet the requirements for entering and staying in Canada may lead to suspension of the award by the Department. The award holder must provide the EA with evidence that he has obtained the authorization required to enter and stay in Canada.

2.10 Signature of Training Agreement

The Training Agreement is signed after the candidate has been admitted to an educational institution or has obtained a practicum. The signed Training Agreement enables the candidate to complete the formalities for entering Canada. It is only at this point that the candidate becomes a Global Affairs Canada award holder.

In addition, the Training Agreement is the only legal document in which:

  • The Department undertakes to provide a training program in Canada and the benefits associated with a Global Affairs Canada award;
  • The student agrees to abide by the terms set forth in the agreement;
  • The government of the recipient country or the home institution confirms its acceptance of the conditions.

Important: All parties must officially sign and seal the document before the award holder leaves for Canada, as per the terms of the Training Agreement.

Once the Training Agreement has been duly completed, a copy is sent to each signatory. If the award holder is a student, additional copies must be sent to the responsible units in the educational institution to which the award holder was admitted, that is, the registrar’s office, the finance department and the international student office. In addition, it is important for the award holder to keep his copy as proof of award holder status throughout the stay in Canada. The award holder will also need this document to enter the country or to obtain a student authorization.

The Training Agreement also allows the EA to obtain important information about the award holder. Thanks to this document, the EA can track the award holder’s academic, vocational or technical performance and know whether he has submitted an application for immigration to Canada. The absence of this signed document prevents any communication between the Department, the EA and IRCC.

2.10.1 Award holder commitments and obligations

Under the Training Agreement, the award holder must:

  • Authorize Global Affairs Canada and the institutional resources involved in the award program to obtain and share any academic, personal or other information about him;
  • Fulfill the commitment undertaken in his Training Agreement;
  • Repay all monies spent if he withdraws after signing the Training Agreement;
  • Communicate in a professional and respectful manner with the EA, the Department and the educational institutions before, during and after his stay in Canada;
  • Diligently follow the training program for which the Department’s award was received, follow the rules of the host educational institution and meet the deadlines set by that institution or comply with the professional standards of the organization offering the practicum, and comply with the terms of the award granted, as detailed in this guide;
  • Submit to the Department or to the EA, any requested reports or progress reports relating to his training program;
  • Abide by Canadian laws;
  • Repay any debt contracted in Canada before returning to his country;
  • Leave Canada at the end of the training program, or before that if the training program or award ends earlier for any reason;
  • Use his knowledge and skills for the benefit of the recipient country or home institution, as the financial support provided by the Government of Canada was offered to the recipient country’s government so that the award holder could contribute to the development of his country upon returning.

2.10.2 Dependants of the award holder

For long-term training, some programs may pay award holders allowances for authorized dependants. Dependant allowances will under no circumstances be paid for a stay in Canada of less than six (6) months. The decision to cover certain dependant expenses falls to the program within the Department. This option is not a right; funds for dependants may be allocated, if the program approves them, following a case-by-case evaluation by the EA, provided that such funds are available and the program objectives or results are achieved.



Footnote *

If you require a plug-in or a third-party software to view this file, please visit the alternative formats section of our help page.

Return to footnote * referrer