Questions and answers about applying for funding
The questions and answers that follow are general, and apply to both calls and unsolicited proposals.
Questions and answers relating to the Partners@International portal can be found with the portal.
Click here for questions and answers relating to the new Cost Share Policy.
For any call-specific questions which are not answered below, please consult the questions and answers page related to that call before directing your inquiry to the contact point for questions listed on the call page.
- Technical issues
- Application process
- Form Content
- Rationale for the initiative
- Gender Equality
- Results-based Management
- Financial Information and Budget
- Organization ability relevant to the initiative
- Partners and consortiums
- Other questions?
1. Technical issues
Q. We are having trouble accessing a PDF form. When we try to open it we receive a message that says our PDF viewer may not be able to display this type of document. Can Global Affairs Canada send us a copy of the form?
A. We highly recommend that you use the latest versions of Internet Explorer and Adobe Acrobat Reader to access all PDF forms published on our website as well as any links within these forms. More information is available on the Global Affairs Canada Help Web page.
If you are having difficulties viewing PDF forms using Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers, please consult Adobe’s PDF forms help Web page.
Global Affairs Canada does not provide versions of the forms published on the web to individual organizations.
Q. We are having difficulty downloading a form. What should we do?
A. If you are having difficulty downloading a PDF form, it is generally due to the type of software you have (or do not have) on your computer. Please read and follow the help instructions. If you have all the correct software installed, download the form to your desktop and open it directly in Adobe Reader; otherwise, other software installed on your computer may try (and fail) to open the form using your default settings.
Q. Can we use software other than Adobe Reader/Adobe Acrobat to work on the preliminary proposal form?
A. No. Other software may allow you to work on the preliminary proposal form, but it can also alter formatting, hiding data that you enter in the form. If there appears to be incomplete sections in submitted forms, they will be considered ineligible.
Q. Our organization is a: private sector entity, social enterprise, religious organization, diaspora organization, non-governmental organization, not-for-profit organization, or a university. Are we eligible to apply?
A. Yes, unless specifically noted on a call page, any of these types of organizations would be eligible to apply as long as:
- you can show proof of legal status, and, for Canadian organizations, a Canada Revenue Agency business number; and
- you can demonstrate any other eligibility requirements specific to a particular call (e.g. incorporation in a particular country; registration to work in a particular country; capacity to manage a particular type and size of project, etc.)
Unless otherwise noted on a specific call page, only one application per legal entity is allowed per call. In the case of universities, for example, unless different research institutes have a separate legal status from the university, only one application per call per university is allowed, unless otherwise specified by the call. There are no similar restrictions for unsolicited proposals.
Please note, however, in all cases, we are not allowed to fund organizations:
- whose financial position is demonstrably unsound;
- whose record of accomplishment and/or provided documentation fails to demonstrate their capacity to implement the project; or
- whose objectives or aims are not compatible with Canadian government policy decisions or Canada’s international development assistance objectives.
Q. There was an error in our proposal, but we actually do meet the eligibility requirements for the call. Why are we being excluded?
A. This is a matter of fairness to all applicants. All applicants get the same information at the same time, all who apply must meet the same deadline. All applicants are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of their own proposal. Global Affairs Canada will not take into account information received after the closing date for a call to reassess eligibility. To do so would be unfair to those applicants who did submit accurate and complete proposals by the call close, and it would significantly extend the time needed to reply to all applicants.
3. Application process
Q. Where are the instructions for how to submit an unsolicited proposal?
A. Please consult Apply for funding for your unsolicited proposal.
Q. How can we get clarification on the forms?
A. The forms themselves contain guidance and all relevant information needed to apply for Global Affairs Canada funding through an unsolicited proposal.
Please explore Global Affairs Canada’s website for information on development priorities and applicable policies. Funding guidance, in particular, contains many resources for organizations interested in applying for international development funding.
If you are applying through a call, please be certain to follow the directions on the call page. These directions may detail specific information that you need to include in the form.
Q. How can our organization apply for Global Affairs Canada funding in response to a humanitarian emergency?
A. Global Affairs Canada has special processes and requirements for humanitarian emergencies. Please refer to the International Humanitarian Assistance – Funding Application Guidelines for Non-Governmental Organizations for further information and guidance.
Q. When are Calls launched?
A. Global Affairs Canada does not have predetermined dates for launching calls. For notification of future calls, please subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Q. Does my organization have to register in Partners@International in order to apply for funding?
A. Yes. Please review information on how to use the portal at Partners@International. If you plan to submit an unsolicited proposal or apply through a call, please register as soon as possible to begin your registration process, if your organization is not already registered.
It may take up to 10 business days to register your organization. If you encounter technical difficulties while registering or trying to submit a proposal, send an email to: email@example.com.
Please note: during the last two weeks before a call closes, the service standard for replying to your enquiry is three (3) business days. Technical support for the portal is only available 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, Monday to Friday.
Q. Is there a way of knowing if our organization/consortium and our project idea/outline/concept fit your call?
A. Global Affairs Canada does not provide guidance to individual applicants on their specific proposals. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that they meet all eligibility requirements as detailed in the call page and application form for any call.
Q. How long will it take to learn whether we will be invited to submit a full proposal or not?
A. The timeline for a response on your application will vary. For an unsolicited proposal, Global Affairs Canada will try to respond within two months from the date of submission. For a call, Global Affairs Canada will try to respond within six months from the date of the call closure.
Q. How long will we have to complete a full proposal?
A. If you are invited to submit a full proposal, the deadline can be discussed with the program issuing the invitation. Generally, we would ask for the full proposal to be submitted in approximately eight weeks from the date of the invitation.
Q. How long will it take to learn whether we will receive funding?
A. The timeline for a funding decision will vary, based on the date of receipt of the full proposal.
4. Form Content
Q. The maximum number of pages indicated in the French application form is different than in English. Why?
A. There is a difference between the number of pages allowed on the English and French application forms because text volume varies depending on the language. When French is used, there will be more words.
Q. What is included in the page limit for the preliminary proposal and full application form? For example, are the Logic Model, or Preliminary Performance Management Framework considered to be included?
A. Please refer to the applicant page counter at the top of the application form. This feature counts characters entered in all of the tables and text boxes within the form, and performs a calculation that provides a page count. The applicant page counter on the first page of the form is updated when you save or print the form, and is the true indicator of the number of pages of content entered in the form.
Q. Is there a preferred source of data to be used in proposals?
A. No. Applicants should use reliable, current and appropriate data for their proposals, and cite sources used.
Q. How does the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act (ODAAA) affect my application?
A. The ODAAA is a legislative requirement which states that “all Canadian official development assistance (ODA) is focused on poverty reduction and is consistent with aid effectiveness principles and Canadian values. It applies to all federal departments and agencies that provide ODA”.
As such, your proposed project must meet the requirements of this Act.
Guidance is available online to help you understand the ODAAA and its requirements. These requirements will be assessed throughout your application.
Q. Can we attach photos to our application?
A. In calls, Global Affairs Canada will only consider information contained in the documents that are requested on the call page. In unsolicited proposals, you may choose to include the 1-page optional annex, and to use that page to include photos.
Q. Can we submit our application under our own format?
A. In order to apply in response to a call, the form(s) posted on the call page must be used. For unsolicited proposals, we encourage you to follow the published guidance to format the concept note.
Q. Will Global Affairs Canada keep the information in the proposal confidential?
A. Proposals (including supporting material) submitted to Global Affairs Canada are subject to the Government of Canada Access to Information Act and Privacy Act. You should be aware that all information in your proposal (including supporting material) is subject to release upon request under the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act.
To the extent that you consider certain portions of your completed proposal to be confidential or to contain confidential information regarding a third party, you must clearly identify in writing the material considered confidential. However, you should be aware that information you have identified as being confidential may not be considered confidential under the requirements of the Access to Information Act and may still be subject to release upon request under that Act. Where funding is approved, the amount of funding, the purpose for which the funds were granted and the name of the organization receiving the funding are considered public information and will be published on the Proactive Disclosure section of our website.
By submitting a proposal, you will be agreeing that Global Affairs Canada may disclose any information received in your proposal within Global Affairs Canada and the Government of Canada or to outside consultants hired by Global Affairs Canada for the following purposes:
- to reach a decision on an application;
- to administer and monitor the implementation of the initiative or programming; or
- to evaluate the results of the initiative.
B. Rationale for the initiative
Q. Our project does not include any innovative approach. Can we still apply and how should we respond to questions on innovation?
A. Unless specified as a requirement for a particular call, not every project needs to present innovation as part of its design. If this is the case with your project, simply indicate that you are taking a proven approach, and explain that approach as part of your theory of change.
C. Gender Equality
Q. Do projects have to target 100% women and girls as beneficiaries?
A. No. Projects may target women and girls and men and boys or any variation of those groups that makes sense for a particular project. Note that even if 100% of a project’s beneficiaries are women and girls, it does not automatically mean that the project’s results will advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Please consult the Advancing Gender Equality page for guidance on integrating gender equality in your project.
Q. Does Global Affairs Canada understand the concepts of gender equity and gender equality to be different?
A. Yes. The following text is an excerpt from Status of Women Canada’s Integrated Approach to Gender-Based Analysis, quoted in Global Affairs Canada’s Policy on gender equality:
“Gender equity means being fair to women and men. To ensure fairness, measures are often needed to compensate for historical and social disadvantages that prevent women and men from otherwise operating as equals. Equity leads to equality.
“Gender equality means that women and men enjoy the same status and have equal opportunity to realize their full human rights and potential to contribute to national, political, economic, social and cultural development, and to benefit from the results.
“Originally it was believed that equality could be achieved simply by giving women and men the same opportunities. Same treatment, however, was found not necessarily to yield equal results. Today, the concept of equality acknowledges that women and men may sometimes require different treatment to achieve similar results, due to different life conditions or to compensate for past discrimination.
“Gender equality, therefore, is the equal valuing by society of both the similarities and the differences between women and men, and the varying roles they play.”
Q. My project will have negligible environmental risks but according to the EIP Screening Tool, it falls under Category B. Can I just proceed as if it were listed under Category C?
A. No, the list of activities under Category B was formulated with the knowledge that there are often both risks and opportunities for environmental sustainability in those areas, whether or not environment is the focus of the initiative. Please answer all questions so that your initiative can be assessed.
Q. How can we define physical work if the community project is designed by community-level organizations as part of the project? Should we assume that physical work will be undertaken if there is a possibility?
A. It sometimes happens that certain components of the project will only be defined during implementation. If it’s probable that there will be some physical work for which an environmental assessment may be needed but you are uncertain or don’t know essential details (e.g. location, design, etc.), your analysis will be more general, based on the information you have. You should highlight this possibility in your analysis, specify that the details are unknown at this time and explain what process will be followed. Global Affairs Canada may require that additional environmental analysis be provided at a later date.
In any case, make everything very explicit, and state the process you will be following to assess these activities.
E. Results-based Management
Q. What if I have more than three intermediate outcomes in the Logic Model?
A. Intermediate level outcome statements should represent an expected change in behaviour, practice or performance [as a result of increased capacity (or positive changes) in, for example, knowledge, abilities, skills, etc., at the immediate outcome level]. The form's Logic Model limits you to defining three intermediate level outcomes per initiative.
If you have more than three intermediate outcomes, review them to ensure that they are indeed intermediate outcomes and that there is no duplication or overlap between them. Also consider simplifying the level of detail to see if you can formulate fewer and more general result statements.
Q. How many activities should be included in the Outputs and Activities Matrix?
A. We’re looking for top-level activities, not sub-activities. Two to five activities per output are appropriate.
F. Financial Information and Budget
Q. Is there a minimum or maximum amount of funding for which we can apply?
A. Global Affairs Canada does not specify any minimum or maximum amount of funding for unsolicited proposals. You specify your budget in relation to your organization’s capacity and your proposed initiative’s needs.
In a call, there may be a minimum and/or maximum amount of funding specified. Your proposal would need to respect this parameter in order to be considered eligible under that call. Please follow the instructions on the call page for the call to which you wish to apply.
Keep in mind that Global Affairs Canada will do an initial fiduciary risk check using your organization’s financial statements.
If your organization’s financial statements show that you could experience difficulty managing the amount of funding requested, the application may not be further assessed.
The initial calculation used is:
- Is the (annual total revenue) equal or less than (the funding requested divided by number of years of duration of the proposed project)? This ratio is indicative of both burden on the applicant and risk for the management of Canadian taxpayers’ funds.
- The financial statements may also be examined to see if the organization holds sufficient funds to cash manage through the last 5% of the value of their proposed project. Global Affairs Canada contribution agreements generally specify that 5% (or more) of the total contribution amount is held back at the end of the project until all project activities are complete, including final reports.
Q. Can the project receive 100% financing from Global Affairs Canada, or is there a minimum percentage that the applicant must contribute?
A. Please see the Cost Share Policy and its related Questions and Answers.
Q. How does the overhead rate apply to non-Canadian applicants?
A. For non-Canadian organizations, Global Affairs Canada negotiates the overhead compensation rate on a case-by-case basis. Negotiations on the overhead rate would take place during negotiations on the overall contribution agreement, that is, after Global Affairs Canada has approved the initiative. The principles of the Overhead Compensation Policy will guide the establishment of the rate.
Q. Who exactly is included in long-term staff (non-local)? Is it only expat employees?
A. This category includes all Canadian employees as well as any other employee that is NOT recruited locally.
Q. Is “Remuneration” for employees intended to include all benefits?
A. No. Remuneration rates include the direct salaries paid by the Organization to its employees, as well as time off and paid benefits as defined under the relevant sections of the Guidance on Eligible Costs for Development Initiatives.
Q. Can local partners be subcontractors?
A. You can have a local partner and/or a local subcontractor, but a local partner cannot be a subcontractor. Subcontractors must work at arm’s length from your organization.
The definitions below are from the Contribution Agreement- General Terms and Conditions:
“Subcontractor” (Sous-traitant) - means an individual (other than an Employee), a firm, a for-profit or not-for-profit organization or institution, acting alone or in a consortium, a joint venture, a partnership (limited or otherwise), having entered into a contract or agreement with the Organization to provide goods or services in relation to the implementation of the Project. The term Subcontractor includes Canadian and local consultants.
“Arm’s Length Relationship” (Relation sans lien de dépendance) - means a relationship whereby in the implementation of the Project, the Organization has entered into a contract or agreement with a Subcontractor and where the Organization and the Subcontractor are independent of each other and are not controlled by the same person or group of persons.
“Subcontract” (Sous-Contrat) - means the agreement signed between the Organization and a Subcontractor.
“Local Partner” (Partenaire local) - means an organization established in a Recipient Country participating in the implementation of the Project pursuant to a Sub-Agreement.
“Sub-Agreement” (Sous-Accord) - means the agreement signed between the Organization and an Ultimate Recipient or a Local Partner.
Q. Does Global Affairs Canada establish a limit on goods that applicants can procure? For example, can a proposal include the purchase of equipment for an entity that would directly support the implementation of a project?
A. There is no specific limitation. However, the purchase of the equipment must be in accordance with the definition of a direct cost in the Overhead Compensation Policy for Contribution Agreements with Canadian Organizations under the International Development Assistance Program.
Q. Will priority be given to organizations that increase their cost share over the minimum required by the call?
A. As indicated in How we assess your proposal, all other things being equal, preference will be given to proposals that:
- demonstrate innovation
- offer a higher percentage of cost share
- demonstrate financial support from other organizations, including private sector sources, to amplify the impact of potential funding from Global Affairs Canada for development results.
Q. What are the eligible overhead compensation rates?
A. Please refer to Section 5 of the Overhead Compensation Policy for Contribution Agreements with Canadian Organizations under the International Development Assistance Program.
Q. We base our project budgets on prevailing local salaries. Are we supposed to align these costs with Canadian requirements?
A. As a department of the Government of Canada, Global Affairs Canada requires costs expressed in Canadian funds. International applicants have to make appropriate adjustments, currency conversions and provision for currency fluctuations where relevant.
Q. Where in the budget do we include financial support for staff at the head office?
A. This is covered under the overhead compensation rate (see the Overhead Compensation Policy).
Q. Should travel costs to participate in training be included under training costs, or travel expenditures?
A. All travel costs should be included under travel expenditures. See section 1.6.4. Other training of the Guidance on Eligible Costs for Development Initiatives.
Q. In the guidance for the budget template, it says profit by the recipient is not allowed, but how is profit defined in this context?
A. Under the Transfer Payment Policy and Transfer Payment Directive, the regulations that govern how Global Affairs Canada contributes funds toward international development projects, only the minimum costs necessary to achieve the expected results can be considered for funding. Profit by the recipient, or any costs not strictly necessary to achieve the results of that project, are therefore not reimbursed. Global Affairs Canada will only reimburse the eligible and actual expenditures incurred by the recipient under the terms and conditions of the contribution agreement.
Q. Can the salary of the project lead who conducts follow-up and travels to the field be included in the proposal budget?
A. Yes. However, it must be a direct project cost, not an indirect cost. Please refer to the Overhead Compensation Policy for Contribution Agreements with Canadian Organizations under the International Development Assistance Program. Also please note that only costs incurred after signature of the funding agreement, and before the end date of that agreement, are eligible for reimbursement.
Q. Does Global Affairs Canada reimburse the costs incurred for the preparation and submission of an application?
A. No. The department does not fund the development or the submission of applications or full proposals.
G. Organization ability relevant to the initiative
Q. Can examples of past project experience include current operational projects?
A. The purpose of this section is to demonstrate that you can manage projects and achieve sustainable results. If an operational project has been operational long enough to describe lessons learned from it along with results achieved and risks managed, it may be used. If you are applying through a call, be sure to follow any specific instructions related to the experience examples shown.
Q. Is there a limit on how old the past project experience examples can be?
A. Again, the purpose of this section is to demonstrate your capacity. Unless specified for a particular call, there is no limit on how old the past project experience examples can be. However, the relevance and currency of the examples presented is taken into account in the merit assessment of the proposal.
Q. What is meant by local capacity in terms of past project experience?
A. Briefly highlight the contribution and experience of the local partner(s) or local office involved in the initiative. For example, describe their capacity in the financial, reporting, procurement, human resources, and other functions required to achieve results. If there were gaps in capacity, what was done to address these?
5. Partners and consortiums
Q. As an international organization, do we need a Canadian partner before we can apply? Do we need a local partner before we apply?
A. Any organization can submit an unsolicited proposal for funding, so long as they meet the posted eligibility requirements. They may form partnerships with Canadian and/or local organizations as they so choose.
Some calls for proposals may limit eligibility to applicants from a particular country or require local partners: please check the call page and eligibility requirements specified for each call.
Q. Do local partner organizations have to be based solely in the specific developing country or can they operate there but have their headquarters elsewhere?
A. Local partner organizations do not have to have their headquarters in the country where they will be implementing the initiative or locate their operations exclusively in one country.
Q. Can Global Affairs Canada assist in finding a local partner in a developing country?
A. Organizations submitting proposals are responsible for any consultations with local partners.
Q. Do local and other partner organizations (that is, local organizations in the country(ies) where our initiative would take place) need to be registered in the Partners@International portal or does only the applicant have to register?
A. The applicant and any other proposed signatories to a possible funding agreement with Global Affairs Canada must be registered in the Partners@International portal. Other project partners who will not be co-signatories are not required to register.
Q. Is it possible for us to introduce partners in the full proposal stage if we have made no mention of specific partners in our application?
Q. Does Global Affairs Canada assess the organizational capacity of each Canadian partner individually, or does it assess how the capacities of the partners complement each other?
A. For information on the different aspects of organizational capacity that are assessed, please consult the “Organization ability relevant to the initiative” section of How we assess your proposal. The assessment focuses on the applicant, but the partnering relationships described in the application are taken into account and determine the depth of the assessment of the applicant’s partners.
As for the relevant experience table, if there is more than one proposed signatory, any proposed signatory can provide the experience examples. In case of a single applicant organization, only the experience of that organization must be provided in the experience examples.
6. Other questions
Q. My question isn’t answered here: how can I get help?
A. Global Affairs Canada does not review or comment on specific initiatives for which a complete application package has not been submitted. If your general question on the application form, requirements or policies and directives is not answered here, please email us or call:
- 1-800-267-8376 (toll-free in Canada)
- 613-944-4000 (in the National Capital Region and outside Canada)
- Please indicate that your question is for the Process team.
Please note: if your question pertains to a specific call, direct your inquiry to the contact point indicated on the call page before the deadline for questions for that call.
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