ACATS Applicant’s Guide

Transport Canada’s Program to Advance Connectivity and Automation in the Transportation System (ACATS) provides funding for projects that promote and help Canada prepare for connected and automated vehicles (CAVs). CAVs will have far reaching impacts on trade and transportation, and the economy as a whole. Enabled by powerful information technologies, smart infrastructure and big data, they are creating new possibilities to enhance the competitiveness, safety and environmental performance of Canada’s transportation system.

The application process for 2018-19 funding is currently closed.

On this page

  1. Program description
  2. Eligible recipients
  3. Available funding
  4. Eligibility assessment criteria
  5. Eligible expenditures
  6. Ineligible expenditures
  7. Eligible project duration and approvals
  8. Merit Selection criteria
  9. Notification
  10. Service standards
  11. Funding agreements
  12. How to apply
  13. Submitting your application

1. Program description

The ACATS Program provides funding for projects that contribute to the competitiveness and productivity of Canada and its transportation system though investments that help Canadian municipalities, provinces, territories and other stakeholders prepare for the introduction of CAVs.

The objective of the program is to:

  • enable transport-sector innovation by supporting the deployment of CAVs technologies
  • facilitate capacity-building and research and development on CAV and transportation-related issues

2. Eligible recipients

Eligible recipients include:

  • provinces, territories, municipalities and local governments
  • Indigenous groups, communities and organizations
  • public sector organizations
  • not-for-profit organizations
  • academia
  • foreign entities*, including not-for-profit organizations, governments, and academia

*Note: We will only consider contributions to foreign entities if they advance the Canadian public good.

3. Available funding

ACATS will provide up to $1,725,000 over 4 years (April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2022). All projects must be completed by March 31, 2022. Recipients will be reimbursed for up to 50% of eligible expenditures, with the following exceptions:

  • up to 75% of eligible expenditures for transportation projects implemented in the Territories
  • up to 100% of eligible expenditures for studies, research and capacity-building projects
  • up to 100% of eligible expenditures for projects submitted by other levels of government (i.e. provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous governments)

Funding is available through a grant or a contribution. We will apply a risk-based approach to help us determine which funding instrument is appropriate to ensure the successful completion of projects. The key difference between a contribution and a grant is the reporting requirements required for payment. We will determine if funding will be provided as either a contribution or a grant.

The maximum contribution per project is $500,000 and the maximum grant per project is $50,000. Any project proposal submitted for a maximum amount above $50,000 will be considered for contribution funding only.

4. Eligibility assessment criteria

Eligible activities include:

  • acquisition, installation and deployment of CAV technologies, equipment, processes, data, software and systems as well as related evaluation, monitoring and training
  • CAV studies and research
  • capacity-building activities to:
    • get, improve and keep skills and knowledge through a variety of approaches (for example, symposia, conferences, “hackathons,” collaborative science fairs, scholarships)
    • address the impacts of new and/or disruptive transportation-related technologies
    • develop and implement measures and best practices to support the safe and secure use of innovative technologies

All proposals must support at least one of the following project categories (PCs).

PC 1: Development of highly qualified personnel

  • Support the professional development of public sector officials, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) specialists, and other Canadian stakeholders in the areas of connectivity, automation and cybersecurity in the on-road transportation sector (for example, creation of training materials and training courses; organization of workshops, webinars, and technology demonstrations; and participation in multi-stakeholder CAV projects)
  • Increase awareness of the safety, security, environmental, social and other considerations of connectivity and automation in road transportation
  • Organization of multi-stakeholder vehicle and/or road transportation infrastructure cybersecurity workshops (for example, cyber challenges, “hackathons”)*

*Preference given to road transportation infrastructure cybersecurity projects.

PC 2: CAV policy and planning resources

  • Develop guidance materials and tools relating to connectivity, automation and cybersecurity in road transportation (for example, deployment and integration of CAV roadside infrastructure, data privacy, ITS Architecture)
  • Support planning and preparations for potential CAV trials and deployments
  • Support for the participation in, and development of, CAV codes, standards and guidelines

PC 3: CAV-enabling technologies and systems

  • Research, studies, analysis and evaluations of CAV technologies, and the safety, security, environmental, social and other considerations of connectivity and automation in road transportation
  • Assessment and integration of cybersecurity measures and authentication systems for CAV pilot deployment projects and test beds
  • Analysis of infrastructure data requirements for CAVs (for example, high-definition maps)

5. Eligible expenditures

Eligible expenditures include:

  • staff salaries and benefits
  • professional services (including engineering and environmental reviews, assessment, consultations, etc.)
  • purchase and lease of technology, equipment, software, data and systems
  • public outreach, dissemination of information, communications materials and other associated costs
  • travel expenditures (including the cost of accommodations, vehicle rental and kilometric rates, bus, train, airplane or taxi fares, allowances for meals and incidentals)
  • room rentals and audio/video equipment
  • hospitality, in accordance with federal government directives
  • conferences and symposia expenditures (including organization, speakers, interpretations services, etc.)
  • telecommunication, data analysis and data validation services expenditures
  • administrative expenditures of up to 15% of total project costs (including general administration, expenditures, rent, insurance, office equipment rental and membership fees)
  • other costs that are, in our opinion, considered to be direct, reasonable and incremental for the successful implementation of the project and have been approved in writing, prior to being incurred

Eligible expenditures can be either cash or cash-equivalent in-kind contributions. These expenditures may be reimbursed so long as the following three criteria are met:

  • The associated costs are deemed to be eligible expenditures and have been approved by Transport Canada
  • The associated costs are not a donation received from a third party
  • The associated costs are related to goods, services or other support that would otherwise be purchased and paid for by the applicant as essential for the project

Note: In-kind contributions received from a third party are considered donations and may form part of the total eligible expenditures of the project, but are not reimbursable.

6. Ineligible expenditures

Certain expenditures are not eligible for funding and therefore will not be considered in the calculation of the total eligible expenditures of the proposed project, including:

  • costs incurred before the funding approval date or after the final claim date
  • expenditures for provincial/territorial sales tax and GST, or the HST where applicable, for which the recipient is eligible for a rebate, or any other costs eligible for rebates
  • purchase of land and/or buildings, related real estate fees
  • financing charges and interest payments on loans
  • expenditures that have been reimbursed from other sources of funding, federal statutes or funding programs

7. Eligible project duration and approvals

  • Projects must end by March 31, 2022
  • Single-year and multi-year projects are eligible
  • We do not issue advance payment
    • Therefore, applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient funding available to undertake the project (including start-up costs)
  • Applicants must identify the source of all project funding in their project proposal (for example, in-kind, third-party); letters from partner organizations that confirm financial support must be attached to the proposal
  • Projects may begin upon our approval; however, no reimbursements will be provided until a funding agreement is signed

8. Merit selection criteria

We will evaluate project proposals to determine if they meet the mandatory eligibility assessment criteria (see Section 4 for additional details). If eligible, the proposed projects will be assessed against the merit selection criteria described below.

Applicants must provide the following information (please use the Project Proposal template we provide to you).

Relevance of the project

Relevance of the project relates to how closely the proposed project relates to the ACATS objectives, as described in Section 1.

Applicant’s relevant experience and capacity

Relevant experience and capacity relates to how well the applicant is able, in terms of resources, personnel and expertise, to complete the proposed project. More specifically, we will consider the applicant’s:

  • mandate and/or experience and expertise
  • demonstrated commitment based on past or current projects
  • institutional, management/orgpeanizational structures, financial controls and other support available to successfully deliver the proposed project

Quality of the proposal

The quality of the proposal describes the degree to which the planned activities, schedule, budget, targeted results and roles and responsibilities are clear, realistic and consistent with the proposed project’s objectives. We will assess whether the proposed project has:

  • clearly states goals, objectives and outcomes
  • a realizable project plan, concrete deliverables, budget and timelines
  • a detailed risk analysis and mitigation strategy
  • an experienced and qualified project delivery team with roles and responsibilities clearly established

Performance measurement strategy

We want to contribute to projects that generate results that can be reported to Canadians. We will assess the applicant’s performance measurement strategy, the results the proposed activities would achieve and how they would align with ACATS’s objectives (identified in Section 1 ).

Value for money

Value for money refers to how well the proposal sets out efficient use of resources and plans for producing outputs in an affordable manner.

Additional mandatory criteria

Proposals will be selected based on one or more of the criteria below:

Principle 1 – Builds jurisdictional capacity to ensure the safe and secure deployment of CAV technologies in Canada

Criteria:

  • Facilitates engagement and knowledge dissemination, and develops networks to enhance the transportation sector’s capacity to address CAV-related issues
  • Enhances understanding of the impacts of transportation-related technologies, such as CAV deployment considerations, integration and interaction with Canada’s road transportation system, and cybersecurity vulnerabilities
  • Supports Canadian participation in international standards development processes

Principle 2 – Facilitate research on transportation-related issues

Criteria:

  • Promotes CAV research and enhances innovation within the transportation system

Other criteria

We may also take into consideration whether a project:

  • includes a variety of activities
  • helps achieve funding balance across Canada
  • has the ability to leverage cash or in-kind support from non-federal sources and minimizes the share of federal government funding

9. Notification

After we have evaluated a project proposal, we will inform the applicant if they have been selected for funding or not. We reserve the right to accept or reject any project proposal.

10. Service standards

In an effort to continually improve service and conduct a transparent process, we have established the following service standards:

  • Our goal is to provide applicants with written acknowledgement of receipt of their application and/or project proposal within 10 business days of the application deadline date
  • Our goal is to issue payments within 20 business days following the notification to the recipient that the requirements outlined in the funding agreement have been fulfilled

Note: If the program cannot meet the above standards, we will advise recipients in a timely manner.

11. Funding agreements

A funding agreement signed by both the recipient and Transport Canada is required to receive funding. The following sections highlight some of the key areas of this legal document.

Risk-based funding agreements

We will conduct a risk assessment of all approved projects prior to signing a funding agreement. This ensures that funding agreement requirements correspond to the project’s risk levels, and the recipient's capacity to deliver results. The project risk assessment will determine:

  • how often the recipient must report project progress
  • financial documentation the recipient must submit with payment claims
  • how often we will make site visits with and/or contact the recipient
  • audit requirements

The risk assessment will be based on, but not limited to, the information provided in the applicant’s project proposal.

Project scope and agreement

The recipient's project proposal will form the foundation of the project scope, mandatory legal documentation, clauses, terms and conditions, performance measurements and payment structure, which are included in the funding agreement. Once the funding agreement is signed, no change to the scope of the project (including budget, structure, time lines and so on) is possible without prior written agreement between the recipient and Transport Canada.

Reporting requirements

Reporting requirements will be established in the funding agreement and may include providing financial claims, list of invoices, progress reports, annual reports and a final report, among other elements.

Progress reports

Recipients must submit progress reports quarterly or semi-annually (or annually for multi-year agreements), as identified in the funding agreement. Progress reports will identify the progress achieved during the reporting period and accompany financial claims.

Annual reports

For multi-year projects, the recipient will be required to produce an annual report. This report will include but may not be limited to the following:

  • a detailed description of the project's progress and major achievements during the year, and an update on how the project is moving forward and how it relates to initial objectives and final results
  • updated data on performance indicators indicated in funding agreement compared to the start of the project
  • results from appropriate data collection processes, put in place to enable the capture and reporting of performance indicators used to measure the achievement of the project's outcomes
  • annual reporting on the recipient’s eligible expenditures incurred and based on the breakdown of the eligible expenditures claimed, in accordance with the funding agreement budget
  • highlights of project communications activities during the reporting period, if applicable
  • issues, areas of concern or risk factors that may affect completion, the schedule or the budget of the project as per original plans, and also proposed mitigation strategies to correct any issues

Final reports

When the project is complete, recipients will be required to submit a final report. The final report serves as a roll-up and verification of all project activities, costs and outcomes. Under the funding agreement, we must receive the final report before we will pay the final expense claim.

Along with the information required in the final report, recipients may also be asked to include:

  • an overall assessment and analysis of the objectives met, outcomes achieved and lessons learned

Financial claims

Recipients can only submit claims for reimbursement of expenditures incurred that are identified in the funding agreement. We will provide recipients with templates that reflect the eligible expenses as indicated in the funding agreement. Recipients will also be required to submit a list of invoices with each claim.

Official languages

All recipients must respect the Official Languages Act when delivering a project funded under the ACATS. Linguistic requirements may apply to projects depending on their scope (national, regional or local), or on the specificity of the regions and targeted audiences of projects. We will work with successful recipients to determine how this applies to their projects.

12. How to apply

The following sections detail the documents required to submit a proposal.

Your application package must include the following:

  1. Title of project and executive summary
  2. Applicant information:
    1. legal name of the organization
    2. name and position of the primary contact for applicant organization
    3. mailing address for all correspondence
    4. contact information such as office phone/fax numbers, email/Internet address, etc.
  3. Organizational profile:
    1. type of organization
    2. organizational structure and governance
    3. history of the organization
    4. mandate of the organization
    5. organizational activities
  4. Project management personnel
    1. Each project must have a designated project manager; please include their contact information (if different from applicant organization)
  5. Declarations:
    1. conflict of interest questionnaire
    2. declaration by applicant organization attesting to the accuracy of the project proposal and the commitment of the organization to carry out the project signed by an authorized agent
  6. Project description:
    1. project objectives and goals
    2. location of project delivery
    3. proposed start and completion dates
    4. major activities for the project
    5. project work plan
    6. project budget
    7. partners and contributions
    8. risk assessment and mitigation measures
  7. Performance measurement strategy:
    1. output/outcome monitoring
    2. methodology of measurement
  8. Communications plan
  9. Letters of support, including financial support

Important note: A Project Proposal template is available and applicants must complete it. Please contact us for the template at tc.acats-pcast.tc@tc.gc.ca.

13. Submitting your application

Application deadline

The application process for 2018-19 funding is currently closed.

Note: All applications and project proposals must be signed, complete, accurate, comprehensive and presented using the templates provided. All applicants other than individuals must provide legal documentation confirming their organization is a legal entity (for example, using letters of patent, certificates of incorporation or other such legal documents). Missing or incomplete information will slow the processing of the application and may result in its rejection.

An application package may be submitted by email or mailing address, at the applicant’s discretion.

Email:

An electronic application package must be in MS Word, MS Excel or PDF format. Send the application to:
tc.acats-pcast.tc@tc.gc.ca

Mail:

A signed hard copy may be sent by mail, and must be received in this office by the application deadline.

To maintain the transparency and fairness of the selection process, no extensions can be granted.

Mail applications to:

Program to Advance Connectivity and Automation in the Transportation System (ACATS)
Transport Canada
330 Sparks St., Place de Ville – Tower C (AHEC)
Ottawa ON
K1A 0N5

Transport Canada will confirm receipt of application packages.

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