NTCF Applicant's Guide – Comprehensive Project Proposal

The Comprehensive Project Proposal (Proposal) is the second step of the funding application process of the National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF). This Proposal Guide has been developed to inform applicants of the evaluation and approval process, including the nature and type of information that is required to ensure a thorough and accurate evaluation of the project merit.

To be considered in this second phase, an eligible applicant must have satisfactorily demonstrated to Transport Canada (TC) that the proposed project meets the program eligibility requirements in the Expression of Interest (EOI) phase, concluding September 5, 2017. Projects that were screened out during the EOI phase may be revised and resubmitted to TC in future calls for proposals, but will not be considered further in this 2017 call.

The following graphic illustrates how the Proposal relates to the overall NTCF funding process.

Illustration of NTCF funding process, including (left to right), launch on July 4, 2017, expression of interest by September 5, 2017 and comprehensive project proposal by November 6, 2017.

In this Proposal phase, TC will evaluate the strength and merit of the Proposal in order to prioritize and allocate federal funding to activities and demonstrate strong support of NTCF program objectives. Note that only information provided in the Proposal will be used to evaluate projects.

Proposals must be received at TC's National Headquarters in Ottawa no later than 11:59 p.m. eastern standard time (EST) on Monday, November 6, 2017.

In this guide

Part 1 – Application process

1. About the NTCF

1.1 NTCF

The National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF) is a dedicated source of funding that will help infrastructure owners and users to invest in the critical assets that support economic activity and the physical movement of goods and people in Canada. It represents a long-term commitment by the federal government to work with stakeholders on strategic infrastructure projects that help to address transportation bottlenecks, vulnerabilities and congestion.

The NTCF is one component of the Investing in Canada Plan, the federal government's strategy for addressing long-term infrastructure needs in Canada and supporting middle class growth and jobs. At the same time, it is a key component of Transportation 2030, the Minister of Transport's strategic plan for the future of transportation. The development of this vision, including the NTCF, has been informed by extensive engagement with Canadians from coast to coast to coast along with insights contained in the 2016 Canada Transportation Act Review report.

NTCF funding will be allocated to projects based on their individual merits, which will be assessed according to how they help to strengthen the efficiency and resilience of transportation assets that are critical for Canada's continued success in international commerce. This includes, for example, ports, airports, roads and railways, international bridges and border crossings—assets that are the primary building blocks of supply chains that enable the physical exchange of goods around the world.

A total of $2 billion has been allocated over 11 years for the NTCF. Over this time frame, Transport Canada will request Expressions of Interest, to be followed by Comprehensive Project Proposals. In this way, we will ensure that potential applicants submit important details on their proposed projects for consideration.

In this first round of funding, Transport Canada will commit a portion of the total $2 billion envelope to projects across Canada that meet the eligibility criteria, have funding secured and whose benefits align with the objectives of the NTCF program. Preference may be given to projects that can begin in 2018-19.

In addition to supporting nationally significant trade flows, NTCF funding will also provide support to address transportation issues unique to Canada's Northern territories—Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut—and to National Airport System (NAS) airports with annual passenger volumes below 600,000 (small NAS airports). Separate, more tailored calls for proposals will be issued in each case, starting in 2018.

A dedicated allotment of up to $400 million has been set aside within the overall $2 billion NTCF allocation to support trade and transportation infrastructure investments in Canada's three northern territories. This allotment recognizes that while transportation infrastructure needs in Canada's territorial North are varied and distinct, critical transportation investments hold much potential for residents to unlock new economic and social opportunities, while strengthening transportation connections with established continental networks.

Funding to support small NAS airports would address financial challenges that are unique to these facilities. These have experienced consistent but slow growth and do not have the passenger traffic threshold numbers required to be fully financially self-sustainable. While they have the ability to raise fees or borrow to meet their infrastructure needs, including upgrades and safety-related repairs, their small passenger-base limits their ability to borrow, and increasing fees to a level that would be sufficient to support these needs may result in diversion of business to other airports, thereby ultimately reducing revenues further. Nonetheless, they are considered to be essential to Canada's national transportation infrastructure.

The priorities of future calls for proposals may differ from those of this 2017 call. As such, it is imperative that applicants ensure that they reference the current Applicant's Guide when preparing future submissions. This Applicant's Guide is for the 2017 call for proposals.

Canada Infrastructure Bank

As part of the Government of Canada's Investing in Canada Plan, the Government announced that it will establish a new Canada Infrastructure Bank. The Bank will invest $35 billion from the federal government into transformative infrastructure projects. These investments will be made strategically, with a focus on large projects that will be in the public interest, such as public transit systems, green infrastructure projects, and transportation projects. At least $5 billion will be invested through the Bank to address trade and transportation priorities across the country.

Projects submitted for consideration of funding under this NTCF call for proposals may be referred to the Canada Infrastructure Bank for further consideration. Please note the Bank's process would be separate from the NTCF process.

Learn more about the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

1.2 Program objectives

The NTCF will be guided by the following program objectives, which will serve as principles in the evaluation and selection of projects:

  • To support the fluidity of Canadian trade to improve supply chain performance
  • To increase the resilience of the Canadian transportation system in a changing climate and ensure it adapts to new technologies and future innovation
  • To address unique and urgent needs in Canada's territorial North related to transportation safety and economic and social development
  • To leverage investments from multiple partners as we work with provinces, territories, municipalities and the private sector

The overall objective of the NTCF contributes to TC's strategic outcome of an efficient transportation system.

2. Proposal review process

A cross-disciplinary review committee will evaluate Proposals in terms of their strength and merit in order to prioritize and allocate federal funding to activities that demonstrate strong support of NTCF program objectives. The proposal review process is summarized below.

Below is an outline of the Proposal process:

  1. To be considered in this second phase, eligible applicants must have satisfactorily demonstrated to TC that their proposed project(s) meets the eligibility requirements identified in the EOI phase, concluding September 5, 2017. (A copy of the EOI submission must be attached to the Proposal as Annex A.)
  2. Applicants must submit a complete Proposal to TC's National Headquarters in Ottawa no later than 11:59 p.m. eastern standard time (EST) on Monday, November 6, 2017, to be considered for funding in this call for proposals.
  3. TC will provide applicants with acknowledgement of receipt of their Proposal within 10 business days from the date of submission. TC will then screen the Proposal for completeness. Incomplete Proposals will not be reviewed further.
  4. After the Proposal submission deadline of November 6, a cross-disciplinary review committee will evaluate the Proposals in terms of their strength and merit in order to identify those that most strongly support of NTCF program objectives.
  5. Subsequent to the Proposal evaluation process, the review committee will make formal recommendations to the Minister of Transport for further approvals and final funding determination.
  6. TC will notify both successful and unsuccessful applicants of the outcome, once a decision has been made.
    1. If a project is approved by TC for funding, TC will issue an approval-in-principle letter. This letter may include funding conditions such as the completion of an environmental assessment, Aboriginal consultations, or other commitments.
    2. TC will provide a draft Contribution Agreement (CA) outlining the terms and conditions for project funding under the NTCF. As TC approval would be based on the details provided in the proposal, the CA will be drafted based on the scope of work and funding request provided in the proposal. TC will work with successful applicants to ensure that the project is appropriately represented in the CA. (Refer to Annex A for further details related to the CA.)
    3. The CA will be signed by Canada and the recipient. The signing of a CA is the final step in the project approval process. Note that costs incurred prior to the date on which the last party signs the CA will be ineligible for reimbursement.

3. Proposal submission

Please ensure that you allow sufficient time to submit your proposal to Transport Canada's National Headquarters in Ottawa by 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, November 6, 2017.

A digital version of a complete Proposal may be submitted by email (recognizing the 10 MB limit) to tc.ntcf-fncc.tc@tc.gc.ca. For files larger than 10 MB, applicants may "ZIP" files and submit them as attachments; however, the email subject line must contain the text "TC2004". For example: "Subject: TC2004 – Project Proposal Name for NTCF Funding Consideration".

Proposals in USB or paper copy form will also be accepted and should be submitted by mail/courier service to:

Transport Canada
NTCF – CPP Submission
Business Centre
330 Sparks St.
Place de Ville, Tower C
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N5

Part 2 – Evaluation criteria

1. Proposal requirements

Proposals will undergo an initial screening for completeness. Incomplete Proposals will not be accepted and TC will not provide the Applicant the opportunity to resubmit.

To be deemed complete, a Proposal must include the following items and adhere to the format prescribed in Part 3:

  • copies of the EOI submission and TC's acceptance notification, which should be provided as Appendix A of the proposal
  • a project description, including a project background, project rationale, scope of work, work schedule, delivery method, performance measurement strategy and alignment with NTCF program objectives
  • funding rationale
  • project budget including activity expenditure breakdown, financial plan and evidence of support
  • project risks
  • cost-benefit analysis
  • legal, regulatory and other requirements, including a preliminary environmental review, climate change adaptation and resilience assessment, GHG emissions analysis and Aboriginal consultation information
  • declarations, including conflict of interest and applicant declarations

Upon request, applicants may be required to provide additional information to assist TC in evaluating projects to ensure a fair assessment of merit.

2. Evaluation criteria

The Proposals will be evaluated by a cross-disciplinary review committee to assess their overall strengths and individual merits. Note that merit will be given to projects based on the quality and overall strength of the Proposal as well as the project's ability to advance the NTCF program objectives. The criteria on which the reviewers will base their evaluation of the overall Proposal and NTCF objectives can be found in Table 1 and Table 2, respectively.

Table 1: Overall proposal assessment criteria
Selection criteria Assessment and evaluation
The applicant's relevant experience and capacity to complete the project and/or undertake the activities carried out in the Proposal
  • Assessment based on: evidence provided by applicant (mandate, expertise, labour and capital resources, partners/service providers); departmental experience with, and knowledge of, applicant and/or similar organizations
  • Strong Proposals demonstrate a track record of successful project delivery, a clear link between their mandate and the proposed project, and that resource planning is consistent with past projects of similar scope, cost and level of risk
The relevance of the project outcome(s) to the objectives of the program and the criteria targeted in the selection process
  • Assessment based on: project business case; core objectives of the NTCF; stated benefits of the completed project; anticipated useable life of the asset, improvement or product
  • Strong Proposals will show a clear alignment between one or more of the NTCF core objectives and the expected outcome(s) of the project, and will be located on or near components of Canada's transportation system that are important for nationally significant freight and/or passenger flows or, for projects in Canada's territorial North, enhancing social and/or economic opportunities
The quality and completeness of the Proposal
  • Assessment based on the applicant's budget and timelines, financial plan (including evidence of secured balance of public and private funding, as appropriate), risk management plan and performance measurement and project monitoring strategies
  • Strong Proposals will adhere to professional standards for the preparation of business cases and demonstrate sufficient forethought and planning to deliver on-time and on-budget
The cost-effectiveness of the Proposal and commitment to transparency
  • Assessment of: benefit-cost ratio; total cost of project relative to expected trade and transportation performance improvements; demonstrated project management experience (including reliability of estimated costs); commitment to share some project data publicly
  • Strong Proposals will have a benefit-cost ratio greater than one, and demonstrate efforts to optimize the use of financial, labour, and other inputs to increase the productive capacity or safety of trade and transportation systems
Table 2: NTCF program objectives assessment criteria
Selection criteria Assessment and evaluation
NTCF objective: Support the fluidity of Canadian trade by alleviating capacity constraints and bottlenecks, and strengthen modal interconnectivity and operability
Improve the national transportation system's efficiency and reliability for Canadian and North American exports
  • Assessment of: the degree to which project improves connections with priority and high-growth markets (e.g., China); project timing; degree to which the project would improve system interconnectivity (i.e., between modes, or through new trade corridor connections); improved connections to freight facilities; potential improvements to transportation supply chain metrics (measuring capacity and performance); alignment with transportation demand forecasts
  • Strong Proposals will introduce betterments that improve efficiency and reliability without creating excess or underutilized capacity or related cost pressures and liabilities; help to achieve greater utilization of intermodal containers for commodity exports as appropriate, complementing traditional bulk supply chains
Increase Canada's share of North American bound container and/or bulk imports
  • Assessment based on: whether the asset in question transport volumes or values of nationally-significant trade; potential gains to be made in intermodal or bulk freight productivity, throughput and/or performance of maritime ports or other major areas of consolidation or distribution (e.g., NAS airports, intermodal terminals, distribution facilities); contribution to steady-state or surge throughput capacity for South bound truck trips to reduce border wait times
  • Strong Proposals will help to advance Canada's role as a nexus for global supply chains for North American bound cargo and increase direct economic benefits and employment associated with cargo handling and related trade logistics services
Support fluid and reliable trade flows between Canada and the U.S.
  • Assessment based on: location of the project relative to major border crossings; relevance of the project for Canada-U.S. or Canada-Mexico trade; the degree to which a project completes, improves or expands a trade corridor used intensively for North-South trade
  • Strong Proposals will provide shippers with access to major population centres in the U.S., including regions that are forecast to experience higher than average economic growth, and support efforts to reduce border wait times and strengthen supply chain performance and reliability for value-added manufacturing (e.g., automotive)
NTCF objective: Increase the resilience of the Canadian transportation system to a changing climate and its adaptability to new technologies and future innovation
Enhance the safety of transportation system/assets where the risks to disruption are highest (e.g., due to flooding, landslides, or deteriorating technology and assets) and/or represent significant potential for lost national income
  • Assessment of: whether a project would help to reduce the risk and/or impact of disruptions in the flow of freight or passengers due to seismic, climatic or other natural events and/or deteriorating technology or assets; whether project involves an asset that is critical for the transport of volumes or values of nationally significant trade; the degree to which the project supports the continued operation of existing infrastructure capacity
  • Strong Proposals will support the timely recovery of trade and transportation activities (e.g., through the construction of infrastructure or equipment) following a disruption, and minimize the associated downside risks to economic activity
Promote sustainable transportation by reducing environmental impacts including greenhouse gas (GHG) and air contaminant emissions and mitigating any adverse impacts on the environment
  • Assessment of: the degree to which project helps to reduce GHG emissions from transportation, consistent with the objectives of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, including the impact of project on transportation activities and related GHG emission reductions or increases; the projects approach to mitigating direct emissions associated with the project or other adverse impacts on the environment
  • Strong Proposals will demonstrate a clear understanding of the impact of the project on GHG emissions relative to project not proceeding, quantify these impacts, and help contribute to the objectives of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change
Strengthen the resiliency of Canada's transportation networks to impacts related to climate change
  • Assessment of: the degree to which a project takes into account climate change and extreme weather risks; the project's approach to address the identified risks and vulnerabilities; whether the project strengthens communications among supply chain partners
  • Strong Proposals demonstrate a high degree of analysis and consultation with experts to identify vulnerabilities associated with future climatic change and extreme weather events, including appropriate mitigation adaptation measures where feasible that help to mitigate against future consequences over the design life of the infrastructure
Promote innovation and productivity improvements within the transportation system as a whole, or within or between specific transportation modes
  • Assessment of: applicants knowledge of or experience with the proposed type of innovation or productivity improvement; potential improvements that may be gained; feasibility or practicality of achieving sufficient critical mass to effect desired results
  • Strong Proposals demonstrate how a project would help to better optimize the use of existing assets, improve the flow of goods and/or people and/or supports the application of proven technologies or innovations for trade and transportation
Promote and enhance stakeholder understanding of how transportation-related technologies can build system capacity and inform evidence-based decision-making
  • Assessment of: whether a project relates to a proven technology; plans for distribution of knowledge or information; target audiences; number of channels by which knowledge of information would be accessible; applicant's expertise in the application or use of related technologies
  • Strong Proposals will provide readily-accessible information or knowledge to stakeholders, and demonstrate how improvements can be realized in a cost-effective way
Increase mobility options available for the movement of goods and passengers at strategic gateways, along trade corridors, including urban areas, or through border crossings
  • Assessment of: whether the project provides for greater connectivity between transportation modes and/or corridors; introduces potential system redundancy without creating excess long-term capacity; potential for reducing travel time in and around major metropolitan areas (using TC's Travel Time Index as a reference)
  • Strong Proposals will advance projects that increase the options available to shippers, carriers and/or passengers for moving between a point of origin and destination
NTCF objective: Address the transportation needs of Northern communities, including safety and economic development
Enhance northern transportation corridors that support enhancements to safety, security, economic and/or social development in Canada's three territories
  • Assessment of: whether the project would decrease the likelihood or severity of an incident; corresponding impact of an incident on community and/or passenger safety and health, and attendant financial or economic liabilities
  • Strong Proposals will address known safety vulnerabilities in Canada's territorial North, such as, but not limited to, air navigation or vessel unloading
Address the unique and urgent transportation needs in Canada's territorial North related to transportation safety and to support access to new economic opportunities
  • Assessment of: whether a project is responsive to climate change impacts that are more pronounced in Canada's Arctic (e.g., melting ice and thawing permafrost, higher sea levels, limited connectivity to the North American transportation network); whether a project would support the connectivity and economic development of remote communities or regions in Canada's territorial North
  • Strong Proposals will take a long-term view on the future climatic and economic conditions of Canada's three territories, and provide broad-based safety, economic or social benefits for residents
NTCF objective: Leverage investments from multiple partners
Support critical trade-enhancing projects that align with NTCF priorities and receive the financial backing of other public or private entities
  • Assessment of: the number of organizations sharing in project costs and risks, and the apportionment of project costs by stakeholder; alignment with other capital works by public or private sectors (e.g., as with the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor project)
  • Strong Proposals will demonstrate commitments from public and/or private sector organizations to either share in project costs, or align with other projects that help to achieve high leveraging of federal and other stakeholder investments, and greater capacity for trade
Multiply investments in down-stream economic benefits
  • Assessment of: the potential breadth of users or beneficiaries (e.g., common use infrastructure); assertions made in applicant's Proposal, including third-party attestations; linkages of project with areas of trade growth (e.g., Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)
  • Strong Proposals will strengthen assets or provide knowledge with broad benefits to Canadians and middle class growth, and will include letters of support from industry or other jurisdictions
Foster local support for important transportation corridors / infrastructure projects
  • Assessment of: evidence of local support or consensus to undertake the project; degree to which project helps build knowledge of trade corridors or supply chains; recognition for or moderation of impacts of transportation intensity on residential areas
  • Strong Proposals will align with local, provincial, territorial and/or federal economic, safety priorities and objectives

Part 3 – Proposal format

Proposals may be submitted in English or in French. Use the titles provided in this section as headings, and each page must be numbered and include the project name.

A. Cover page

All Proposals should have a cover page with the following information:

  • title "Proposal for Project Funding under the National Trade and Corridors Fund"
  • name of the project (should be brief but descriptive)
  • location of the project
  • legal name of the organization applying for funding
  • date submitted

B. Executive summary

The executive summary must address the major elements of the Proposal, including:

  • a short description of the project including project location, project scope, major activities and timelines
  • the total project cost, total eligible and ineligible expenditures, total federal funding amount requested under NTCF, and all sources of funding for the project including the contributions made by other parties
  • a summary of the primary project objectives, briefly explaining how they align with the NTCF program objectives
  • a brief outline of the performance indicators that would be used to assess success in meeting both the project and NTCF program objectives

C. Applicant information

The applicant needs to demonstrate that it has the capacity and expertise necessary to ensure the delivery of the project. Provide the following information.

C.1 Applicant organization

Provide the following information:

  • full legal name and legal status of the applicant organization
  • name and position of the primary and secondary contact for the organization who are authorized to advise and make decisions and representations on the project
  • mailing address, telephone number and e-mail address
  • organization's mandate, its role in the project and why it is best suited to undertake the project
  • eligible recipient category under which the applicant qualifies to receive funding from the NTCF
  • authorizations that provide the applicant and/or the contact the authority to submit this request and/or implement the project, and/or represent the applicant

C.2 Project team

This section should demonstrate the applicant's ability (in terms of financial resources, personnel and expertise) to complete the project and resolve issues that may arise during the project life-cycle. The information provided should include:

  • name of the designated project manager and, as applicable, the project team with all the necessary contact information (name, position title, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address)
  • evidence that the project manager and key staff have the relevant qualifications and experience to undertake, manage and carry out the project on behalf of the organization
  • a description of the proposed project's governance structure, including any partners, their role and how they would contribute to the project
  • any partner organization's legal name, address and point of contact

D. Project description

This section describes the issue(s) that would be addressed by the project, the project scope and activities and how they are relevant in achieving NTCF program objectives. Provide the following information.

D.1 Project background

  • Describe the existing conditions, constraints or weaknesses (e.g., current travel time delays, traffic volumes of goods and people, level of service, frequency of accidents etc.) that will be improved by project implementation
  • Provide a condition assessment of the present infrastructure, facility or equipment, as applicable
  • Describe any work that has already been completed in relation to this project, by both the applicant or by other stakeholders
  • Provide any other relevant background information

D.2 Project rationale

  • Describe the implications, as they related to the relevant NTCF program objectives, of the project not being implemented (i.e., the "do nothing" option)
  • Describe how the proposed project would respond to the demonstrated need including how the project aligns with the relevant NTCF program objectives
  • State how the project overlaps, supports or enhances any aspect of previous and/or planned work
  • Include a summary that quantifies forecasted improvements in the short-term (5 years) and longer-term (20 years) that would result from the project completion (e.g., travel time savings, annual traffic growth rates of goods and people, traffic patterns)

D.3 Alignment with NTCF program objectives

  • Clearly explain how the project aligns with the NTCF program objectives as described in Part 1 of this guide
  • TC will use Table 2 in Part 2, Section 2 of this document to evaluate how a proposal aligns with the NTCF program objectives

D.4 Project scope

  • Present the overall work plan to ensure delivery of a quality project within the project timeframe and budget
  • Describe the major components and phases of the project, and present the corresponding scope of work and project activities including an indication of and include a work plan that demonstrates how the activities will be undertaken and by whom
  • Provide information related to any partners that will have roles and/or responsibilities to implement the project
  • Include relevant project maps, plans and/or diagrams

D.5 Work schedule

  • Provide the project start date and completion date, as well as the anticipated timelines for anticipated timelines for key milestones and major project activities
  • Describe project dependencies, interdependencies or hurdles to implementing the project
  • Provide the timelines for securing required permits and approvals, if applicable

Refer to Table 3 below for an example of a project schedule. As this is only an example, applicants should provide all applicable key milestones, relevant project activities and include the corresponding timelines.

Table 3: Project schedule example
Project activity and milestone Timelines
Start date Completion date
Project design and surveying    
Environmental assessment    
Aboriginal consultations    
Construction and other permits (specify)    
Tender call    
Start of construction    
Substantial completion    
Project completion    

D.6 Project delivery method

The proposal must include the current status of the project planning/design and timelines as well as how the project will be delivered (e.g., design-bid-build, design build, alternative financing and procurement method).

D.7 Performance measurement strategy

The performance measurement strategy is a very important component of the project Proposal. The results from these project evaluations will help to establish important lessons learned about the project itself and contribute to related Government of Canada evaluation exercises at the program funding level.

  1. Create a performance measurement strategy with expected project outcomes and/or outputs
  2. Using Table 4 below as an example, list these project outcomes/outputs
  3. Also using Table 4, for each specific outcome/output identify performance indicators, the current performance, the target performance after the completion of the project, the sources of the data, and the frequency the data will be collected
  4. Describe the methodology the applicant will use to measure the achievements of project goals and objectives
  5. Performance results should be provided as data and not as a summary of information
Table 4: Performance indicators measurement template
Outcomes/ outputs Performance indicator Current performance Performance target Source of data Data collection frequency

E. Funding rationale

The Proposal must include a rationale for federal funding, the context for why the project is important and how it strengthens the efficiency and resiliency of national trade corridors. It should include:

  1. an analysis of the benefits of the project/activities
  2. a demonstration of how the project aligns with local, regional and/or national transportation priorities
  3. an explanation of how the financial support of the Government of Canada and, if applicable, of other funding sources, is required to enable the implementation, enhance the scope or accelerate the timing of the proposed project/activities
  4. the data and sources used to support investment decisions

F. Project budget

The Proposal must include an expenditure breakdown by project activity and a cash flow forecast for all phases of the project delivery. For the following sections, please refer to Annex B – Eligible and ineligible expenditures.

F.1 Activity expenditure breakdown

Referring to Table 5 below as an example only, provide the following information:

  • the estimated total project cost, including all eligible and ineligible expenditures under the NTCF
  • a project/activity budget and cash flow forecast, including estimates for substantive phases of project delivery
  • a statement as to the accuracy and level of confidence of the cost estimates
  • a statement that the applicant will be responsible for all cost overruns
Table 5: Project activity expenditure breakdown example
Project activity Project costs by fiscal year
(April 1 – March 31)
Total 2018-19 2019-20 All future years
A – Ineligible expenditures by project activity and fiscal year
List all ineligible expenditures        
Ineligible expenditure A1
(e.g., cost before CA signed)
Ineligible activity A2
(e.g., legal fees)
Ineligible activity A3
(e.g., acquisition of land)
Total ineligible costs: $ Total A      
B – Eligible expenditures by project activity and fiscal year
List all eligible expenditures        
Eligible activity B1
(e.g., environmental assessment)
Eligible activity B2
(e.g., site preparation)
Eligible activity B3
(e.g., construction)
Total eligible costs: $ Total B      
Total project costs
(ineligible + eligible)
$ Total A + Total B        

F.2 Financial plan

Applicants must provide all of the following project information:

  1. a financial plan, including the disclosure of all sources of funding for the project (secured and anticipated) and the estimated cash flow per fiscal year, referring to Table 6 (below) as an example
  2. the requested NTCF contribution (refer to Annex C), the applicant's contribution to the project and any other sources of funding, including any other federal sources of funding
  3. evidence of the applicant's ability to fund upfront expenditures and operating costs (e.g., statements, letters of commitment, etc.)
  4. assurance of capacity to operate and maintain the service or infrastructure on a sustainable long-term basis
  5. a summary describing whether the project has the ability to generate revenue, how the fees would be collected and the anticipated annual revenue
Table 6: Project costs by funding source and fiscal year example
Funding partners Funding sources by fiscal year
(April 1 – March 31)
Funding source for the ineligible costs Secured funding (yes/no) 2018-19 2019-20 All future years Total
Any other sources of project funding (specify each)          
Total ineligible costs:          
Funding source for the eligible costs   2018-19 2019-20 All future years Total
NTCF contribution          
Any other sources of project funding (specify each)          
Total eligible costs:          
Total project cost          

F.3 Evidence of support

The Proposal must include a letter of intent from each partner organization indicating the type of financial or in-kind support being provided (to attach as Appendix B). As part of the review process, TC may contact partner organizations to confirm details provided and may request additional information. These letters must include:

  • contact information
  • a statement of intent or support for the proposed project
  • a description of the nature, extent, sources and valuations of in-kind contributions

The proposal should demonstrate that the proposed project is consistent with applicable federal, provincial, regional, or municipal planning documents, growth management plans and other, relevant guidance documents (e.g., land use plans, transportation master plans, etc.).

G. Project risks

The Proposal must include an overview of the project risks, the significance of their impact and likelihood, and the mitigation measures/strategies the organization plans to adopt.

  • Risks are uncertainties or constraints that may impact project completion within the proposed scope, timelines and budget. They often include short construction season, delayed permits or materials, lack of participation, etc. Clearly indicate the implications to the schedule if approval dates are delayed.
  • Mitigation measures are the planning and management activities that the organization will undertake in the course of the project to avoid these risks and reduce their consequences or impact on the project.

H. Cost-benefit analysis

The Proposal must demonstrate a sound analysis of the anticipated safety, efficiency, environmental, social, and international trade and commerce benefits of the project, as applicable.

If applicable, provide a summary of the cost-benefit analysis for the project, including:

  1. a description of the methodology used for the cost-benefit analysis
  2. the major benefits of the project (i.e., travel time savings; reduced safety costs, expanded capacity, sustainable development, how the local and/or regional community (both businesses and residents) benefit from the project etc.)
  3. the net present value, internal rate of return and net cost-benefit ratio
  4. a sensitivity analysis
  5. the evaluation period (use 30 years) and discount rate (use 10%)

The Proposal must identify any legal or regulatory requirements that apply to the project, demonstrate that the project will adhere to all applicable federal legislation, and indicate the status and estimated timelines of any approval/permits/licenses that are required.

I.1 Preliminary environmental review

The information to be provided in this section relates to Government of Canada requirements under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) and will be used to establish potential future environment assessment requirements.

Applicants are required to complete a preliminary environmental review of their project by answering the questions found in Table 7 below.

You may also refer to the Regulations Designating Physical Activities.

Table 7 – Preliminary environmental review table
Identification of environmental assessment requirements

1. Does the project (either in full or in part), include one or more physical activities that are designated by Regulations Designating Physical Activities? (Yes/No)

  • If yes, has a project description been submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency? (Yes/No)
    • If yes, please indicate:
      • Project type:
      • Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry (CEAR) #:

2. Does the project (either in full or in part) require a provincial environmental assessment? (Yes/No/To be determined)

  • If yes, please describe:
    • Provincial process:
    • Start date:
    • End date:
    • Result:

3. Does the project (either in full or in part) require an environmental assessment under a northern regime? (Yes/No/To be determined)

  • If yes, please describe
    • Northern process:
    • Start date:
    • End date:
    • Result:
Projects with federal land requirements under Section 67 of CEAA 2012

4. Will the project (either full or in part) to be carried out on federal lands? (Yes/No)

  • If yes, please indicate
    • The federal land administrator (department or agency with contact information)
    • Description of federal lands (attach map if available)
    • Indicate if the entire project footprint located on federal lands (Yes/No)
      • If no, please indicate the portions that will take place on federal lands.
    • Indicate if an environmental evaluation has been completed that includes effects on any identified federal lands (Yes/No).
      • If yes, please provide a date:
    • Indicate if other CEAA 2012 authorities are involved in the project (Yes/No):
      • If yes, please list:

I.2 Climate change adaptation and resilience assessment

To support the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, proposal submitted to the NTCF are required to complete the following two sets of questions. This section elaborates how considerations related to climate change adaptation and resilience, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been factored into the project.

The questions in Table 8 below are designed to capture information related to the Proposal's consideration of current and future changes in climate and extreme weather events. Applicants are asked to document:

  • whether, and the degree to which, the project takes into account vulnerabilities associated with climate change and extreme weather
  • the applicant's approach to identifying risks and vulnerabilities (e.g., use of climate projections, experts, research/publications), and findings (vulnerabilities of greatest concern)
  • what, if any, adjustments in design, operation or monitoring of the infrastructure were or will be made as a result

To get a sense of the climate risks relevant to the Canadian transportation sector, proponents are invited to read Climate Risks and Adaptation Practices for the Canadian Transportation Sector 2016.

Table 8 – Climate change adaptation and resilience assessment table
Question 1

Have you considered vulnerabilities associated with climate change and extreme weather events in your Proposal?

Question 2

What sources of information were consulted (e.g., climate projections, experts, research/publications) and why? Please explain.

Question 3

Describe the extreme weather events and/or changes in climate variables that pose key risks to the project, and identify the associated vulnerabilities. What aspects of the proposed project were deemed to be most at risk from climate change and extreme weather events over the expected design life?

Question 4

How does the Proposal address the key risks and vulnerabilities noted in your answer to Question 3? Were specific measures integrated into the project design to reduce climate risks?

  • If yes, please describe, in table or bullet format. Please include information such as the design component, design value without factoring in climate change, change in design value when factoring in the future climate, etc.
  • If no measures were taken, please explain why not.

I.3 Greenhouse gas emissions analysis

All Proposals are to answer the questions found in Table 9 below regarding the impact of the project on GHG emissions, and the actions that the project will take to mitigate emissions from the delivery of the project. The level of analysis undertaken should commensurate with the requested funding amount.

Table 9 – Greenhouse gas emissions analysis table
Question 1

Does the project support a longer term reduction in GHG emissions from transportation sources compared to a scenario where the project is not carried out?

  • If yes, describe how the project is expected to contribute to a reduction in fuel consumed and associated GHG emissions from transportation sources relative to a no-project scenario.
    • Examples may include but are not limited to: reduced wasted fuel from more efficient traffic flow/reduced congestion/idling of engines, more efficient transfer of goods between modes, reduction of fuel consumption due to increased transfer of shipments by less emissions-intensive transportation modes. Note: projects that increase road capacity generally can lead to induced traffic and do not result in traffic congestion relief, unless they are part of a transportation management strategy involving other measures to reduce congestion, fuel consumption and GHG emissions.
  • If no, indicate if the project is not expected to have a discernable impact on emissions from transportation sources, or describe if the project is expected to result in an increase in emissions from transportation sources and the significance of this increase
Question 2

Does the project take action to reduce direct or indirect GHG emissions during the construction and maintenance of the project?

  • If yes, describe what actions the project will take to reduce emissions directly or indirectly caused by construction and/or maintenance of the project. If emissions directly related to the project have been estimated, please include details or attach analysis.
    • Examples: use of alternative lower-carbon fuels, reduced idling, minimized traffic disruption, locally sourced materials, etc.
  • If no, please indicate if any actions were considered and why they are not part of the project.
Question 3

Does the project support the reduction of other environmental impacts, such as emissions of local air pollutants?

  • If yes, please describe, with as much detail as possible

I.4 Aboriginal consultations

The federal government has a legal duty to consult and, where appropriate, accommodate Indigenous groups when its conduct might adversely impact potential or established Aboriginal or Treaty rights. Through consultation, the Crown seeks to strengthen relationships and partnerships with Aboriginal peoples and move towards reconciliation. Third parties, such as proponents, do not have a legal obligation to consult. However, the Crown may delegate to a proponent such aspects of consultation as the gathering of information about the impact of the proposed project on potential or established Aboriginal or Treaty rights. The information collected by a proponent can be used by the federal government in its decision making process. Therefore, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit the following information to facilitate any Crown consultation as well as any decision-making that may arise:

  • description of completed/ongoing/planned consultation with Aboriginal groups
  • description of communications, if any, to date with Aboriginal groups
  • summary of any issues or concerns that the Aboriginal groups have raised and a description of how the applicant has addressed or proposes to address these issues or concerns

J. Declarations

J.1 Conflict of interest

Applicants must indicate any employee or major shareholder who is a former public office holder (as defined by the Parliament of Canada Act) or public officer (as defined by the Financial Administration Act). If that person left the federal government within the last twelve months, indicate whether that person was at an executive level or above.

Applicants must provide the following assurances as part of the Proposal application:

  • No former public servant, who is not in compliance with the Values and Ethics Code for Public Servants, shall derive benefits from the CA
  • No former public office holder, who is not in compliance with the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders, shall derive a direct benefit from the CA
  • No member of the House of Commons of Canada shall be admitted to any share or part of the CA or to any benefit to arise there from

J.2 Applicant declaration

The Proposal must include the following declaration, signed by a duly authorized person:

I/we, the undersigned, hereby certify that:

  • All information provided to TC in support of this request for NTCF funding is true and complete
  • If funding requested in this application is approved, the funds will be spent solely for the project and activities described in this application
  • I/we provide consent to TC to make necessary credit and other enquiries in support of this application





Annex A – Contribution Agreement

Contributions under the NTCF are subject to performance conditions specified in a Contribution Agreement (CA). In order to receive federal NTCF funding, a CA must be signed by both the recipient and Transport Canada (TC). The agreement will state the terms and conditions under which the Government of Canada will provide funding for the project.

Project scope

The applicant's Proposal will form the foundation to define the project scope, mandatory legal documentation, clauses, terms and conditions, performance measurements and payment structure in the formal CA.

It is very important to clearly define the scope of the project in the application because the recipient will be responsible for:

  • completing the project according to the defined scope within the timelines in the application
  • covering any cost overruns above the budget identified in the application
  • covering all costs associated with work performed outside the approved scope of a project

Failure to complete the project complete scope will result in a corresponding reduction of the federal contribution.

Reporting requirements

Each CA will set out reporting requirements, including progress reports and a final report.

  • Progress reports: TC may require recipients to submit progress reports describing the progress achieved at specific intervals.
  • Final report: When the project is complete, recipients must submit a final claim for reimbursement along with a final report. The final report serves as a verification of all project activities, costs and outcomes. Under the funding agreement, TC must receive the final report before it pays the final claim for reimbursement.

Contract provisions

The CA will require the recipient to satisfy the Government of Canada with respect to having a competitive and transparent tendering process for the project and to comply with the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.

Intellectual property

While any intellectual property resulting from the work will remain with the recipient, by submitting a Proposal, the applicant agrees that TC may:

  • summarize and publish information about findings that are not commercially sensitive, on its website and/or in hard-copy form, as information for the transportation sector and as guidance for future activities in the transportation sector
  • use all information and material developed under the terms of the CA, except for commercially sensitive information and findings, during and after the term of the agreement
  • share the applicant's Proposal with the Canada Infrastructure Bank for further consideration

Communications protocol

The CA will include a communications protocol, outlining requirements for joint communications activities, such as public information products, news releases, public announcements, other joint events and official languages.

Performance reporting

TC must be provided with meaningful performance data that demonstrates the impact and results of the project. The CA will include requirements for the recipient to collect data to assess progress against the desired outcomes. Performance results should be provided as data and not as a summary of information.

Annex B – Eligible and ineligible expenditures

Eligible expenditures

Contributions will be made towards eligible expenditures directly related to eligible projects that, in the opinion of the Minister of Transport or his delegated representative, are reasonable, required to achieve the objectives and outcomes of the NTCF program, and have been incurred on or after the signing of a Contribution Agreement, including, but not restricted to, the following:

  • expenditures related to preparation (for example, site preparation), construction, rehabilitation and improvement of assets
  • professional fees for contracted servicesFootnote *
  • costs of engineering and environmental reviews, including environmental assessments, follow-up programs, and the cost of remedial activities, mitigation measures and follow-up identified in any environmental assessmentFootnote *
  • costs of environmental consultationsFootnote *
  • expenditures for Aboriginal consultations, specifically project-related consultation activities pursuant to the Crown's legal duty to consultFootnote *
  • expenditures related to public outreach and Indigenous engagement, dissemination of information, communications materials and other associated costsFootnote *
  • staff salaries and benefits such as: wages; employer's portion of: Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan/Quebec Pension Plan, and disability insurance; private insurance; and benefits paid to staff working on the project/activities where the recipient can demonstrate value for money
  • expenditures related to telecommunication, data analysis, and data validation services
  • purchase or lease of technologies, equipment, software, data and systems
  • licenses and permits
  • training costs related to new technologies, equipment, software and systems
  • travel expenditures (including the cost of accommodations, vehicle rental and kilometric rates, bus, train, airplane or taxi fares, allowances for meals and incidentals in accordance with established policies and directives)Footnote *
  • administrative expenditures (including expenditures for general administration, rent, insurance and office equipment rental)Footnote *
  • rental of meeting rooms and audio/video equipmentFootnote *
  • hospitality, in accordance with federal government policies and directivesFootnote * (expenditures related to hospitality are eligible but must form part of the recipient's share of the total eligible expenditures for the project)
  • honoraria payments for Indigenous persons
  • for projects administered as a P3, expenditures for the development of a P3 business case and other costs related to the delivery of a project through a P3

Where TC's contribution is less than 100% of the total eligible expenditures, the above eligible expenditures may include those associated with in-kind contributions. In-kind contributions may take the form of:

  • goods, services or assets consumed by the recipient for which costs are incurred and no cash is exchanged
  • donations of goods, services or assets to the recipient, for which no costs are incurred and no cash is exchanged

Donations are not eligible for reimbursement but may form part of the recipient's share of the total eligible expenditures for the project/activities.

Ineligible expenditures

Certain costs are not eligible for funding, therefore applicants must not include them in the calculation of the total eligible costs of the proposed project. These ineligible expenditures include, but are not limited to:

  • costs incurred before the signing of the Contribution Agreement and after the project completion date with the exception of expenditures related to audit and evaluation requirements pursuant to the agreement
  • expenditures related to purchasing land, buildings and associated real estate and other fees, financing charges and interest payments on loans
  • expenditures related to leasing land, buildings, and other facilities except for equipment directly relating to the construction of the project
  • legal fees
  • expenditures related to developing a business case or proposal for funding
  • taxes for which the recipient or a third party is eligible for a tax rebate and all other costs eligible for rebates
  • general repairs and maintenance of a project work and related structures, unless they are part of a larger capital expansion project
  • services or works normally provided by the applicant (e.g., employee wages, benefits, overhead costs or any other direct or indirect operating, maintenance or administrative costs) incurred in the course of implementation of the project except those specified as eligible costs
  • expenditures related to any goods and services which are received through donations or in kind

Annex C – NTCF maximum contribution

The amount of funding provided under NTCF will take into consideration other sources of funding (including funding from other Canadian government entities) available to the recipient and will be subject to the eligibility expenditures, and maximum amounts payable for the program.

The maximum contribution amount requested per project must not exceed $500,000,000. The maximum level of total Canadian government funding (municipal, provincial, territorial and federal) authorized by this program's terms and conditions must not exceed 100% of total eligible expenditures for any project.

To ensure that NTCF funding commitments are the minimum necessary to complete eligible project activities, Transport Canada's maximum contribution will be up to 50% of the total eligible expenditures for a project, with the following exceptions:

  • public-private partnerships (P3) projects where the maximum contribution will be up to 33% of the total eligible expenditures
  • transportation projects in the Territories, where the maximum contribution will be up to 75% of the total eligible expenditures
  • projects with Federal Crown Corporations where the maximum contribution will be up to 100% of the total eligible expenditures
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