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This section contains everything you need to know to apply for a CIRA Community Investment Program grant. Our call for grant applications is now open. 

Project requirements

Please use these guidelines to determine if your project is a good fit:

  • Demonstrated alignment with CIRA’s Community Investment Program funding areas: Infrastructure, Digital Literacy, Cybersecurity, Community Leadership
  • Preference is given to initiatives that benefit:
    • Students (kindergarten to grade 12 and post-secondary)
    • Northern, rural and Indigenous communities
  • Project is innovative, featuring new methods and an original, creative approach
  • Project is appropriately and realistically planned with clearly-defined activities, outputs, outcomes and impacts
  • Project outputs are open and available for anyone to use, share and build upon  
  • Budget is reasonable

Additional considerations:

  • Applicant demonstrates investment in the project (people resources and/or financial contribution)
  • Applicant has brought partners to the project, leveraging additional resources and mitigating risk

Key dates

March 2, 2021
Application period opens

March 9, 2021
1 p.m. ET Applicant Webinar. Watch it here

April 14, 2021
2 p.m. ET Application period closes

July 2021
Applicants informed of application outcome

Evaluation criteria

Projects will be evaluated by our Community Investment Evaluation Committee and given a score out of 100.

The committee evaluates your application based on these criteria:

Project Evaluation Criteria

% Score


  • Intended Canadian beneficiaries are clearly articulated.
  • Preference to initiatives that benefit:
    • Students (kindergarten to grade 12, and post-secondary)
    • Northern, rural and Indigenous communities


Project Plan

  • Project activities and outputs document a cohesive plan with sufficient relevant detail that can be reasonably completed in the proposed project time frame.
  • Project team includes sufficient leadership, project management experience and organisational capacity to deliver activities and outputs, as well as an adequate mix of skills and expertise to meet specific project implementation demands.



  • Project outcomes are specific, achievable and can be measured, and the intended project impact is realistic.



  • Project clearly demonstrates an innovative approach.



  • Project can be sustained beyond the end of the CIRA funding.



  • Budget is reasonable given the scope and activities of the proposed project, and includes all costs with sufficient detail to understand the requirements to deliver the project.
  • Budget shows contributions from other sources and/or the applicant.
  • Projects cannot include ongoing operating funding for an organization, however up to 15% project administration costs are eligible.
  • The request should be reasonable within the context of the organization’s operating budget.





Eligibility review and application deadline

Eligibility review is a key part of the process that takes place before your application can move forward. For each application received, CIRA staff check the applicant’s status, alignment with funding areas and completeness of documentation. 

Applicants are informed within two days regarding any eligibility issues and missing or incomplete information. Applicants are required to provide missing or incomplete information by the deadline or their application cannot be considered.

Your completed Community Investment Program online application form with all required attachments, including any follow-up information required by CIRA after the eligibility review, must be received by Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 2 pm ET. The system automatically closes at the deadline and applications received after the deadline will not be accepted.

Submit your application as early as possible to ensure sufficient time for your documentation to be reviewed before the system closes. Your application must be complete and all of your supporting documentation must be submitted by the deadline for your application to be accepted and move forward for review by the Committee.

All applications are acknowledged by e-mail upon receipt.

Please note that:

  • Applicants should not incur any costs prior to the grant being approved. Any encouragement by CIRA for you to submit an application is not a guarantee of support.
  • To be fair to all applicants, CIRA does not provide one-on-one application-specific advice. Applicants are welcome to attend the applicant webinar on March 9 at 1 p.m. ET to learn more about the application process, or view the recording online afterward. Register here

Preparing your submission

Review these guidelines before completing the online application form:

Materials to gather before you apply

As part of the application process, you must provide the following materials through our online application system. Please read through this list to ensure you have time to prepare everything before the submission deadline.

All of these documents must be completed and submitted with your application form by April 14, 2021 at 2PM ET.

Proof of eligibility. Examples of proof can include:

  • Documentation confirming your not-for-profit incorporation (e.g., articles of incorporation) and your charitable status, if applicable. Please note that tax forms are not valid. For academic researchers: a letter confirming you are employed by the academic institution.

Non-profit organizations and charities must provide:

  • a Board of Directors list with contact information, including organizational affiliation and title, email address and phone number;
  • a copy of the most recent audited financial statements; and
  • a current year 12-month operating budget (i.e., a budget that covers the current calendar year till at least December 2021).

If your organization does not have audited financial statements, you can submit your most recent financial statements if they are prepared or reviewed by an accountant and signed by two members of your board of directors.

An operating budget shows forecasted revenues against organizational expenses over the course of a year. The operating budget you submit should cover the next 12 months, or 24 months if your request exceeds $100K.

Universities and colleges are not required to provide their organizational budgets, but they must provide a CV for the lead researcher.

The Community Investment Evaluation Committee will receive and review only the application form and attachments we have requested.

Application form questions    

All questions are available for reference in the sample application form, which includes project budget sheet details.  

Tips for completing your online application

Before you begin:

  • We recommend using the most up to date version of Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. Previous versions of Internet Explorer may result in errors or compatibility issues.
  • Ensure the internet "cookies" are enabled on your browser.

Important: system emails

Emails will be automatically generated as part of the application process from [email protected].  Please do the following to make sure you receive all of these important emails:

  • Review your daily digest quarantine reports for emails from the system that have been quarantined.
  • If you have a system administrator, ask them to add the IP address to your anti-spam software (

Data entry tips:

Save as you go!

There is no time limit when entering data in the online application. You may lose your information, however, if you use the browser navigation buttons or close your browser window without using the “Save” function.

The “Save” option is provided so you can save your information as you complete the form or if you do not wish to complete the entire application in one sitting. If you click “save & continue editing” it will stay on the same page. Choosing “next” will also save the information and move you to the next page. If you decide to close your browser after saving, you will be able to return to your application tasks and continue editing. 

Click “Submit”

IMPORTANT: When the application is complete, including all the relevant documentation, you must click the Submit button to ensure your application reaches us. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address listed for the contact person in the application. Make sure to check your junk email folder or spam filter if the confirmation email is not received within a few minutes of submitting your application. 


Contact us with your questions

These Application Guidelines should answer most of your questions. Please read them carefully. If you have any other questions about the process, please email [email protected] or call 1-877-860-1411 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. ET Monday to Friday.

If you have additional technical questions, issues with uploading, or experience difficulty in submitting your online application, please contact  You will usually receive a response within 24 hours.

Decision Process

  1. CIRA staff review all applications to ensure completeness and eligibility.
  2. Only complete applications from eligible entities received by the deadline are forwarded to the Community Investment Evaluation Committee for consideration.
  3. The Committee meets to review the applications and selects projects for funding based on the established selection criteria and available funding.
  4. The Committee presents their recommendations to the CIRA Board of Directors, which makes the final decisions.
  5. Approval letters and contracts are sent to successful recipients in July. Once contracts are signed, funds are released.
  6. CIRA staff communicate with applicants who were not successful in July.

If you are awarded a grant

If your project is selected for a grant, CIRA requires the following:

  • Written approval from CIRA prior to any alterations in the project plan or timeline;
  • Interim reporting, if stipulated in the grant agreement;
  • A final report that presents actual project results against the original project plan submitted in your application;
  • Appropriate acknowledgement of CIRA’s Community Investment Program support in communication materials and events as outlined in the grant agreement.

Detailed terms and conditions are provided in the project contract agreement between CIRA and the selected recipient.

Final report (required within three months of project completion)

The final report asks the recipient to outline their project activities, outcomes (both qualitative and quantitative) and learnings. Grant recipients are also required to report on their actual revenues and expenses as compared to their budget and explain any variances. Please refer to this sample report to learn what is expected.

At the end of the grant period, if there are unspent funds, CIRA will request the surplus funds within 30 days.

Community Investment Evaluation Committee

CIRA’s Community Investment Evaluation Committee reviews all eligible applications to select a set of projects to recommend to CIRA’s Board of Directors for funding. The Committee is made up of four board members and a selection of representatives active in the Canadian internet community. The Committee is appointed by the CIRA Board of Directors and recommended by CIRA’s Governance Committee.