Canada Digital Adoption Program

Fund Your Digital Projects with the

Canada Digital Adoption Program

Access $24,700 in government funding for a $1,500 investment and up to $100,000 in interest-free loans.

What is the CDAP Grant?

The Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) is a government initiative to help small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) adopt new digital technologies. The Canadian government has committed $4 billion to the program over the next four years.

If you’re a registered, incorporated business in Canada with at least one full-time equivalent employee, you’re likely eligible for one or both grants.

How much is the CDAP grant?

The CDAP grant is composed of two streams, a microgrant and the larger Boost Your Business Technology grant with stricter eligibility criteria.

Stream 1:
Grow Your Business Online

  • $2,400 microgrant to reimburse for costs related to web design, SEO, social media, databases and more.
  • Covers hiring a digital marketing agency to plan and implement initiatives.
  • Non e-commerce companies are eligible.

Stream 2:
Boost Your Business Technology

  • Up to $15,000 to cover 90% of the costs of hiring an approved advisor to develop a digital plan – you pay $1,500 to pay an advisor the $16,500 for the strategy plan.
  • $7,300 in wage subsidies to hire Canadian youth to implement the plan.
  • $100,000 in interest-free loans for implementation of the plan.

Where can I find a CDAP Digital Advisor?

For Stream 2, SEMs must work with an approved digital advisor registered with CDAP. These are organizations that meet and maintains all of the required criteria to deliver digital advisory services. Approved advisors are required to provide vendor neutral advice and are subject to CDAP’s Code of Conduct. They will work with eligible SMEs to digital adoption plans which are required to meet the minimum viable elements identified in the CDAP digital adoption plan guide.

Big Cedar is a registered CDAP Digital Advisor.

 A listing of all CDAP digital advisors is available in the program’s marketplace after approval of the CDAP grant.

Which stream is right for my business?

The official program site has a Grant Assessment Tool with these questions to determine which is right for you:

  1. Do you have between 1 and 499 employees?
  2. Which sector is your business in?
  3. Where is your head office located?
  4. What are you looking to do?
  5. Did you have annual revenues between $500,000 and $100,000,000 in any of the past three tax years?

 

Stream 1 is intended for customer-facing businesses who haven’t yet adopted digital tech or are looking to improve, with funding to support up to 90,000 businesses. This microgrant of $2,400 does not have the minimum revenue requirement.

Stream 2 is designed to help up to 70,000 SMEs adopt new digital technologies and strategies as part of an adoption plan, so the grant is much larger. It’s best suited for enterprises with high operational costs and the business is in need of capital and outside, independent expertise to move technology forward.

CDAP DNA screenshot

What costs are eligible? How can the CDAP grant benefit my company?

Stream 1 benefits most businesses looking to improve their technology.

Businesses are paired with a government appointed advisor who will work with you to determine where to invest your funds. 

The microgrant can be spent on a variety of tech initiatives. Eligible costs include website upgrades, web design, search engine optimization (SEO), eCommerce implementation, online reservation and bookings, social media support, digital advertising, and fees for eCommerce platforms and software including a portion of POS systems. See a list of eligible and ineligible expenses on the Small Business BC program page.

Originally the grant was to hire only a government supplied student “e-Commerce advisor”, but as of June 2022 this has opened up to allow the hiring of digital marketing consultants and agencies.

Stream 2 is to be used to retain an approved CDAP digital advisor to analyze the current state and create a plan and recommendations for implementation. It differs from Stream 1 in that the funds are to develop the plan only, and not for implementation. If you choose to work with Big Cedar for this grant stream, we are currently offering a $1,000 credit towards implementation services. The grant is to be used towards:
  • Providing support during the grant application process to maximize funding.
  • Completing a digital needs assessment to review your operations, current technology and business strategy to identify where you can benefit most and what to prioritize.
  • Research and recommend technology solutions to fit your business and budget, including a cost / benefit analysis of the top options. Some areas Big Cedar has expertise in are marketing automation, CRM, booking systems, marketing strategy, analytics, Google Workspace integration, eCommerce and SAAS / platform recommendations.
  • Developing a comprehensive digital strategy and implementation roadmap with steps, timelines, and resources to achieve your business objectives.

What's the process? How much time does this take?

For the Boost Your Business Technology grant of $15,000 + $7,300 for a student work placement:
  • 20 minute application (must be completed by the owner or a director)
  • 2 hours onboarding
  • 30 minutes to provide digital access
  • 4-6 weeks to develop the plan
  • 2-4 hours presentation of findings and assessments
  • 1-2 hours to hire a student
  • 30 minutes to apply for the BDC loan (optional and done online)

CDAP FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm confused. Two streams, two grants?

It’s a government grant and it has been confusing for all involved.

Simply put, if you have at least one FTE employee you’re likely eligible for the $2,400 Stream 1 grant, which can be spent in many ways (link to SBBC). 

If you have revenues >$500k in any of the past 3 years, you can also apply for the $15,000 CDAP Stream 2. Unlike the Launch Online and SMB Grants before it, this grant has stricter requirements on eligible costs and is designed to create a plan, and you’re fast tracked for a 0% loan after to implement that plan.

Can I work with any company that offers digital services?

For Stream 1, yes. For Stream 2, only government-approved digital advisors like Big Cedar can provide services.

Can I use the funds towards SEO, ads or building a website?

We’ve created plans with the biggest findings with:
  • SEO Audits and Website Evaluations
  • Content Marketing Strategy
  • Competitor Analysis and Opportunity Strategy
  • Google Ads Strategy
  • Analytics Strategy with Google Analytics (GA4)
  • Process Audits and Automation
The funds for the CDAP Grant Stream 2 can only be used to create the Digital Adoption Plan, and is not for implementation or software or ad costs. From the Canada Digital Adoption Plan and Guide: “The SME and the digital advisor will work together to develop a digital adoption plan that meets the CDAP requirements. Upon completion, the SME will upload their completed digital adoption plan and invoice to the CDAP portal. Once accepted, the grant will be issued to the SME. With a digital adoption plan in hand, the SME is now eligible to access a zero-interest loan from the BDC as well as a subsidized youth work placement to implement their plan and adopt new digital tools for their business.” We realize this is not often the way professional services work – typically a consultant or agency is hired to do the research, create a plan, and then execute the plan. Book a call with us and we’ll explain further. If you do choose us to create your CDAP plan with us, we can offer a $1,000 credit towards implementation services.

What experience does Big Cedar have in providing digital adoption plans?

In addition to developing marketing strategies, web design, and SEO services, we pride ourselves in finding the best technologies for our clients and their budgets.  We’re not just marketers – we’re technologists with 14 years experience consulting for small businesses and Fortune 500 companies. We’ve researched, recommended and implemented systems including:
  • Reporting and automated document creation via Excel, Google Sheets and databases
  • eCommerce setup and integrations
  • Content marketing and SEO strategies
  • Email marketing and social media strategy & automation
  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) databases
  • HRIS (Human Resource Information Systems) – virtual timesheets, payroll
  • Project / Task Management (i.e. Trello, Asana, Notion)
  • Integrations with systems such as Google Workspace, Outlook, QuickBooks, AirTable and more using Zapier or directly through API’s.

Is it difficult to apply for the Canada Digital Adoption grants?

The federal government has simplified the grant application process, compared to previous grants like the SMB and Launch Online grants. They’ve said they’re trying to get this money out as fast as they can, as easy as they can. The application takes less than 20 minutes.

When are applications for the CDAP grant open?

Applications opened in January 2022 and the program is set to run for four years, with a review after one year.

How long does the application process take?

The program administrators have said that most applications take a few days to two weeks to review and approve, but they’re working on reducing this time to less than a day.

When will I receive funds?

Funds will be sent by the government to the SME within 30 days of uploading the completed digital adoption plan. 

SME’s are expected to work with advisors to come up with a deposit and payment structure. Talk to us about financing options.

Are there fees to apply for the grant?

No, it’s free to apply for and Big Cedar does not charge for assisting in the application process.

How long does it take to create a Digital Adoption Plan?

An SME has six months to accept the CDAP terms, then nine months to submit the Digital Adoption Plan to the government (see Section 3.2 of the Program Guide). Most plans are completed in less than two months.

Is my business eligible for the CDAP grant?

Do I need to have an e-commerce store to get either grant?​

No, though the wording makes it sound like the grant administrators prefer it. However we’ve worked with accounting firms and environmental consulting firms who have used it to boost their SEO, update their websites and create social media plans and their costs were approved.

Can Big Cedar help us apply for the CDAP grant?

Business owners or directors must apply for the grant, however we can walk you through the process.

Can I choose my own digital advisor?

For Stream 1, yes.

For stream 2, after approval applicants will have access to the CDAP Digital Advisor Marketplace, which is a searchable and filterable list of all registered digital advisors.
Big Cedar is on this approved list.

CDAP Canada Digital Adoption Plan Digital Advisor screenshot

Can I choose more than one digital advisor?

SMEs are able to reach out to any number of digital advisors, but can only work with one for Stream 2.

What is in a Digital Adoption Plan?

The Government of Canada requires these four elements in every plan:
  1. Executive summary: Provide a high-level summary of the key elements of this plan for the SME.
  2. Current state analysis: Provide an overview of key business information, such as their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, their external issues as well as key IS/IT information.
  3. Digital adoption analysis and recommendations: Identify a minimum of three potential digital/technology solutions for the SME to consider, including how each of those solutions will benefit the SME’s business.
  4. Implementation roadmap: Identify the key elements to implement the recommended options including timeline, dependencies, costs to acquire the technology, etc.
The plan may also include optional elements such as skill requirements and high-level requirements for each recommendation. See the Canada Digital Adoption Plan and Guide for more details. Source: CDAP Webinar (May 3, 2022)

Is Big Cedar an approved digital advisor for the CDAP program?

Yes, Big Cedar is a registered and approved advisor. Learn more about the requirements to be a CDAP digital advisor on the program site.

I’m not sure how to answer my Digital Maturity Assessment, can Big Cedar help?

We’d be happy to guide you through the assessment process. Book a call at the bottom of this FAQ!

Is it difficult to apply for the Canada Digital Adoption grants?

The federal government has simplified the grant application process, compared to previous grants like the SMB and Launch Online grants. They’ve said they’re trying to get this money out as fast as they can, as easy as they can. The application takes less than 20 minutes.

How are applicants chosen?

As with most government grants, if an application meets all eligibility requirements, grants are approved on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Only government-approved digital advisors can provide services for Stream 2.

Only government-approved digital advisors can provide services for Stream 2.