Canada Digital Adoption Program
Updated December 8, 2023The 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 into 2025.If your business has greater than $500,000 revenue in one of the prior three years and at least one full-time equivalent employee, you’re likely eligible for both CDAP Stream 1 and Stream 2 grants.If you don’t meet that revenue requirement but have least $30,000 revenue and are registered business in Canada (sole proprietorship or incorporated), you’re eligible for the CDAP Stream 1 grant (the FTE employee requirement was dropped October 18, 2022).Below we’ll cover eligible costs, which grant requires a CDAP Digital Advisor, and a timeline of the process from application to loan, with links to apply. You can also skip to the updated CDAP FAQ.
The CDAP grant is composed of two streams, a microgrant which most companies with at least one employee are eligible for, and the larger Boost Your Business Technology grant with stricter eligibility criteria.
For CDAP Stream 2, SMEs must work with an approved digital advisor registered with CDAP. These are organizations that meet and maintain 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 work with eligible SMEs to create digital adoption plans that 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.
The official program site has a Grant Assessment Tool with these questions to determine which is right for you:
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 has a requirement of $30,000 revenue in the most recent tax year. Sole proprietors are eligible. Visit our guide of the CDAP Stream 1 application process (with screenshots).
Stream 2 is the larger grant and is designed to help SMEs adopt new digital technologies and strategies as part of an adoption plan. It’s best suited for businesses with high operational costs and the business is in need of capital and outside, independent expertise to move technology and digital marketing forward.
Stream 1 benefits most businesses looking to improve their technology.
Businesses are paired with a government appointed advisor (not to be confused with a CDAP Advisor for Stream 2) 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 our CDAP Stream 1 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 for up to $15,000 is a reimbursement grant to hire an approved CDAP Digital Advisor to analyze the current situation, and then create a plan and recommendations for implementation of new technologies. 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 credit towards implementation services. Contact us for more details.
The grant is to be used towards:
The typical process for the $15,000 Stream 2 Boost Your Business Technology grant :
Applications are through the official Canada Digital Adoption Program website:
Big Cedar can work with you to select the right CDAP stream(s) and assist you in preparing and submitting the applications. We’ve been approved by the federal government in advising Canadian SMEs under the CDAP program.
For questions on eligibility and what you can spend the grant on, contact one of the grant administrators. Here are a few options in BC and Ontario:
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s a government grant and it has been confusing for all involved.
Simply put, if you had $30,000 revenue last tax year and are a registered Canadian business, 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.
Not for Stream 2, but you still have time – this grant is open through 2025. Until then, apply for CDAP Stream 1.
For Stream 1, yes. For Stream 2, only government-approved digital advisors like Big Cedar can provide services.
We’ve created plans with the biggest impact through:
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.
As of November 2023, we’ve completed over 15 CDAP plans with a 100% success rate on first submission. Not all agencies have their plans approved, and some seedier ones have been banned from the program.
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 16 years experience consulting for small businesses and Fortune 500 companies. We’ve researched, recommended and implemented systems including:
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.
The Grow Your Business Online grant process is even quicker. See our simplified CDAP Stream 1 application guide for screenshots and time estimates.
Applications opened in January 2022 and the program is set to run for four years, with a review after one year.
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.
For Stream 2, the program admins have declared a service standard of 30 days. In reality, we’ve had clients’ plans approved in 2 to 6 weeks with the fund sent within days.
However an update to CDAP advisors was sent December 8, 2023 stating “it is taking 6-8 weeks for grant claim requests to be processed due to an increased volume of claims being submitted. CDAP has added resources to address these delays and the team is working diligently to return to our service standard of 30 days.”
SME’s are expected to work with advisors to come up with a deposit and payment structure. Talk to us about financing options.
No, it’s free to apply for and Big Cedar does not charge for assisting in the application process.
An SME has six months to accept the CDAP Stream 2 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 by us in 3-6 weeks.
Use the CDAP Program’s Grant Assessment Tool. Unlike other recent tech grants, you must have at least 1 full-time equivalent employee.
For questions on eligibility, the progress of your application and eligible spending categories, contact the grant administrators:
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.
Business owners, directors, or designated authorities must login to ISED and apply for the grant, however we can definitely walk you through the process!
For Stream 1, you’re assigned an E-Commerce advisor for at least one hour. Then you’re free to hire a consultant or agency.
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.
This optional loan is meant to be used to implement the plan. It’s based on annual gross revenues met at least once in the past three years:1. $500k to $5M revenue: loan between $25k-$50k2. $5M+ revenue: loan between $25k and $100k
The BDC CDAP loan:
This was a common concern amongst advisors as there appeared to be a conflict of interest.
However, this was cleared up on a March 2, 2023 webinar by CDAP explaining those are two separate businesses, and using BDC as your digital advisor does not improve your chances to get a loan.
And BDC’s advisors might be good at some things, but we hold our own in content and digital marketing strategies. 🙂
SMEs are able to reach out to any number of digital advisors, but can only work with one for Stream 2.
As with most government grants, if an application meets all eligibility requirements, grants are approved on a first-come, first-serve basis.
We’d be happy to guide you through the assessment process. Book a call at the bottom of this FAQ!
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.
If you need help, reach out to us!
Only government-approved digital advisors can provide services for Stream 2.
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