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Applying for a CIRA Grant

  1. Project requirements
  2. Key dates
  3. Evaluation criteria
  4. Eligibility review 
  5. Preparing your submission
  6. Sample application form
  7. Decision process
  8. If you are awarded a grant
  9. Sample final report
  10. Submit your application

Project requirements

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

  • Demonstrated alignment with CIRA’s funding areas: Infrastructure, Online Safety and Policy Engagement 
  • Preference is given to initiatives that benefit:
    • Northern, rural and Indigenous communities
    • Students (kindergarten to grade 12 and post-secondary)
  • 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, and preferably demonstrates in-kind contributions or other sources of funding
  • Project demonstrates engagement of community stakeholders in development, delivery, financing, etc.
  • Project outputs are durable and lasting beyond the end of the grant

Key dates

March 2, 2023

Application period opens

March 7, 2023

1 p.m. ET Applicant webinar

April 12, 2023

2 p.m. ET Application period closes

July 2023

Applicants informed of application outcome

Evaluation criteria

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

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
  • Demonstrated engagement of beneficiaries in project development.
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 organizational capacity to deliver activities and outputs, as well as an adequate mix of skills and expertise to meet specific project implementation demands.
  • Project is sufficiently unique from projects funded in the past by CIRA (2019 onwards, project list here).
  • Project takes environmental sustainability into account.

  • 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.
  • CIRA-specific expenses are identified.
  • Budget shows contributions from other sources and/or the applicant.
  • Budget does not 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.
Community Support

  • Project is community-led, demonstrates community ownership and contributes towards long-term community development.
  • Project shows clear engagement by community stakeholders in development, delivery, financing, etc.
  • Letter(s) of support from community partners and/or beneficiaries are provided.
Outcomes and Sustainability

  • Project outcomes are specific, achievable and can be measured, and the intended project impact is realistic.
  • Project achievements and/or value can be sustained beyond the end of the CIRA funding.
Total /100


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 12, 2023 at 2 p.m. 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 Panel.

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 7 at 1 p.m. ET to learn more about the application process, or view the recording online afterward. Register here to attend.

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. These documents must be completed and submitted with your application form by April 12, 2023 at 2 p.m. ET.

Proof of eligibility. Examples of proof can include:

  • Documentation confirming your community or 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/Band Council list with contact information, including organizational affiliation and title, email address and phone number
  • Letter(s) of support from community partners and/or community participants you expect to benefit from your project
  • A copy of the most recent audited financial statements
  • Current year 12-month operating budget (i.e., a budget that covers the current calendar year, January – December 2023).

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.

Universities and colleges must provide: 

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 Panel 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 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 junk mail or spam to check for emails from the application system that may have been caught.
  • 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.


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 Panel for consideration
  3. The Panel meets to review the applications and selects projects for funding based on the established selection criteria and available funding
  4. The Panel 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 grant 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.

If there are unspent funds upon project completion, CIRA will request the surplus funds within 30 days.


Community Investment Evaluation Panel

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


Submit your application

When you’re ready to apply, click the button below.

Apply for a CIRA grant


These 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.