Contributions Program applicant’s guide 2016-17
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Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
This guide is designed to help applicants prepare a project proposal for funding under the Contributions Program of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC). Specific instructions for completing the application form as well as information about the assessment process are provided.
Academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations including industry associations and trade associations, are eligible under the Program for funding of research and related knowledge translation initiatives concerning the promotion of privacy and the protection of personal information. Eligible applicants include consumer, voluntary and advocacy organizations.
- For profit organizations
- Political parties and organizations involved in partisan political activity; and
- Current or former public office holders or public servants who are not in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Act, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service, the Lobbying Act, or any other relevant guidelines, principles or codes relating to conflict of interest or post-employment.
The deadline for receipt of applications is December 2, 2015, at 11:59 PM.
Please forward your application to the following address:
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Care of: Contributions Program
30 Victoria Street
Applicants should note that all information requested in the Guide, Application Form and Schedule B—Project Budget must be received by the Office before an application is considered complete.
Only complete applications received at the above noted coordinates on or before the Program deadline will be considered.
Applications are deemed to have been received by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada on the date they are post-marked; the date they are delivered to a messenger or specialized courier agency; or the date they are sent by fax or e-mail. If you do not receive a receipt confirmation for your proposal, it is recommended that you verify with our Office to ensure that delivery of your application has been received by us.
The budget for the OPC's Contribution Program is $500,000 annually. This amount is subject to cancellation, reduction or increase in the event that funding levels are changed by Parliament.
The OPC will consider funding more than one project per organization. However, the maximum amount that can be awarded for any single project is $50,000 per year, and the maximum total amount that can be awarded to any single organization is $100,000 per year.
The Program’s objectives are to:
1) Strengthen existing privacy research capacity in academic and not-for-profit sectors;
2) Generate new knowledge and support the development of expertise in selected areas of privacy and data protection;
3) Increase awareness and understanding among individuals and organizations across Canada of their privacy rights and obligations; and,
4) Promote uptake and application of research results by relevant stakeholders.
The OPC will provide funding for research projects aimed at promoting privacy and the protection of personal information in the private sector. The OPC will also provide funding for related knowledge translation initiatives aimed at disseminating research results and enabling their uptake and application among relevant stakeholders.
Important Note: The Contributions Program finds its authority under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) which governs the collection, use or disclosure of personal information by organizations in the course of commercial activitiesFootnote 1. Accordingly, only research and/or related knowledge translation proposals that address privacy issues in the private sector will be considered. Proposals that touch on issues that fall within the federal public sector can be submitted, provided that the primary focus of the proposal deals with the private sector or the interface between the private and public sectors.
Research priority areas
In previous years, the OPC has encouraged funding proposals to undertake research and related knowledge translation initiatives in one or more of the Office’s strategic priority areas. In the fall of 2014, Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien engaged with stakeholders across the country to identify the new strategic privacy priorities that would guide the Office’s work through to 2020.
The Office produced a report that details these new priorities, which will guide our work in the next 5 years. The OPC’s new priorities are as follows:
- The Economics of Personal Information
- Government Surveillance
- Reputation and Privacy, and
- The Body as information
The report further details the following five, cross-cutting strategies to implement our priorities:
- Exploring innovative and technological ways to protect privacy
- Enhancing accountability and promoting good privacy governance
- Enhancing our public education role
- Devoting special attention to vulnerable groups; and
- Taking into consideration the fact that privacy knows no borders
The Office is interested in funding under its Contributions Program, research and knowledge translation initiatives that touch on one or more of our new priority areas and related strategies, particularly initiatives that explore innovative and technological ways to protect privacy. Some examples of topics that could be examined include the following (list is not intended to be limiting):
- The business of collecting, using, and disclosing information on the Internet
- The economic underpinnings of the trade and valuation of personal information
- Privacy accountability tools for small and medium sized enterprises
- Privacy work of international standards-setting bodies and impact on private sector privacy practices
- Private sector best practices in transparency
- Surveillance technology service providers to government: analysis, privacy challenges and concerns
- Reputation management and recourses for deletion or correction of personal information online, such as the “right to be forgotten”
- Privacy challenges faced by vulnerable populations in their dealings with private sector service providers, and potential solutions
- The challenges posed by de-identification techniques and emerging authentication technologies
- Protection methods against online, cookie-less tracking
- Privacy implications and solutions related to the Internet of Things (IOT)
- Privacy-enhancing technologies for mobile devices
- Default settings and impacts on privacy and business practices
- The causes of cyber privacy breaches and possible solutions
- The economic and social drivers of biometric authentication
- Analysis of codes of practice/conduct in privacy
Integrated Knowledge Translation Activities
Given the OPC’s ultimate objective of promoting respect for the right to privacy and the protection of personal information in Canada, we strongly encourage applicants to integrate related knowledge translation activities as part of their project proposals. Knowledge translation is the process by which theoretical research findings are transformed into useable outcomes that relevant end-users can apply in practice.
Knowledge translation activities may be built into current research proposals, or further build upon past OPC-funded research.
Examples of knowledge translation activities that help enable uptake and practical application of research results among relevant end-users include:
- Workshops, conferences and symposia aimed at disseminating research results to relevant stakeholders and providing an opportunity for effective knowledge exchange between theoretical concepts and practical realities;
- Engagement of relevant end-users as active participants in an iterative process throughout the research project to obtain relevant feedback and enable early uptake and application of research results;
- Innovative and interactive online approaches for disseminating research findings and raising public awareness of privacy issues;
- Survey, evaluation or other methods of assessing the relevance, effectiveness or impact of knowledge dissemination approaches and strategies aimed at raising privacy awareness and understanding among individuals or organizations;
- Initiatives that transform research results into useable knowledge for relevant intermediaries to further expand the breadth of research impact among ultimate end-users. (As examples, privacy guidelines for parents to use in discussions with children, education curriculum for teachers to use in teaching students, relevant content for journalists and specialized media to report on privacy issues impacting Canadians, toolkits for consumer protection organizations to use in better supporting consumers to make informed choices, privacy best practices for professional associations to promote among their members, educational games, videos, and documentaries aimed at general and public audiences, etc.)
The Program has made substantial gains over the past years in funding a greater diversity of research applicants. However, the Office wishes to more actively engage civil society groups through the Program, so that by way of these groups increased public awareness of research findings generated under the Program may be achieved. To this end, the Office this year encourages universities and other research groups to develop new partnerships with civil society organizations as part of their proposals. For example, universities could partner with public education groups, or advocacy associations could partner with research groups. Additional points will be allocated to proposals that put forward plans for such partnerships.
The Contributions Program seeks to advance the creation and translation of new knowledge on emerging issues related to privacy promotion and protection. Accordingly, applicants are encouraged to take into account previous projects done or currently being completed under the Contributions Program when developing their proposals, with a view to complementing past work to further advance the development and translation of new knowledge or perspectives. A full list of Contributions Program-funded projects since the Program’s inception in 2004 can be accessed here.
The mandate of the OPC is to oversee compliance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, Canada’s private sector privacy law. Accordingly, only projects that are nationwide in scope and/or application, and are relevant to the federal government’s sphere of jurisdiction will be considered for funding. Projects that examine issues or address concerns that are exclusively or predominantly local, provincial or foreign in scope will not be considered for funding.
The proposals that are submitted under the Contributions Program can be qualitative and/or quantitative in nature. In both instances, the OPC seeks to fund proposals that demonstrate sound methodology. In order for the OPC to evaluate a proposal’s methodology, the applicant must provide a detailed description of the means by which they seek to achieve their research results. Where applicable, applicants should provide a detailed list of stakeholders they intend to survey/interview and the survey method and instruments they intend to use.
The OPC Contributions Program is structured to provide funding for eligible expenses that are incurred within the same fiscal year that funds have been awarded—that is between the time both parties sign a Contribution Agreement and March 31, 2017. Incurred expenses must have been paid by the RecipientFootnote 2 before they are invoiced to the OPC. Exceptionally, the OPC may fund projects that extend beyond the end of the fiscal year (i.e. March 31, 2017) if the proposal persuasively demonstrates why the research requires more time to be completed and should be funded beyond the typical one-year period. For multi-year proposals, applicants are requested to submit work plans that cover the entire duration of the project.
Funds may be used only for expenses directly related to the activities of the project. These activities must be reflected in either the original budgetary submission, or via subsequent approved budgetary adjustments. Expenses would include:
- salary and benefits for members of the project team, inclusive of researchers and research assistants, students, postdoctoral fellows, technical support, etc.;
- administrative costs, translation, secretarial assistance and publication costs;
- contract costs for expertise not available in-house or work not reasonably performed in-house (for example surveys); and
- other costs including travel (not to exceed government travel regulations), workshops, materials and supplies, and communications.
The OPC will not support any expenses incurred prior to, or after completion of, the funding period stipulated in a Contribution Agreement. The OPC will not support any expenses that have not been paid by the Recipient before they are invoiced to the OPC.
Other ineligible expenses that will not be funded under the Agreement include the purchase of buildings, land, vehicles and most other major capital costs.
Indirect administrative expenses (i.e. overhead) should be limited to no more than 15 per cent (15%) of the total project expenses incurred under the Contribution Agreement.
Contributions awarded to an applicant are subject to the terms of the Contribution Agreement signed by the applicant and the OPC. Funds must be spent only on the project and cannot under any circumstances be diverted to any other use. Expenses associated with the project are subject to audit.
For full details, see the Costing Memorandum in “Schedule B – Project Budget”.
The following information corresponds to each section of the Application Form. Applicants should provide answers to all questions and include any required detailed information in an appendix to the application form.
- Provide the full name of your organization along with any abbreviations frequently used, as well as the section name or division name;
- Previous name, if changed in the last year;
- Address, telephone numbers (with extension), fax numbers, e-mail addresses, and web site addresses, where applicable.
The mailing address and billing address should include full information on the organization's location, such as floor, suite or room number, street number and postal code. Should a Post Office Box be designated as the official mailing address, please provide this information as well.
Applicants must provide a project proposal which, once agreed to by the OPC, will serve as a basis for the Contribution Agreement and cash flow. The project proposal should contain:
- Basic Information: Organization name, address, billing address, telephone number, facsimile number and e-mail address of the applicant's authorized representative, , names of principal personnel and project administrators. Please provide contact information for the principal researcher (where applicable), the person responsible for administering the project, and the finance/accounting contact person.
- Legal Status: An attestation/confirmation that your organization is a not-for-profit organization.
- Organizational Background: Background of the organization including its mandate, objectives, and accomplishments.
- Previous Financial Support: An indication of any previous financial support received from the OPC including the amount, the year when the funding was provided, the purpose of the funded activity, and the results achieved.
- Project Description: A detailed project description including project title, goals and objectives, identification of the target groups for the proposed project, identification of the anticipated results and expected benefits for Canadians in terms of the creation and application of new knowledge in the area of privacy and data protection. A listing of project deliverables must also be provided.
- One-Page Summary: A concise one-page summary of the proposed project that can be used for the Contribution Agreement.
- Timeline and Monitoring: Timeframe, work plan detailing activities to be undertaken to support the attainment of project objectives, and monitoring activities.
- Budget: A detailed budget for the project showing amount(s) being requested from the OPC and other proposed sources of revenue, including in-kind support. In presenting the budget to the OPC, Applicants must use the form provided with this Guide, namely Schedule B — Project Budget. Furthermore, in their proposal, Applicants must provide detailed information explaining and justifying each amount entered in Schedule B—namely for salaries and benefits; travel expenses; telecommunications; contractual services; materials and supplies; rentals (includes equipment and meeting rooms); and other expenses.
- Community Involvement and Support: Where appropriate, an indication of the level of community involvement (commitment, endorsement, scope and level of participation, co-operation and volunteer involvement).
- Provincial/Territorial Support: Where appropriate, an indication of the degree of provincial, territorial and municipal support for the project (cash and/or in-kind).
- Knowledge Translation Activities: A plan for disseminating research results and enabling their uptake and application by relevant end-users (e.g. targeted stakeholders, organizations, industry associations, individuals, consumers, communities, educators, journalists, and/or general public, etc.)
- Acknowledgement of OPC Funding: An indication of how the project will acknowledge the financial support (and where relevant, other contributions) of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to the project.
Applicants are required to answer the questions in the Application form regarding the Conflict of Interest Act, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service, and the Lobbying Act.
Applicants may seek other sources of funding for proposed projects. Applicants are required to disclose all sources of funding for a proposed project when applying for funding from the OPC. This includes financial assistance (grants, contributions, etc.) from all levels of government, anticipated or received, that is related to the proposed project. This should also include applications for financial assistance which are still pending.
In the event that total government assistance (including provincial and municipal assistance) received for the project exceeds the cost of the project, the Recipient will repay Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada on a pro-rated basis (based on the OPC's share of total government assistance received).
Each request for financial support will be reviewed to determine the quality, relevance and timeliness, feasibility and expected outcomes/benefits of the proposed project. Applicant organizations and applications for funding will be reviewed in accordance with the general Program objectives as well as the specific eligibility criteria as outlined above and described below.
In assessing proposals, the OPC may, where appropriate, consult with other federal departments, provincial and territorial governments and other privacy commissioners or ombudsmen. The OPC may also involve independent, external reviewers from academia or the not-for-profit sector.
In order to proceed to full assessment, all proposals submitted to us must, in addition to meeting the eligibility criteria in section 1.1, also meet these two (2) exclusionary criteria:
- OPC priorities and strategic approaches – Only proposals that align with at least one of the OPC’s new priorities will be considered. The OPC’s new priorities are: the Economics of Personal Information; Government Surveillance; Reputation and Privacy; the Body as Information. (See section 2.2 above for more information.)
- PIPEDA – Only proposals that address privacy issues relevant to PIPEDA will be considered. Proposals that touch on issues that fall within the federal public sector can be submitted, provided that the primary focus of the proposal deals with the private sector or the interface between the private and public sectors. (See section 2.2 above for more information.)
Projects that are screened in based on the above-mentioned two conditions will then be evaluated on the basis of the following evaluation criteria and questions:
|1. What is the overall quality of the proposed project? (5 points)|
|2. How innovative is the proposed project? (10 points)|
|3. Does the applicant demonstrate the requisite knowledge and understanding of the relevant privacy issues? (10 points)|
|4. Are the proposed methods appropriate to achieve the stated deliverables? (5 points)|
|5. Are the proposed methods likely to produce reliable and valid research findings? (5 points)|
|6. Does the research team integrate the various disciplinary perspectives/approaches needed to realise the project? (5 points)|
|7. Is there an effective strategy in place to consult or collaborate with key stakeholders, where needed, to validate and/or improve upon the quality of research results? (5 points)|
|8. Are the expected deliverables timely and relevant? (5 points)|
|9. Are the expected outcomes of the project likely to be useful for relevant stakeholders (e.g. policy makers, organizations, industry associations, consumer groups, the general public, etc.)? (5 points)|
|10. Is the amount of money requested to carry out the proposed project reasonable and are the estimated costs realistic given the nature and scope of the project? (5 points)|
|11. Has the applicant demonstrated that it has the ability to manage the project and deliver results on time? (5 points)|
|12. Is the scope of the proposed project feasible and likely to be accomplished in terms of expected deliverables and timeframes? (5 points)|
|13. Does the applicant have the requisite track record to carry out the proposed project? (5 points)|
|Expected Outcomes and Benefits
|14. Does the project proposal have the potential to positively impact the protection of privacy rights of a large number of Canadians? (10 points)|
|15. Is there a clear and effective strategy for engaging key stakeholders throughout the project and for disseminating project deliverables to relevant audiences and/or the public at large? (5 points)|
|16. Is there a clear and effective strategy for transforming project outputs/deliverables into useable outcomes and enabling relevant end-users to apply them in practice? (5 points)|
|17. Is there a clear and feasible plan to engage in partnerships or collaborations between researchers, civil society and/or public interest groups? (5 points)|
On approval of a request for a Contribution, a detailed Contribution Agreement will be drawn up and signed by the Recipient and the OPC. A Contribution Agreement is an agreement between the Recipient and the OPC regarding the amount of Contribution awarded, in consideration for specific deliverables to be completed.
By accepting a Contribution, the Recipient agrees to carry out the funded project, to be responsible for realizing all deliverables specified in the Contribution Agreement, and to be accountable for the amounts received. As consideration, the OPC agrees, subject to conditions stipulated in the Contribution Agreement and to renewal of the program by the Minister, to fund all or part of the project's costs.
As specified in the Agreement, the Recipient cannot make material changes to the scope of a project—e.g. significantly changing or dropping a deliverable, or reallocating significant amounts of money from a budget line item to another—without the prior written consent of the OPC.
By signing the Agreement, the Recipient agrees to submit progress and financial reports, as specified in the Agreement for the duration of the project.
The OPC reserves the right to publish the name of the Recipient, a summary of the project, as well as the amount of the Contribution awarded in any manner it deems fit including, but not limited to, posting on the OPC's web site, publication in the Main Estimates, and so forth.
Recipients of OPC funding under the Contributions Program may also be surveyed after the completion of the project about further related work or follow up activities in an ongoing effort to evaluate the impact of the research and the value of the Contributions Program.
Where applicable, applicants are required to adhere to the principles and responsibilities of researchers as set out in the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research, and if their proposed project involves human participation, the 2nd Edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement:Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans.
Payment will be made in accordance with the approved cash flow in the Contribution Agreement, as well as the work plan and the agreed-to deliverables, and will be consistent with Treasury Board guidelines for cash payment under the Policy on Transfer Payments.
Final payment of a hold back, not exceeding 20 per cent of the total Contribution, or recovery of surplus, if necessary, will be made when the Recipient has satisfied all the requirements of the project and upon receipt and acceptance by the OPC of financial statements.
Payments will be made on the basis of documented claims for reasonable eligible costs incurred and paid, to be submitted by Recipients as per the Agreement. The Privacy Commissioner is unable to make any payment to Recipients prior to receiving an invoice for eligible costs that have been incurred.
Payment will be processed using a direct deposit to the Recipient’s bank account, and the Recipient will be asked to provide banking information to the OPC for deposit purposes.
Contributions are normally awarded for specific projects on an annual basis. In the case of projects extending over more than one year, payment is subject to the appropriation of funds by Parliament, and satisfaction of review and reporting requirements by the Recipient, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Contribution Agreement.
The Recipient shall acknowledge the Privacy Commissioner of Canada's Contribution to the project in all materials, be they written, oral or electronic, used to describe the project or resulting from the project. The Privacy Commissioner, or a designated representative of his Office, will be given the opportunity to participate in public announcements related to the project.
According to the Contribution Agreement, the Recipient shall keep proper accounts and records of revenues and expenses received in connection with the funded project, for at least six years after completion of the project. Such accounts and records shall be open to audit and inspection by the OPC to ensure compliance with the terms of the Contribution Agreement. The OPC may make copies and take extracts at all reasonable times for a period of six years after completion of the project.
The OPC may request at any time that Recipients provide satisfactory evidence to demonstrate that all eligible costs claimed have been paid.
Where for any reason:
- a Recipient is not entitled to the Contribution, or
- the amount of the Contribution exceeds the amount actually expended, or
- a Recipient is late in submitting a deliverable as per the terms of the Contribution Agreement,
- a Recipient fails to submit one or more deliverables as per the terms of the Agreement, or
- a Recipient submits deliverables that are incomplete or unsatisfactory in relation to the terms of the Contribution Agreement,
the Commissioner may, at his discretion, withhold payment or a portion of the total amount awarded to the Recipient for the project, or require the Recipient to repay all or part of the advances or interim payments to the Office, those amounts being a debt due to Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada.
Project deliverables may be produced and/or submitted in the Official Language of the Recipient’s choice. Organizations working at the national level and receiving financial assistance from the OPC are encouraged to provide services in both English and French and to foster the recognition and use of those languages especially in areas of significant demand recognized by the Office.
The information provided to the OPC as part of the application is subject to the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act. For more information about what this entails please contact the OPC’s Chief Privacy Officer at (819) 994-5970.
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