Infrastructure Canada

Smart Cities - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Application Form

When can applicants submit their application?

A. The online application form is now accessible from the Home page of this website.

Q. What is the format of the application?

A. The online application will consist of the same questions as laid-out in the Applicant Guide. Certain parts of the application, like the Challenge Statement and summary, will be posted online by Infrastructure Canada for public viewing. Applicants will be asked to post the entire content of their applications online.

Q: Can a community submit their application in both official languages?

A: The online application form is provided in both official languages.  Communities may submit their application in either official language, or in both official languages.  The official language of submission will have no bearing on the evaluation of the application.  For applications submitted in one language only, Infrastructure Canada reserves the right to translate them in whole or in part for the purpose of facilitating the internal review process.

Challenge Statement

Q. How detailed should the outcomes for residents be?

A. The Jury will be looking for evidence that the expected outcomes outlined in the applications reflect the true needs of the community and are meaningful to its residents. The Challenge Statement and the expected outcomes must be measurable, ambitious, and achievable.

Q. What kind of proposal is in scope for the Challenge?

A. Proposals can be about any aspect of civic life, but must leverage connected technology and data to achieve positive outcomes for residents.

Contact Information

Q. How do I get in touch with the Smart Cities Challenge team?

A. Please send your questions to infc.sc-vi.infc@canada.ca. The Smart Cities Challenge team monitors this email account on a daily basis.

Q. How do I know which communities are participating in the Challenge?

A. Many applicants have announced their participation in the Challenge through their websites, local news, and Twitter using #smartcitiesCanada.

Q. Can someone from the Smart Cities Challenge team attend our meetings dedicated to putting the application together?

A. The Smart Cities Challenge team is committed to supporting communities in submitting a strong application.  We are very pleased to answer any questions about the process.

Q. Who in the community is responsible for putting together and submitting the application?

A. The eligible applicants are municipalities, local or regional governments, and Indigenous communities. They must represent an identifiable community and must be responsible for services in that community to ensure that the identified solutions will be implemented. However, a successful application requires an all-hands-on-deck approach involving residents, private sector, academia, not-for-profit organizations, industry associations, and many more.

Q. Will there be more opportunities to ask questions about the Challenge before the April 24th application deadline?

A. The Smart Cities Challenge team monitors the infc.sc-vi.infc@canada.ca email account on a daily basis, and is active in many webinars and conferences where participants are encouraged to ask questions.

Data

Q. How much of the application needs to be rooted in data?

A. At the preliminary proposal stage, the Jury will be looking for a compelling body of data and evidence that establish where you started from and where you want to go in your Challenge Statement and the outcomes sought.

Eligibility

Q. Can a community be involved in more than one application?

A. A community can only submit one application. For example, if a community is a part of a joint application with a group of communities, it cannot submit another application on its own.

Q. Can a community partner with an Indigenous community to submit an application?

A. Yes. An Indigenous community and a non-Indigenous community may form a group to submit a single application.

Q. What is the maximum number of communities that can group together to submit an application?

A. There is no limit to the number of communities that can submit a joint application. There is also no geographic or regional limitation.

Q. Can a regional municipality or district apply if its local, constituent, or member government or municipality is submitting an application?

A. Regional and local governments are both eligible applicants. To be an applicant, the regional government must have the support of all of its local municipalities. Since only one application is allowed per community, the regional government would not be able to apply if one or more of its local municipalities apply (on their own or with others), and vice versa. They must decide amongst themselves what the best applicant structure would be. 

Q. Can individuals, academic institutions, private sector companies or entities such as transport authorities or public utilities apply?

A. Eligible applicants represent an identifiable community and are responsible for services in that community. The following organizations can participate in the Smart Cities Challenge:

  • Municipalities and local or regional governments established by or under provincial or territorial statute.
  • Indigenous communities including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities (such as First Nation band and Tribal Councils, and communities under Self-Government Agreement, Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement or the Métis nation).
  • A combination of organizations listed above.

Other organizations, such as Individuals, academic institutions, private sector companies, transport authorities, and utility companies, may partner with a community that is submitting an application, but are not eligible to apply themselves.   

Q. Can a borough of a municipality apply?

A. Boroughs are not eligible to apply.

Q. What happens if an applicant does not win?

A. Applicants that are unsuccessful in the current competition may submit an application to subsequent competitions.

Experts

Q. Who are the experts and what will they do?

A. Eligible applications will be reviewed by experts from inside and outside the federal government. These experts will provide technical advice on the content of the application. The reviews will be provided to the Jury, along with the full applications, and will serve to assist in the evaluation process.

Funding

Q. Can the applicant apply to more than one prize category?

A. An applicant can only submit under one prize category. The prize category is determined by the community’s population, based on the 2016 Census. The selected prize category must also align with the size and scope of the projects that are being proposed in the application.

Q. Is there a requirement to match funds?

A. Communities are not required to match prize funding. The Smart Cities Challenge provides up to 100% of project costs, up to the total prize amount. However, applicants are encouraged to seek partnerships and leverage additional resources where doing so increases the impact of their projects.

Q. What can finalists use the $250,000 grant for?

A. The grant has no prescribed uses, but it must be used for activities that relate directly to the development of the final proposal. Its use must be transparently laid out in the application and final proposal. The reason and logic will be evaluated by the Jury in their selection of the finalists and winners. The grant must be fully accounted for in the final proposal.

Q. Who is responsible for managing the grant and/or prize funding – the applicant or the provincial/territorial government?

A. This is not a cost-shared program and will not go through provincial and territorial governments. Finalists and winners are responsible for managing the funds. The Smart Cities Challenge team will work directly with them to provide oversight and support.

Q. Is there a stacking limit?

A. There are no stacking limits for proposals funded under the Smart Cities Challenge, but applicants would be subject to any applicable stacking limits imposed by other federal, provincial, or municipal funding programs and/or partners.

Jury

Q. How long will the Jury selection process take before interviews?

A. The selection process for the Jury is underway now. Given the high number of applicants, only select candidates will be invited for an interview, but we will be notifying all candidates once the selections have been made.

Q. How many jury members will there be?

A. An independent Jury of up to 15 members, including a Chair, will be selected. The deadline to apply was January 31, 2018.

Act Respecting the Ministère Du Conseil Exécutif (M-30)

Q. What is the approach with M-30?

A. Quebec municipalities can apply and be funded directly with authorization from the Quebec government. With respect to provincial legislation, only candidates selected as finalists or winners will have to obtain authorization from the province. MuniExpress, the online publication of the Quebec Department of Municipal Affairs and Land Occupancy (MAMOT), contains a page entitled Obligations et processus relatifs à la signature d’ententes entre les municipalités et un autre gouvernement au Canada (ou un organisme public fédéral) that describes the obligations and procedures relative to the signing of agreements between municipalities and another government in Canada (or a federal public agency).  Any questions about provincial legislation may be submitted to the MAMOT.

Partnership

Q. How can applicants connect with partners?

A. Applicants are encouraged to publicly announce their participation in the Challenge and encourage potential partners – from Canada and abroad – to get involved in their application. They can also reach out to potential partners directly. In addition, summaries of all applications will be posted on the Impact Canada website, and all the applications will be posted online by applicants shortly after the deadline, allowing potential partners to view applications and get in touch with applicants. For more updates and to join the conversation, search #smartcitiesCanada on Twitter.  In working with partners, vendors and other outside organizations, applicants will respect all relevant rules governing procurement, transparency, ethics etc., including those established at the local level.

Q. What kinds of partners are eligible to work with applicants?

A. Partners can be diverse types of organizations. They can be from areas such as private sector, not-for-profit, public utilities, research/academia, civil society, public or national organizations/groups, and project incubators. They can provide financial and in-kind support to communities throughout the Challenge process.

Q. How can partners connect with applicants?

A. We are leaving it up to communities – the eligible applicant – to identify and forge the appropriate partnerships for their proposal. Partners can contact the applicants directly to see if there is an opportunity to work together.

Q. Do I need to identify all partners in my application and have private sector contracts in place?

A. We are asking applicants to identify their major partners and describe the overall partnership development approach in their application. Finalists will be required to provide a fully-developed partnership model. Any third party information that is confidential can be included in question 11 (confidential annex that will not be posted online).

Procurement

Q. What are the procurement rules? 

A. On procurement, the rules, regulations, procedures, and legislation normally applicable to your community will apply. The Challenge does not impose any rules on procurement. The applicant and the private sector service providers will work together to decide the structure around their partnership and elaborate on the details in the final proposal. 

Resident Engagement

Q. How much resident engagement is required?

A. The Jury will be looking for evidence that the results of the resident consultations and engagement activities have informed the proposed projects and the expected impacts on residents. More information on the requirements and the criteria for evaluating resident engagement are outlined in the Applicant Guide.

Q. Does the resident engagement have to be new for the Challenge or can the community leverage existing information?

A. Applicants can leverage existing information as long as it is still valid, relevant, and pertinent to their application, which should be clearly explained in the application for the evaluation.