B.C. Workplace Innovation Fund
The Workplace Innovation Fund has now closed its first intake period as of November 10, 2023 at 4:00pm PST. Please subscribe to this page to be advised of changes to this website, including details of the next intake period.
If interested, please begin the process of getting an approved Business BCeID (versus a Basic BCeID) as it is required to submit an Initial Concept Proposal and can take anywhere between 2-4 weeks.
The Workplace Innovation Fund supports key sectors to adopt new technology and processes to address labour shortages and increase productivity to help with workforce challenges.
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Announced in 2023 as part of the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan, the Workplace Innovation Fund helps test and implement new ideas to address labour shortages and prepare for a changing economy.
The current call for proposals is focused on BC’s construction sector. Download the full Workplace Innovation Fund Program and Submission Guide for detailed application information.
Apply for up to $5 million to innovate.
Both private and not-for-profit/non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for up to $5 million in project funding. Organizations may apply for multiple projects up to a maximum of $10 million in funding over the course of the Program.
Eligible project must:
- Address one or more sector priorities
- Be new to British Columbia's construction sector
Preference will be given to projects which:
- Have a high level of readiness to implement within six months of approval
- Involve sector-wide and/or cross industry collaboration
- Have the potential to benefit the whole construction sector
The current call for proposals is focused on addressing labour challenges with BC's construction sector, including projects that:
- Support industry to adopt new technologies and improve productivity
- Improve workplace culture and human resource practices to attract and retain workers
- Develop and support innovative training practices
- Elevate the prestige and awareness of the industry and careers
- Streamline career pathways for newcomers
NOTE: Applicants will need to log in with an approved Business BCeID to access the Initial Concept Proposal form. BCeID registrations may take two to four weeks to process.
Step 1 - Initial Concept Proposal
This proposal will be used to assess project eligibility and alignment with program goals. If the Initial Concept Proposal is successful, applicants will be invited to submit a full application.
Step 2 - Full Project Application (by invitation only)
By invitation only, and using the link provided via email, submit a Full Project Application with Project, business, and financial information and where requested, documentation.
Step 3 - Full Project Application Review
Ministry reviews and approves Full Project Applications.
Step 4 - Financial Contribution Agreement
Successful applicants will be provided with a Financial Contribution Agreement outlining payment details and project deliverables. The Financial Contribution Agreement is signed.
Step 5 - Project Evaluation and Reporting Requirements
The Project is implemented. Reporting will help evaluate if Projects are reaching Workplace Innovation Fund objectives.
When can I apply?
Initial concept proposals for construction will be accepted starting October 11, 2023 at 9:00 AM PST until November 10, 2023 at 4:00 PM PST. New intakes are expected later in fiscal year 2023/24.
Can start-ups apply?
Yes, as long as you meet the Applicant Eligibility Criteria including having been in business for a minimum of one year. We also recommend you be able to demonstrate strong financial, managerial and strategic business capability to implement the innovation.
How many times can I apply to the Workplace Innovation Fund?
Applicants are not limited in the number of submissions they may submit; however, each Project must be unique and be submitted separately and there is a maximum funding amount of $10 million per Agreement Holder. Additionally, priority will be given to Projects that are new concepts and truly exemplify innovation.
Can I make changes to my Initial Concept Proposal after it has been submitted?
You cannot make changes to your Initial Concept Proposal in the online form after it has been submitted. If you have made an error in your application, please contact WorkplaceInnovationFund@gov.bc.ca as soon as possible. You may also contact us to withdraw the application at any time and resubmit as a new project.
I forgot to add an attachment to my Full Project Application, and I have already submitted it. Can the information still be added?
If you have already submitted your application but forgot to upload supporting documentation, please contact program staff at WorkplaceInnovationFund@gov.bc.ca.
My organization is applying as a Primary Applicant to the Workplace Innovation Fund. Can we also be a partner in another Project?
Can I submit more than one Initial Concept Proposal?
Applicants can apply for funding more than once if it is for distinct Projects; however, Applicants who have not previously received Workplace Innovation Fund funding will be prioritized. There is a maximum amount of $10 million that an Applicant can receive in their lifetime.
What if my company has several independent sites of operation or subsidiaries?
You can apply for different Projects at different sites; you may be asked to prioritize between Projects during the Full Project Application stage depending on funding availability.
If our Initial Concept Proposal and/or Full Project Application is not successful, will we be told why?
Yes. All Applicants will be individually contacted regarding the status of their Initial Concept Proposal and/or Full Project Application.
Is there an appeal process if my Initial Concept Proposal or Full Project Application is not successful?
If your Initial Concept Proposal and/or Full Project Application is not initially successful, there will be an opportunity to engage with Program staff on the reasons why. If applicable, Workplace Innovation Fund staff may provide feedback and suggestions to improve your proposal so that it better aligns with Program objectives and may be resubmitted in a future intake. Similarly, unsuccessful Full Project Applications will receive feedback, and/or additional information may be sought resulting in reconsideration of the application during that intake or a future intake.
What happens if the implementation of the Project isn’t successful the first time, can I reapply in the future for the same or similar Project?
If an Agreement Holder repeatedly does not successfully meet Project objectives, they may become ineligible for future Workplace Innovation Fund funding. It is the responsibility of the Applicant to ensure they are ready and capable of fulfilling the Project. Priority will be given to ideas that haven’t yet been funded.
How likely am I to get the funding?
The Workplace Innovation Fund is a competitive program. The number of awards varies on the number and quality of submissions received.
Can Workplace Innovation Fund funding be used to pay GST?
If GST is included in the approved Project budget, then Workplace Innovation Fund funding can be used to pay. If GST was not included in the application, Workplace Innovation Fund funding cannot be used to pay.
Is the funding taxable?
Businesses are advised to consult with professional tax and/or legal advisory service.
Do I need other sources of funding?
To demonstrate wide-ranging support and commitment to the Project’s success, Applicants should have a variety of potential and confirmed funding sources (e.g., private investments, repayable loans, federal grants), including at least 20% from the Applicant organization (up to half of this contribution can be in-kind). Stacking with other provincial or federal funding programs is permitted and encouraged.
Projects that have confirmed other funding sources and/or demonstrate a strong likelihood to leverage other funds may be prioritized. Applicants must not receive duplicative and/or overlapping funding to cover eligible costs (i.e., grants, loans, or other funding that covers the same costs as the Workplace Innovation Fund). Applicants will be asked to disclose confirmed and potential funding sources.
Can my business receive the entirety of the funding contribution up front at the beginning of the Project?
Yes. In some circumstances, funding may have to be paid in two different fiscal years due to annual Workplace Innovation Program allocations from Treasury Board.
Is there an expectation that money be spent in the same year that it is awarded?
No. However, the monies must be spent within the terms of the Financial Contribution Agreement.
Our Initial Concept Proposal and/or Full Concept Application involved a Project that will continue operating after Workplace Innovation Fund Program funding ends - can we include any future operational costs?
Only costs directly related to the Project during the term of the agreement are eligible for funding. Funding for the Workplace Innovation Fund is only available until March 31, 2026. Ongoing operating costs incurred after the completion of the Project are ineligible.
Can I apply for funding to cover costs that I have already incurred?
Do I have to pay the funding back for any reason?
The Workplace Innovation Fund provides non-repayable contributions, not loans. Agreement Holders are only required to pay back the funds in certain circumstances such as if they do not complete the deliverables, if any of the information submitted was untrue, or if funds provided are used for purposes that are not eligible under the Workplace Innovation Fund. If an Event of Default as outlined in the Agreement occurs, the government will seek repayment.
Will my business be audited at the end of the Project?
Some funded Projects may be selected for inspection and/or auditing each year. The funding you receive is subject to an audit at any time. Agreement Holders may be required to provide milestone and final reports that will be used to audit the use of funds and compare against Project deliverables. The Agreement Holder must retain all original documents related to the project for at least seven years after the end of the project for audit and verification purposes. Such documentation would include books of account, invoices, and receipts incurred by the Agreement Holder, as well as a record of financial contribution to the project from other parties (where applicable).
Can changes be made to a Project once the Financial Contribution Agreement has been signed?
If during the course of the project, information or circumstances come to light that make it necessary for changes to be made to the project in order to ensure its success, the Agreement Holder must submit those proposed changes in writing to the Ministry. These changes must be approved by the Ministry prior to being implemented and will not affect the funding amount previously agreed upon.
What if I cannot proceed with the Project in my Financial Contribution Agreement?
If you are unable to proceed, you must inform us immediately at WorkplaceInnovationFund@gov.bc.ca, and any Workplace Innovation Fund funding provided must be reimbursed to the Ministry.
Who is responsible for monitoring the Project and reporting to the Ministry?
Agreement Holders are responsible for monitoring and reporting on the Project; more detailed reporting requirements will be outlined in the Financial Contribution Agreement.
Can I make a public announcement once I sign a Financial Contribution Agreement?
Public statements or communications can only be made by Agreement Holders after receiving written approval from the Province. The Province must have reasonable opportunity to review all relevant materials prior to any public communications and approval may be withheld at the discretion of the Province. You must apply for third party use of the Province’s logo and follow the appropriate guidelines. Approved logos are required on all communications material referring to the Project. If the communications material is in the form of a radio ad (script) or third-party press release, a written funding acknowledgement may be used instead of the logo. The wording of this acknowledgement can be found in the Financial Contribution Agreement.
Will the provincial government publicize information about the Workplace Innovation Fund Projects and funding?
The Province may publicize information about the Workplace Innovation Fund Program and funded Projects for promotion purposes and will try to send draft promotional material to Agreement Holders if it directly and significantly relates to their Project. The Province will not publicize information that will compromise the process, projects or the businesses.
Who owns the Intellectual Property (IP) for the innovation?
For the purposes of the Agreement, the Agreement Holder owns all IP in the materials produced as a result of the Project. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that IP agreements are in order and agreed to by all partners. IP agreements held by the Agreement Holders must allow for results and reports to be released to the Ministry on a confidential basis in accordance with the Province of British Columbia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act in order to assess the progress of the Project. Personal and commercially sensitive information is protected.
What information must I share with the Province, and who owns it?
The Initial Concept Proposal and/or the Full Project Application and any supporting documents submitted under the Workplace Innovation Fund Program are subject to the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FOIPPA”) and become the property of the provincial government. The information being collected is for the purpose of administering the Program and will be used for the purpose of evaluating eligibility under the Program. Information collected through the submission process may be disclosed to Government of British Columbia staff outside of the Workplace Innovation Fund in order to conduct due diligence. Personal and commercially sensitive information is protected. Please visit the following website for more information: https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/96165_00.
Applicants are solely responsible for familiarizing themselves, and ensuring that they comply with the laws applicable to the collection and dissemination of information, including resume details and other personal information concerning their organization and partners submitted to the Ministry. Applicants must ensure that they obtain consent from all partners before submitting information to the Ministry.
Agreement Holders must also share information about the progress and outcomes of the project to meet Reporting and Communication requirements. This includes quarterly communications with the Province to update on progress and identify any key challenges, as well as interim and final reporting. Specific communication arrangements between the Province and the Agreement Holder will be agreed and confirmed at the beginning of the Project.