Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Symbol of the Government of Canada
Innovative Communities Fund
The Innovative Communities Fund (ICF) invests in strategic projects that build the economies of Atlantic Canada's communities.
Working in partnership with Atlantic communities and stakeholders, ICF builds on the strengths of communities and provides the tools needed to identify opportunities available for their sustainable economic growth. 

ICF focuses on investments that lead to long-term employment and economic capacity building in rural communities. Urban initiatives that stimulate the competitiveness and vitality of rural communities may be considered on a selective basis.
Who is eligible?
 
Eligible recipients include non-commercial/not-for-profit organizations such as local development associations, municipalities and their agencies, business or technology institutes, industry/sector associations, economic development associations, local co-operatives,  universities and educational institutions.
 
ICF Criteria for Funding

To be considered for ICF funding, projects should:
  • be compatible with the overall objectives of the program and clearly demonstrate linkages and partnerships within the community;
  • be beneficial to the economic development of a community;
  • be consistent with economic development plans/objectives
    that address challenges and opportunities of a community;
  • lead to sustainable and viable economic activity;
  • be incremental in nature;
  • be of a fixed duration; and
  • demonstrate adequate managerial, financial and technical capability to conduct the proposed activity.
ICF Objectives
The purpose of ICF is to diversify and enhance the economies of Atlantic communities. ICF capitalizes on the opportunities and strengths that exist in these communities to:

• develop competitive, productive, strategic industry sectors;
• strengthen community infrastructure in rural communities; and
• invest in projects that enhance communities’ capacity to overcome economic development challenges and take advantage of their strengths, assets and opportunities presented.

Financial Assistance Available

Assistance is non-repayable. The amount provided to each individual project will be determined by an assessment of the level of funding necessary to allow the project to proceed.
 
How much time does it take to process an application for assistance?

ACOA aims to process your project proposal and make a decision on your application within a reasonable amount of time.  Our goal is to send an acknowledgement letter to you, within ten business days of receiving a signed and completed application, which will provide the name and contact information of the program officer or of an ACOA official able to help you.

Click here for more information on our service standards, including how you can provide feedback on the quality of our service.

When an application for assistance is received by ACOA, it is immediately assigned to a program officer for evaluation. Each application for assistance is assessed based on the project’s own merit and against the program criteria, including financial need, the economic benefits for the Atlantic region, the overall risk and the Agency’s strategic priorities.

The time required to complete the evaluation process depends on a number of factors, including some that may be beyond the control of ACOA. The following are some of the circumstances that impact the decision-making process:

  1. Complexity of the Project – Some projects, such as innovation or research and development, are very complex in nature and may require consultation with individuals outside the organization.  Advice from experts in a particular field may be required as part of the due diligence process and in determining the overall risk.
  2. Environmental Assessments – As an agency of the federal government, ACOA adheres to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.  In compliance with this Act, the federal environmental assessment process must be applied as part of the project evaluation process.  The time required for the environmental assessment depends on the nature and scope of the project and the type of assessment required (e.g. screening, comprehensive study or other).  To better understand the level of assessment that will be required for your project, you may contact the program officer assigned to your project.
  3. Additional Information Requirements – While the Innovative Communities Fund application form lists the minimum information required to complete the evaluation of your project, additional information or clarification may be required from you during the due diligence process as the program officer analyses the information provided in the form.  Incomplete application forms or any delays in providing additional information may impact the time required to complete the evaluation process.
 
More Information

For more information on ICF funding or other ACOA programs, contact the ACOA office nearest you:

 

New Brunswick: 1-800-561-4030

Prince Edward Island: 1-800-871-2596

Newfoundland and Labrador: 1-800-668-1010

Nova Scotia: 1-800-565-1228

Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation: 1-800-705-3926

ACOA Head Office: 1-800-561-7862

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