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Manufacturer located in Northern Ontario


Fewer than 500 FTE's at the applying facility


Established manufacturer with two

years of operating history and

financial stability



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Guidelines for the SMART Operational Assessments Program

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Applying for Funding

This program ends on July 31, 2018. We continue to accept applications for assessments until May 31, 2018 with a completion date of no later than June 30, 2018. All reports and expense claims for approved assessments must be submitted no lather than June 30, 2018. No extensions will be granted.

SMART realizes the importance of assessments and will contribute 50% to a maximum of $15,000 of the eligible costs to help companies identify opportunities in the areas of product and process improvements, quality, lean manufacturing, information systems, human resources, management systems, and market analysis. Companies who complete an assessment would be eligible to participate in FedNor's Targeted Manufacturing Initiative for Northern Ontario productivity improvements funding opportunity.


Companies must complete an application and submit a proposal from a qualified service provider (QSP) authorized by the SMART Program. This must be for future work and not for any assessments that have been previously completed by the applicant. The proposal must outline the assessment process, clearly articulating the areas of consideration and opportunities for improvement, the recommendations, and a description of how results will be measured. Operational assessments are expected to enable manufacturers to identify specific improvements in their systems, processes, equipment, or management practices that should result in increased productivity and competitiveness.


Important Notes:


  • An approval for an assessment does not guarantee that a project will then qualify for FedNor's Targeted Manufacturing Initiative for Northern Ontario funding.

  • Only one assessment will be funded per company.

  • If completing a market assessment, it must be done for an international market or location which the company is not presently serving. The United States is considered an international market.

  • The assessment must be undertaken by an approved CME SMART Qualified Service Provider (QSP). (Work done by an internal staff member, whether full time or part time will not be considered.)

  • This must be for future work and not for any assessments that have been previously completed by the applicant.

  • A signed copy of the assessment proposal (from the QSP) must be submitted by the company for pre-approval prior to starting the assessment.

  • A final copy of the QSP's report must be submitted to SMART for approval prior to any final payment.

  • All agreements for the assessment are between the applicant company and the QSP.

  • The applicant company is responsible for making payments to the QSP. SMART will not make direct payments to the QSP.

  • The final decision on satisfaction with the quality of the assessment rests with the applicant company. If unsatisfied with the report, this must be rectified before submitting to SMART for payment. A received report and final claim constitutes a satisfactory and complete assessment.

  • Please note: Applications are only being accepted for manufacturers in Northern Ontario. Refer to the Northern Ontario Service Area for coverage area.

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map of northern ontario

Northern Ontario Service Area

Northern Ontario Area

FedNor's designated service area (Northern Ontario) consists of the following Census Divisions:


  • 44 Muskoka District Municipality

  • 48 Nipissing District

  • 49 Parry Sound District

  • 51 Manitoulin District

  • 52 Sudbury District

  • 53 Greater Sudbury Census Division

  • 54 Timiskaming District

  • 56 Cochrane District

  • 57 Algoma District

  • 58 Thunder Bay District

  • 59 Rainy River District

  • 60 Kenora District


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map of northern ontario census divisions

Click on map to expand>

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Eligible Companies

In order to be considered for FedNor assessment funding, your company must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a manufacturer based in Northern Ontario per the census map (Refer to Northern Ontario Service Area)

  • Must be an incorporated business (federally or provincially) for 2 years or more continuously

  • Must demonstrate financial stability

  • Must have fewer than 500 FTE employees maximum in Northern Ontario

  • Companies are not required to be a member of CME to be eligible.

  • Not receiving other contributions toward the activities contained in the funding application from other government funded programs, including but not limited to;

    • University or College Funding programs

    • Export Funding programs

    • Other related government funding programs

Eligible Activities

Operational assessments by qualified experts to identify where potential operational efficiencies could be achieved.

Assessments can focus on areas such as:

  • productivity;

  • process flow;

  • quality (for example, ISO Certification);

  • waste reduction; 

  • environmental impact (various green certifications);

  • energy efficiency (production level);

  • information systems;

  • lean manufacturing, Kaizen, Six Sigma, 5S principles;

  • human resources / organizational analysis;

  • management systems;

  • market analysis (aiming to expand existing or into new markets); and

  • Industrial Technological Benefits (ITB) readiness (Defense Procurement)


Eligible Costs

A proposed budget must be submitted with each application.The budget should provide a detailed breakdown of costs, including time, travel, reporting, etc. All service provider invoices must clearly outline the services provided. One cost such as "services rendered" will not be accepted.


  • Consulting fees (including travel) are eligible.

  • Entertainment and meals are not eligible costs.

  • All receipts for travel must be submitted with final claim. Any receipts that are not included will be removed from eligible costs. 

  • CME reserves the right to remove any unreasonable costs.


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Selection Criteria and Process
Flow chart

Selection Criteria and Review Process

Selection Criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on their ability to meet the following criteria:

  • Activities that aim at improving and modernizing the manufacturing process, leading to increased productivity and competitiveness;

  • Projected economic and environmental benefits to Ontario, including the scale of reasonableness of the benefits expected from the project and interactions with other segments of the Ontario economy;

  • Creation of long-term employment and high-value jobs;

  • Improved competitiveness and economic growth in Northern Ontario.

A Fair and Impartial Process Using Industry Experts

Each application will be given a fair evaluation based upon the information that is provided in the applications and with any additional supporting documentation provided by the applicant. The applicant is responsible for ensuring that all relevant information is provided at the time of the application. SMART staff will review the application and provide feedback on any missing documentation or where clarification is required. Missing information will delay the response time. As a general guideline, applications will be reviewed within a 45-business day timeframe.

Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest

All CME staff and contractors involved in the application review and selection process are covered by a strict confidentiality and conflict of interest agreement. Click here to download a copy of the CME SMART Program Code of Conduct.


 Industry Canada FedNor will have access to all information upon request of the documents.


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Paper Stack

Approval and Reimbursement Process


A Program Advisor will contact successful applicants and provide a copy of the Contribution Agreement (contract). Upon approval, the applicant should notify their qualified service provider and set a date to start the assessment. Assessments must be completed within 90 days of approval notification. If an extension is required, contact your SMART Program officer and provide a written of the reason for the delay, along with the new timeline for the assessment.



Once the assessment is complete, and all of the assessment expenses have been paid in full, you are ready to report these expenses to CME for reimbursement. Contact your SMART program advisor, who will provide you with the necessary forms to submit your reimbursement claim.


You will be required to complete an Expense Claim Form which will identify the budgeted expenses you submitted as part of your original application, and you will need to explain any significant variations (up or down) in actual expenses.

Expense Reimbursement

Ensure that you review all eligible and non-eligible costs. Any expense claims with non-eligible costs will be denied and will delay your expense claim. If your approved expenses end up being less than originally proposed, the award amount will be adjusted accordingly.


Copies of all invoices, supporting documents, final report from the QSP outlining the recommendations, and expense claim must be provided to an assigned SMART Program advisor.


Once all expenses have been received, they will be reviewed for final eligibility. Approved expenses will be reimbursed within 30 business days of the approval date.


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Working with a SMART-Qualified Service Provider (QSP)

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Role of the Qualified Service Provider

The qualified service provider is required to provide a study proposal to the applicant that will include the type of assessment to be conducted, process of the assessment, context, the time frame, a breakdown of the costs and expected outcomes of the completed assessment. Click on the image to the right to select a SMART-approved Qualified Service Provider.


This proposal must be submitted by the applicant along with their application for an on-site assessment. It is important that the proposal provides enough detail of the assessment to allow CME to base a decision of approval.


Upon completion of the assessment, a final report must be submitted to the applicant. This report shall include the report of findings during the assessment and recommendations for further improvements. Recommendations included should align with FedNor’s Targeted Manufacturing Initiative for Northern Ontario which will allow the company to further apply for funding under the program. For further details on this initiative, view the website here.



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A completed assessment does not mean that a company's application will be grandfathered for automatic project funding with Industry Canada FedNor. All project funding applications must be submitted independently to FedNor and will be evaluated based upon its overall merits.


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Open Book


Full-time Employee

A full time employee is a person who works directly for the applicant company, works a minimum of 35 hours per standard week and is paid through company payroll throughout the lifecycle of the project. A company must have fewer than 500 employees per corporation.


Incurred Expense

An expense is considered to have been incurred if the relevant services or products have been provided or delivered or payment or deposit has been made.  Also, as of the submission date, if the relevant services or products have been ordered  (but have not been provided or delivered), then the portion of the moneys prepaid in respect of such services or products shall be considered costs or expenses incurred.



Any natural or legal person who makes a physical good with tools and/or machines by effecting chemical, mechanical, or physical transformation of materials, substances, or components, or by simulating natural processes, usually repeatedly and on a large scale with a division of labor. Manufactured items often are, or are made out to be, different from other similar goods in one or more aspects, and are sold commonly under a particular brand name.


Small - Medium Size Enterprise (SME)

For the purpose of the SMART Program, a SME is a manufacturing company located in Northern Ontario with fewer than 500 employees per corporation.


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Speak to a SMART Program Advisor

If you have any questions relating to the application process, call us at 1-877-913-4263 and ask to speak to a Program Advisor.



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How to apply
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How to apply

Who Should Complete the Application?

Because the application contains important information about your company (for example your corporate registration number) and about your proposed project (including details of costs and timing), different people in your organization may have to contribute different information to complete your application. However, only one person should be accountable for the application, so it might be best if the application is actually made by a senior person at the company. 3rd party submissions will not be considered.


Submit an Application

The program is coming to an end on July 31, 2018.  We will continue to accept applications until May 31, 2018 for assessments with a completion date of no later than June 30, 2108.  However, access to the online portal will be closed on April 30, 2018.  Effective April 30, 2018 and until May 31, 2018, new applications must be submitted via email to Click here to download a copy of the paper-based application form.

  1. Select a consultant from the list of approved consultants.

  2. Ensure you have contacted and met with the consultant prior to applying. The consultant must prepare a proposal and quote on the assessment to be conducted. The proposal must include a detailed outline of the time, costs, and travel requirements.

  3. Complete the paper-based application form in full and send it along with a copy of the consultant's proposal via email to


A CME SMART representative will contact you for additional details or for approvals. A final decision on the application will be provided to the applicant within 10 business days.


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