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Contributions Program

Grants to Canada Nonprofits and IHEs for Research
on Privacy and Personal Information Protection

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC)

Deadline Date:

01/16/18 11:59 PM (submitter's local time)


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Grants to Canada nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and industry or trade associations for research concerning the protection of personal information and privacy. Proposals are invited for knowledge translation and research projects that fall under the following priority areas: government surveillance, the economics of personal information, reputation and privacy, and the body as information.


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.

Eligible Projects:

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 activities. 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.

Innovative Research Related to OPC Strategic Priorities:

As in past years, the OPC is inviting research and knowledge translation applications that relate to one or several of the priority areas and related implementation strategies.

The OPC’s priority areas are:
-The Economics of Personal Information
-Government Surveillance
-Reputation and Privacy, and
-The Body as information

In implementing these priorities, the OPC has committed to adopting the following cross-cutting strategies:
-Exploring innovative and technological ways to protect privacy
-Strengthening accountability and promoting good privacy governance
-Protecting privacy in a borderless world
-Enhancing public education role
-Enhancing privacy protection for vulnerable groups.

Special Call for Privacy Enhancing Technologies:

This year the OPC is particularly interested in funding research or knowledge translation projects that aim to promote the development and adoption of Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs).

During the OPC’s consultations on renewing the consent model under PIPEDA, it was heard that technology has an important role to play when traditional consent mechanisms are challenged. It has the potential of enhancing the consent process and making it more practical and meaningful. In response to this, OPC indicated in the latest annual report that it would inform individuals of existing consent tools and other privacy enhancing technologies that may assist them in having their preferences respected.

OPC’s work in this area has also shown that there is no shortage of good technological ideas for protecting individual privacy. There are, however, some categories of PETs (e.g., data tracking) that do not seem to have attracted the same degree of research interest as others. There also seems to be a lack of deployment and adoption of such technologies in the business community.

For these reasons, OPC is particularly interested in project proposals this year that address the following areas:
-Research to assess relative strengths and weakness of different categories of PETs;
-Research to invent new PETs;
-Research to improve the effectiveness of existing PETs;
-Research to study what are the barriers to deployment and adoption of PETs and how should these be addressed;
-Work to develop public education tools to better equip and enable individuals to avail themselves of the technologies that exist, and;
-Some combination of the above.

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, OPC strongly encourages 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 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 stakeholders and providing an opportunity for effective knowledge exchange between theoretical concepts and practical realities;

-Engagement of 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 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.)

Encouraging Partnerships between Academia and Civil Society:

The Program has made substantial gains over the past years in funding a greater diversity of research applicants. The Office wishes to continue to 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 again 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.

Work Previously Done Under the Program:

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 is available.

Projects Must be National in Scope:

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.

Projects Must Include Detailed Methodology:

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 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.

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.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 159934

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

The maximum amount that can be requested by applicants and that may be awarded to a single project is $100,000.

The maximum amount that can be allocated to any single recipient organization is $100,000.

Term of Contract:

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 April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019.

Exceptionally, the OPC may fund projects that extend beyond the end of the fiscal year (i.e. March 31, 2019) if the proposal persuasively demonstrates why the project 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.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

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.

Non-Eligible Applicants:
-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 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.

Pre-Application Information:

The budget for the OPC's Contribution Program is $500,000 annually. Of this amount, a maximum of $450,000 is being made available to applicants under the present call, and $50,000 or more will be made available next summer under the “Pathways to Privacy” call for proposals.

The deadline for receipt of applications is January 16, 2018, at 11:59 PM (your local time).

Incurred expenses must have been paid by the Recipient before they are invoiced to the OPC.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Online Application Form:

Schedule B - Project Budget Form:

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Care of: Contributions Program
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 1H3

Fax: 819-994-5424

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: Alberta;   British Columbia;   Manitoba;   New Brunswick;   Newfoundland and Labrador;   Northwest Territories;   Nova Scotia;   Nunavut;   Ontario;   Prince Edward Island;   Quebec;   Saskatchewan;   Yukon;

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