Assistive devices are increasingly helping people with disabilities join the workforce and add value to employers. Although there are a range of assistive devices currently being used across Canada for a variety of disabilities, there are few technologies that encourage digital economy participation. As a result, few disabled persons can contribute in a knowledge-driven capacity. To address this employment gap, more cost-effective digital-based assistive technologies need to be created.
Fortunately, the Accessible Technology Program (ATP) provides innovators with Canadian government funding to research and develop devices that help persons with disabilities to make an impact in digital-based roles. It seeks innovators across the country to conceptualize, develop, and commercialize devices that have a significant impact on the productivity and capabilities of disabled persons operating in a digital or knowledge-based capacity.
The Accessible Technology Program offers up to $4 million/year in research and development grants, including up to 50% support for for-profits and 80% for non-profit applicants.
To get started with the Accessible Technology Program, assistive device innovators must first request an application package from the program’s administrator, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED). Once applicants have received the package, they can complete it and submit at any time through the year. Applications are reviewed twice per year; upon receiving approval from the program, applicants may begin incurring funding-eligible expenses.
What is the Accessible Technology Program (ATP)?
The Accessible Technology Program is a Canadian government grant designed to spur assistive device innovations for people with disabilities. It seeks to eliminate employment barriers by helping disabled Canadians have access to digital technologies and better participate in the knowledge economy. Innovations can be positioned towards a wide variety of disabilities, as long as the solution is technology-oriented and helps people with disabilities to better contribute in digital roles.
Canadian businesses can receive up to 50% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $4 million per year, per project.
Applicants should be able to convey how funding will directly support their project, either through faster time-to-market, enhanced technological capabilities, or the ability to better promote the technology through workshops and other public events. Funding must lead to incremental project benefits that would not be possible without government support.
Applicants Eligible for the Accessible Technology Program
To qualify for assistive technology research and development grants through the Accessible Technology Program, applicants must:
- Be a Canadian entity, including for-profits, non-profits, and research institutions; and
- Clearly demonstrate the expertise and capabilities to complete an assistive technology development project.
Projects Eligible for ATP Assistive Technology Development Funding
Projects submitted for Accessible Technology Program funding consideration must:
- Develop new technologies that improve access to the digital economy for persons with disabilities;
- Develop affordable solutions that are financially accessible to Canadians with disabilities;
- Enhance employability and marketability of Canadians living with disabilities so they can actively participate in the digital and knowledge-based economy;
- Develop technology that is commercially available in the long-term; and
- Promote awareness of new assistive technologies through public events such as workshops.
Apply for ATP Assistive Device Research and Development Grants
To apply for ATP funding consideration, eligible applicants should contact Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), a federal department that administers the program. Once you’ve expressed interest in the program, you’ll receive an application package that needs to be completed and submitted back to the government. In addition to expressing how your proposed technology will improve the employability of persons with disabilities, applicants also need to attach two years of audited financial statements to prove that they have the financial capacity to complete the proposed project.
Applications are accepted throughout the year, but only reviewed during a bi-annual call for proposals.
Applicants should note when the program’s deadlines are and align their submission/project start dates accordingly. Once an application has been approved and the applicant signs a Contribution Agreement, they can begin incurring funding-eligible expenses. Funding is then awarded as a reimbursement when successful applicants incur and claim expenses.
To discuss whether the Accessible Technology Program is a good fit for your upcoming project(s) and discover how to optimize the application process, please contact Mentor Works.