Frequently Asked Questions

1. What types of projects will be funded under the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) program? Can you provide some examples?

There are two types of projects that will be funded through the GICB program:

  • Retrofits, repairs, and upgrades to existing community buildings: Retrofits are changes to an existing building that seek to renovate, upgrade, or repair aspects of the building in a manner that improves environmental outcomes. Retrofits must be to a facility that is accessible to the public and that provides non-commercial services to the community, such as community centres, public sports and recreational facilities, child and youth centres, mobile libraries, community health centres, structures that support community food security, and seniors' centres. For a detailed description of retrofit projects and their conditions for eligibility, please see page 5 of the Applicant Guide.
  • The construction of new community buildings: New builds must be of a facility that is open and accessible to the public and that will provide non-commercial services to the community. Examples include community centres, public sports and recreational facilities, adult community learning centres, Indigenous centres, and mobile health clinics. One third of funding being directed to new builds required to be built to net-zero or net-zero ready specifications. For a detailed description of new build projects and their conditions for eligibility, please see page 9 of the Applicant Guide.
2. How and when can I apply for funding?

Infrastructure Canada is currently accepting applications for retrofits and new building projects for community buildings. Applications are being accepted on an ongoing basis for projects under $3 million and until July 6, 2021 at 23:59 PDT for projects from $3 million to $25 million.

Please consult the How to Submit an Application section on the main page for details on how to apply. Additional information can be found in the Applicant Guide.

If you are an eligible applicant with an eligible project, you are invited to complete the Applicant Registration Form. The creation of an account will allow you to access the online application portal and gain access to applicant support services.

3. Who can I contact if I need more assistance with my application?

You can contact us directly by email at infc.gicbp-pbcvi.infc@canada.ca. We have a dedicated team ready to answer your questions.

4. How is it decided who will receive funding?

Applicants proposing small and medium retrofit projects ($3 million or less in total eligible costs) to existing community buildings may submit their applications at any time. Applications that meet the eligibility criteria and the minimum standard for the merit criteria will be funded on a rolling intake basis.

Applicants proposing large retrofit projects to existing community buildings or new community building projects ($3 million to $25 million in total eligible costs) may submit their applications up until the deadline (July 6, 2021 at 23:59 PDT).  These projects will be evaluated on a competitive basis using eligibility and merit criteria.

5. How is the GICB program different from other Government of Canada measures that have been announced, such as the Infrastructure Canada's Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Green Municipal Fund, or the Canada Infrastructure Bank's Public Retrofit Initiative?

The GICB program is unique as it will fund recipients directly (with the funding approach for Québec projects still being determined).

The GICB program will complement funding from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan's Green Infrastructure Stream that supports the improvement of environmental quality, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and increases the resilience of communities.

The GICB program and the Canada Infrastructure Bank's Public Retrofit Initiative share similar objectives to support projects that will help achieve net zero goals. For proponents seeking to undertake deep retrofits to multiple buildings within a municipality or community, the Canada Infrastructure Bank's Public Retrofits Initiative may be a better financing source than GICB.

6. How does Canada Infrastructure Bank's Public Retrofits Initiative work?

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) is working with public sector portfolio owners to develop bundles of energy retrofit projects financed by CIB along with the private sector.  The financing can be repaid through energy savings without creating any new obligations for the public sector owner.

Eligible public sector includes all levels of government, Indigenous communities, schools, hospitals, and universities, with a goal of GHG reduction through a modernized portfolio and reduced deferred maintenance.

Benefits of the CIB Public Retrofit Initiative:

  • The CIB is financing energy retrofit projects that range from operational upgrades to deep energy retrofit projects (including fuel switch), with the CIB bearing energy performance risk. 
  • The CIB is providing sub-commercial interest rates with up to 30-year time horizon, and with flexible terms and conditions.
  • There is no upper limit on the project size and therefore the CIB can work with the public sector on complete transformation of their assets.
  • CIB is providing advisory services that include:
    • development of a business case
    • assistance in the collection of energy data and energy audits
    • portfolio and aggregation analysis to ensure maximization of GHG emissions reduction
    • development of measurement and verification standards for energy savings to avoid claims and disputes

For more information about the Canada Infrastructure Bank's Public Retrofits Initiative, please visit https://cib-bic.ca/en/.

7. Where did this funding come from?

The funding was announced in December 2020 as part of the Government of Canada's Strengthened Climate Plan A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy.

Through the new GICB program, the Government of Canada will invest $1.5 billion in community buildings projects across the country to help build back better, support jobs and economic growth, promote a cleaner environment and invest in communities experiencing higher needs across the country.

8. Who did you consult with to ensure program design met the needs of various communities? 

Infrastructure Canada had conversations with a variety of stakeholders during the program design phase, including municipal representatives, Indigenous groups, academic researchers, and policy think tanks. Discussions centered on a variety of issues, including the need for modern and green multipurpose community spaces in communities across the country.

9. What federal funding programs are currently available to support community buildings?

Organization

Program/Fund Name

Intake Status

Infrastructure Canada

Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program

Ongoing - delivered through bilateral agreements with provinces and territories.

Infrastructure Canada (delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities)

Green Municipal Fund (GMF)

Ongoing

Infrastructure Canada (delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities)

Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program (MCIP)

Ongoing

Infrastructure Canada

Gas Tax Fund

Ongoing – delivered through agreements with signatories which include provinces, territories.

Canada Infrastructure Bank

Partnerships for Energy Efficient Retrofits (PEER)

Ongoing

Canadian Heritage

Canada Cultural Spaces Fund (CCSF)

Ongoing

Employment and Social Development Canada

Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF)

Closed

Natural Resources Canada

Energy Efficient Buildings Program (EEB)

Closed

Environment and Climate Change Canada

Low Carbon Economy Fund (LCEF)

Closed

Environment and Climate Change Canada

Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF)

Ongoing

Indigenous Services Canada

Capital Facilities and Maintenance (CFM)

Ongoing

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Climate Change Preparedness in the North Program

Ongoing

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Northern Responsible Energy Approach for Community Heat and Electricity (REACHE) Program

Ongoing

10. Is there a funding allocation for provinces and territories?

While a minimum of 10% of total funding will be allocated to Indigenous peoples, this is a merit based program where projects must meet core criteria. Regional fairness will also factor into which projects are selected.

11. Are governments (provincial, territorial, regional, municipal, Indigenous) able to submit lists of their infrastructure priorities and projects that fit with the GICB program objectives?

Yes, the GICB, at different stages of the assessment process, may consider how projects fit in with the broader priorities of other governments. This information helps to support individual application assessments. It should be noted that projects must still be submitted individually for assessment through the application portal. Governments are welcome to submit their priorities and associated projects to infc.gicbp-pbcvi.infc@canada.ca.

12. Is there a cost-share requirement for provincial funding?

No. While there is an overall cost-share expectation, this could be met in other ways, such as funding from another federal program, the private sector, the municipality, the community, etc.  Applicants will need to ensure that program terms and conditions of all funding sources are compatible (e.g. federal and other government funding sources stacking limits, maximum funding limits, etc.).

13. How are the environmental impact and resilience planning elements being assessed?

Retrofit projects are scored and rated based on percentage of energy savings and percentage of greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. Where applicable, climate resilience will also be assessed. A climate resilience assessment is mandatory for all new-build projects. For retrofit projects, applicants are expected to demonstrate how they have considered climate data to identify risks, whether the project includes resilience measures and explanations of how they will address the identified climate risks, and must specify whether the building will be used for disaster relief. If climate resilience is not applicable to a project, applicants must provide a reasonable and accurate explanation for why climate resiliency is not relevant to their project.

14. How will social (inclusion) impact be assessed?

Applications will be assessed to determine the extent to which the project will serve and provide benefits to vulnerable, higher-need and equity-deserving groups, as well as the areas in which they live. The assessment will take into consideration the manner in which the application outlines the steps that will be taken to ensure those benefits are realized across multiple high needs or equity-deserving groups. Projects will also be assessed to determine whether, the highest applicable accessibility standards are being applied.

15. Does the GICB fund pre-build planning and feasibility costs?

While the program will not fund planning and feasibility studies on their own as independent projects, the program does allow for planning costs associated with the implementation of a project. Planning costs for projects approved for funding may include fees paid to professionals, technical personnel, consultants and contractors specifically engaged for the purpose of the renovation, expansion or improvement work or new builds of eligible infrastructure, including planning and energy audit costs. These costs must be incurred within the time period permitted for eligible costs (April 1 2021- March 31 2026). There are also other funding options, including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities recently launched Community Buildings Retrofit initiative which includes a funding stream for feasibility studies.

16. Can projects that have been approved and tendered, or those that have already started, be considered for funding?

Projects will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and the GICB program will favour projects where there is potential to add additional components to an existing project if those additional elements would contribute to achieving higher energy efficiencies, result in GHG reductions, contribute to increased climate resilience, or support enhanced social inclusion and accessibility. However, costs incurred prior to April 1, 2021 or after March 31, 2026, and all expenditures related to any contract signed prior to April 1, 2021, would not be eligible.  If your project has already received approval under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) or another Infrastructure Canada program, or another federal or provincial program, it is recommended that you contact the program under which you were approved to discuss the terms of funding and potential implications of making changes to the project. In the case of ICIP, please consult your respective provincial or territorial funding agreement.

17. Are there any special considerations regarding communities in Québec?

In general, the GICB program will need to wait to action applications from Québec-based applicants that are subject to M-30 of la Loi sur le ministère du Conseil exécutif, until the Government of Canada and the Secrétariat du Québec aux relations canadiennes (SQRC) reach an agreement on the most effective approach to implementing the program in Québec. However, applicants may still wish to submit applications and can do so, recognizing that procedures may be adjusted and funding decisions will not be concluded until an agreement between the two governments is in place. The program will process applications from Indigenous communities that are not subject to M-30, la Loi sur le ministère du Conseil exécutif in Québec, and will proceed with funding decisions where applicable on a case-by-case basis.

18. How will projects be assessed in terms of energy efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, where low carbon intensity electricity grids are in use?

While low carbon intensity electricity grids may make GHG reductions more difficult, energy efficiency gains can still be achieved through other measures. Emission reductions will be scored based on percentage of reduction, not absolute amounts.

19. What assets are eligible for GICB funding?
 

New Build Projects

Retrofit Projects

Indigenous Projects

Community Centres 

Public Sports and Recreational Facilities (e.g. arenas, sports centres)

Recreational Facilities (e.g. child and youth centres; community adult learning centres; seniors activity centres)

Cultural Buildings  (e.g. cultural centres, libraries)

Mobile community infrastructure (e.g. health clinics, libraries, youth services)

Community food storage facilities/food banks, greenhouses)

 

Community health and wellness infrastructures (e.g. community health centres; addiction and mental health centres; rehabilitation centres, etc. )

 

Indigenous health and social infrastructure facilities (e.g. community health centres, clinics, paramedic facilities, long-term care facilities/Elders' lodges, family violence and homeless shelters)

   

Indigenous education facilities  (e.g. schools, universities and colleges, adult learning centres; early childhood and daycares)

   

Note: The program will only fund facilities that are serving substantially similar functions as those identified as eligible assets. Administration buildings (city offices, town halls, etc.), hospitals, long-term care facilities, police stations or fire halls, places of worship, daycare centres, shelters, hospices, schools or post-secondary campuses, and any other facility that does not deliver publicly accessible community services, that are similar in nature to those provided under eligible assets, are not eligible for funding under the GICB program, with the noted exceptions of Indigenous projects related to health, social or education facilities.

20. While residential facilities are not eligible, are health and wellness facilities eligible if they include lodging for overnight treatment and care?

These facilities are only eligible in cases where the retrofit or new build project is submitted by an Indigenous organization mandated to support or provide programs and services to Indigenous populations.

21. What types of applicants are ineligible under the GICB program?

The following are not eligible:

  • Commercial and for-profit organizations, including cooperatives
  • Unincorporated not-for-profit organizations
  • Individuals and private citizens
  • Federal entities, including federal Crown corporations
22. Can a municipality or province submit multiple projects for a suite of building retrofits?

Yes. However, there may be other funding avenues, such as the Canada Infrastructure Bank's (CIB) Public Buildings Retrofits Initiative that may be more appropriate as the primary consideration of funding source. Infrastructure Canada may refer such applicants/projects to the CIB, but does not preclude applicants from applying directly to the GICB

23: Are provincial housing or long-term care projects eligible?

Housing and long-term care  facilities are not eligible buildings or assets under the GICB program, with the exception of long-term care facility projects put forward by Indigenous recipients with a mandate to serve Indigenous clients.

24: How do I retrieve the information I submitted in the GICB questionnaire? (Information submitted prior to April 14, 2021)

The interest questionnaire that was launched on March 5, 2021 was initiated in order to gauge the volume of interest and help inform the design of the program and was not an application to this program. Some projects, or aspects of projects, that were brought up in this questionnaire may not be eligible based on the final design of the program. As such, the information shared in the original questionnaire will not be available on your account page in the application portal. We encourage you to ensure your project meets the requirements for funding as documented in the Applicant Guide prior to submitting your application.

Questions and Answers: Distinctions Based Approach

25: How has the program design taken account of the needs of Indigenous peoples?

While engagement with Indigenous communities and organizations continues, advice received during the program development resulted in key features of the program such as providing for:

  • rolling intake for small and medium retrofits
  • up to 100% contribution by Infrastructure Canada for Indigenous projects
  • an applicant support team
  • expanded eligibility of asset types for Indigenous recipients, including health, education and social facilities.
26: What approach will be used to allocate the 10% of funding dedicated to Indigenous peoples?

The GICB program was announced with 10% of the funding being dedicated for First Nations, Inuit, Metis, and other non-status or non-affiliated groups and urban Indigenous organizations. In response to the feedback received from engagements with Indigenous stakeholders concerning a desire to not have distinction-based groups competing with each other, notional funding targets have been established to ensure funding is available to benefit each distinction-based grouping. However, the program is still being delivered in the context of a merit-based program intended to achieve best possible energy efficiency and actual allocation results will also be influenced by the number and strength of the applications received. These notional allocations will mean Indigenous projects are not competing with projects from other Indigenous distinction-based groups within the 10% dedicated funding, while also treating the 10% as a minimum allocation toward Indigenous projects. Once the 10% dedicated funding has been exhausted, projects will be assessed alongside all other proposals on a competitive basis.

27: What are the four distinction-based groups?

Four groups are eligible for funding: Métis, First Nations, Inuit, and a grouping that includes non-affiliated and non-status Indigenous recipients. This approach is based on the Government of Canada's commitment to advancing reconciliation and renewing the relationship with Indigenous peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.

Under this program, eligible Indigenous recipients are based on the concept of 'by Indigenous peoples for Indigenous peoples'. This means that eligible recipients will be Indigenous organizations that are primarily mandated to support or provide programs and services to Indigenous populations. Non-Indigenous applicants serving Indigenous clients would be considered outside the 10% dedicated funding for Indigenous peoples.

28. How will projects that have a potential duty to consult be considered and addressed?

Infrastructure Canada will require all projects to respect and comply with any modern treaty rights and provisions that may arise as a result of a project. As part of the review process, Infrastructure Canada staff will ensure that consultations are held by the project applicants with affected Indigenous groups, prior to funding being granted, when a legal duty to consult is triggered. Costs for the purposes of Indigenous consultations are an eligible expense under the program, so should be considered by applicants in the overall project costs.

Infrastructure Canada communicates Duty to Consult requirements as early as possible in the approvals process. The Department also provides applicants with guidance and advice as provided by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) in their draft Consultation and Accommodation Advice for Proponents guidance document. Applicants are asked to address issues raised by Indigenous groups where appropriate, and to diligently document the communications between parties, making note where concerns have been addressed and if not, explain why.

Additional information on how Infrastructure Canada determines and addresses the Duty to Consult requirements can be found on our website: https://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/dtc-odc-eng.html.