Glossary of Terms:Grants & Contributions

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Accredited Services (pertaining to translation and interpretation): Services provided by an authorized or officially recognized individual or organization. If in doubt, check with your Program Officer.

Action Plan: Periodic report prepared by funding recipient to detail progress towards achieving goals and outputs/outcomes as stated in the Schedule 1. It also describes the intended activities for the remainder of the fiscal year/life of agreement aimed at successful achievement of same.

Activity Monitoring: A IRCC-initiated process for ensuring that the activities outlined in the agreement are taking place and are in keeping with the program objectives and outcomes (e.g. activity progress, milestones and participant progress); see also monitoring and financial monitoring.

Activity Summaries: Statistical and/or narrative report that is submitted with the Claim for  Reimbursement and detailing program functions, clients served, etc. that have occurred during the period for which payment is being requested. The term “activity” refers to an operation or work process performed by the recipient and which leads to an output.

Administrative Expenses: Operating expenses that an organization incurs but which are not directly tied to a specific project or activity. These expenses are related to the organization as a whole and are generally fixed in nature and therefore will be incurred regardless of projects/programming. Examples of administrative costs include: administrative-type salary and professional services (e.g. executive director, bookkeeper, clerical support, legal services, audit fees), bank charges, security costs, rent, office supplies, printing and photocopying, Internet access, etc.

Advance Payment: Advance payments are payments made prior to the recipient performing the activities specified in the contribution agreement. Advances are granted when a recipient requests such and confirms that it is essential to achieving project objectives.

Agreement (or Contribution Agreement): Previously referred to as Articles but now commonly used to refer to the Contribution Agreement plus and Schedules 1 to 4 in totality. It is a signed document (by the recipient and an authorized IRCC official) constituting a binding agreement between the two parties with respect to transfer payments for the provision of goods or services to a third party.

Annual Performance Report: A report prepared by the recipient at the end of each fiscal year of funding. It summarizes activities and deliverables for the fiscal year that has just concluded and is to be submitted to IRCC in support of the final Claim for Reimbursement for the fiscal year.

Bank Charges: All charges and fees made by a bank to their customers. These charges include monthly charges for the provision of an account, charges for specific transactions, interest in respect of verdrafts, etc.

Budget: A detailed estimate of the recipient’s revenues and expenses designed to provide a plan for, and control over, future operations.

Capacity Building: Increasing the skills and abilities of individuals, groups and organizations to plan, undertake and manage initiatives such as projects and programs. It also enhances the recipient’s capacity to organize these ventures, to keep them running, and to effectively deal with future issues and/or problems.

Capital assets or capital expenditures: Costs that the Recipient expects to incur and pay for capital assets purchased or leased (with option to buy and there is reasonable assurance that the lessee will obtain ownership at the end of the lease terms), in whole or in part, and costing in excess of $1000. Capital assets must be recorded according to the “whole asset” approach, taking into account the quantity of items purchased.

Child Care/Care for Newcomer Children: Long term (4 weeks or more) or short term (less than 4 weeks) care for children of eligible clients provided during the delivery of direct IRCC funded programming (e.g. assessment, language classes). This care is different from licensed daycare because the parents are onsite with their children.

Compliance Audit (also referred to as Recipient Audit): An independent assessment to provide assurance of a recipient’s compliance with the terms of a contribution agreement. Such an audit may address any or all financial as well as non-financial aspects of the CA and are intended to support monitoring and overall management of a contribution agreement.

Copyrighted/non-copyrighted material: “Copyright” means “the right to copy.” In general, only the copyright owner, often the creator of the work, is allowed to produce or reproduce the work or to permit anyone else to do so. Non-copyright material is that which is not prohibited from unauthorized reproduction. Copyright fees are generally eligible expenses.

Crisis counseling: Crisis Counseling provides advice and support to clients encountering problems and crises while adjusting to life in Canada and it assists them in the resolution of these difficulties. It is different from general counselling provided as information and orientation. It is a short-term service and should not include in-depth social or psychological counselling of a kind normally provided by existing health and social service systems. The ultimate objective is for the recipient to successfully bridge the client to appropriate mainstream services (e.g., professional counseling services, peer networks and support groups).

Cultural interpreters: Interpreters used in the Settlement or Resettlement context are usually “cultural” interpreters, that is, they are permitted to not only translate what the client has said but are also to provide information on cultural aspects which may be affecting understanding of a subject.

Daily Total (meals & incidentals): Your program officer will confirm what are eligible and acceptable limits to ensure that they align with the Treasury Board of Canada’s Travel Directive and Special Travel Authorities..

Deliverable(s): Deliverables are products (e.g. reports, publications, classes) that recipients commit to complete during the course of a project. Your CA would set out various deliverables that you, as a funding recipient, are expected to achieve and report on during the course of the project.

Direct services: Projects or services which involve a direct intervention (generally in-person or face-to-face) with an eligible newcomer client. See also Funding Guidelines p. 12.

Eligible clients: Please see Part B of the IRCC Funding Guildlines, available on the IRCC website.

Eligible costs/expenses: Please Part B of the IRCCFunding Guidlines, available on the IRCC website.

Financial Statement Audit: Independent audit performed by auditors to provide an opinion on an organization’s financial statements. It is different from a compliance audit in that it does not indicate if the costs claimed by the recipient are in compliance with a particular CA; see also compliance audit.

Financial monitor: Monitoring conducted to verify that funds are spent as per the agreement and that financial systems and practices are in place to manage and control agreement funds; see also monitorand activity monitor.

Financial reporting: Financial reporting includes: The Forecast of Cash Flow which presents projected administration, delivery and capital costs by fiscal year; The Claim for Reimbursement is an itemized list of expenditures based on the Schedule 2 cost categories. It may be submitted with an updated Forecast of Cash Flow, if applicable; and the Final Financial Report details all actual revenues and expenses for the entire project, audited or not (based on CA requirements).

Flat rate: see Negotiated Administrative Rate.

Forecast of Cash Flow: A financial management tool used to show both projected expenditures on a monthly basis for each fiscal year and actual expenditures as the project progresses. It aids analysis to assess whether expenditures are in line with forecasts during the project period. Updated Forecasts of Cash Flow are required when there are variances of +/- 15% of total costs for a period, or upon request by IRCC.

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP): In Canada, accounting principles are established by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and provide the framework of broad guidelines, conventions, rules and procedures of accounting in order to communicate and present financial information.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Harmonized Sales Tax (HST): It is the responsibility of recipients who are entitled to reimbursement of a portion of taxes paid to apply to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for a GST or HST rebate. Recipients should provide IRCC with confirmation of the rebate. If the rebate is less than one hundred percent, the portion not included in the rebate is an eligible non-salary cost. IRCC will not pay claims or reimburse other expenditures from the recipient after the final claim has been processed.

Holdback: A portion of a total contribution payment which is withheld until the recipient has fulfilled all of obligations, as specified in the contribution agreement. The holdback percentage is determined based on an assessment of level of risk.

Honoraria/Honorarium: A payment made to a person for their services in a volunteer capacity or for services that are rendered nominally without charge.

Hospitality: Hospitality expenses can include meals (i.e. food and non-alcoholic beverages offered as breakfast, lunch and dinner), refreshments (i.e., snacks and/or non-alcoholic beverages served between meals), in conjunction with meetings, receptions, workshops, conferences, youth events that are longer than an hour or two, graduation ceremonies (e.g. beverage and light snack), and occasions when it is not reasonable for clients to provide their own refreshments (e.g. no access to fridge, no opportunity to go out and purchase at reasonable cost) and it is deemed necessary to deliver the service effectively. Your

Program Officer will confirm what is eligible and acceptable and will ensure that these align with Treasury Board of Canada directives.

iCAMS/iCARE: These are online systems designed to collect and store client and program-based data relating to the use of settlement and resettlement assistance services. Recipients collect these data from clients and provide them to IRCC to enable the Department to manage program planning and funding, determine how recipients are performing, as well as, identify areas where improvements can be made to settlement and resettlement programs.

In-kind contributions: Resources provided by either the recipient or another organization that are integral to the operation of the proposed project/activity (e.g. use of space, equipment, salary) and do not require any reimbursement for their use. In-kind contributions are not eligible for reimbursement.

Indirect services: Activities undertaken by organizations to strengthen the settlement sector and improve and/or enhance settlement or resettlement assistance program-related services (e.g. workshops, conferences, seminars, publications, research, curriculum development, publicity); see also Funding Guidelines, p.7.

Interim report/periodic report: The Contribution Agreement requires that all recipients report on the activities and results of their project. Such reports are intended to help IRCC determine whether expected results are being achieved by measuring progress during project implementation, or within the duration of program funding.

Interpretation: Oral translation from the client’s language of origin into either official language for immediate and essential settlement needs.

Itinerant Services: Settlement services offered to clients at locations other than those operated by the reporting agency/recipient.

Lease agreement: A contractual/legal document that indicates the specific terms of agreement between an owner (lessor) and tenant (lessee) that are agreed to by both parties, for the use of an asset (e.g., property, photocopier).

Leasehold improvements: Leasehold improvements (not applicable to the owner/landlord of a building) are modifications to an existing property that are durable (i.e., lasting more than one year) and revert, in principle, to the landlord or the owner at the end of the agreement. They improve a property beyond its original condition and are normally not readily removable. Examples include the installation of walls, doors, built-in cabinets and ceilings, as well as devices for eligible clients with disabilities. It does not include the cost to construct a building. Maximum amounts payable for capital expenditures apply.

Line Item: Refers to the program’s eligible expenditures displayed in the drop-down menus in Schedule 2 of the CA. The line items are grouped under cost categories. Within the Program Delivery cost category, there is a drop down list of 17 line items (e.g. salaries, wages and benefits; training and professional development; etc.) and 2 line items within the Capital cost category (capital expenditures and eligible GST/HST).

Mandatory Employment Related Costs (MERCs): MERCs are costs that employers are required to pay based on federal or provincial/territorial laws. MERCs under the federal law include employment insurance (EI) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

Monitoring: Activities undertaken to control the risk related to a recipient and to ensure compliance with the obligations and performance objectives in a contribution agreement. It includes reviewing project activities and finances in order to ensure: public funds are spent for the intended purpose; expenditures claimed are eligible and allowable; agreed-upon services/activities are being undertaken; and, the agreement and program terms and conditions are being met. (See also Financial Monitor)

Negotiated Administrative Rate (Flat Rate): The negotiated administrative rate is determined by calculating total eligible administrative costs as a percentage of total eligible program/project delivery costs. The maximum rate is 15 per cent. Calculations are based on figures included in the annual Forecasts of Cash Flow.

Outcome(s): The term “outcome” refers to an external consequence attributable in some fashion to a project or initiative that is considered significant in relation to the project. The outcomes or results are the effects of the outputs on stakeholders such as raised awareness and understanding of issues, increased ability in speaking/reading/writing/listening, better economic conditions, etc. They can be short, medium or long term.

Outputs: Refers to direct products or services stemming from the activities of a project or initiative, and delivered to a target group or population. These typically provide evidence that the activities have occurred. The work done usually produces something tangible such as clients served, jobs created, conferences held, books published, etc..

Overhead costs: Overhead generally includes costs incurred by an entity that cannot be directly attributable to outputs (goods or services). Such costs may include such items as management salaries, finance and administrative costs, human resource management costs, informatics costs, etc.

Paid Leave (see also Vacation Pay): Paid leave represents vacation time earned by employees as they work.

Payroll charges: Fees charged by financial institution or payroll service for the preparation and filing of the payroll.

Performance indicator: A benchmark used to measure the extent, quality or quantity of a result produced. It is indicative of the size, amount or degree of progress towards the result.

Police record checks: Under the Criminal Records Review Act, individuals working with children or vulnerable adults and who have unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults must authorize a Criminal Record Check for their employer or authorized organization.

Profit margins: For IRCC grants and contribution purposes, profit margin is the difference between the cost of a good or service incurred by the recipient and the amount claimed for it where the claimed amount exceeds the cost to produce the good or service.

Program Delivery: Program delivery costs include all costs directly related to the delivery of the program/activity offered by an organization. Examples include salaries and wages for language instructors, rent for classrooms, computer labs for students, materials for training.

Promotional items: Items used in marketing and communication that are given out by the recipient to promote specific programs or services.

Provisions for disabled/disabilities: Provisions for disabled/disabilities are costs incurred to allow a client with a physical or learning disability to participate in IRCC-funded Settlement programming. These costs can be capital in nature (e.g., items over $1,000 such as special equipment or furniture, ramps, and/or other features to make buildings and premises more accessible) or non-capital in nature (e.g., items up to $1,000 such as Braille material, large print readers).

Reimbursement: A reimbursement is a payment by IRCC for eligible expenses incurred by a recipient for goods and services used to deliver the project. Recipients submit a Claim for Reimbursement.

Rent: Rent is a periodic payment from a tenant to a landlord for use of space. Rent may include utilities, parking, maintenance and other related costs as detailed in a rental agreement.

Risk assessment: Overall process of estimating likelihood (chance, probability) and impact  consequence) of a risk event and assigning a magnitude to it. Risk assessment also includes consideration of the costs and benefits of measures for managing risk as well as the needs, issues and concerns of stakeholders. Risk assessment involves an analysis to evaluate the recipient, the proposal, the planned activities and the budget against a set of established criteria. The purpose is to minimize the kinds/levels of risk that are acceptable, in light of the expected program results. When negotiating a CA, IRCC uses its risk assessment to determine the degree of monitoring and payment frequency that will be put in place.

Salary: (see also Wages) Usually refers to a base rate of pay that is not hourly, but is usually a weekly, monthly or annual amount. It is commonly used for upper level or management positions where it is common for hours worked to fluctuate or vary. Often details of salary amount, hours of work and other forms of compensation are included in an offer of employment or employment contract between the organization and individual.

Stacking: When projects undertaken by an organization receive support from other sources (e.g., through multiple agreements), it is known as “stacking”. Total assistance from all sources (e.g., federal, provincial or municipal governments, private organizations, the recipient itself) shall be a maximum of 100% of eligible project costs. This includes grants, contributions and in-kind contributions made to the project. If the actual assistance exceeds this limit, the amount exceeding must be repaid. In order to verify the stacking of assistance, the organization must disclose to CIC any confirmed or potential sources of project funding and/or in-kind assistance prior to, and during the life of the agreement.

Subscriptions: Costs for magazines or other periodicals that are expressly for the use of eligible clients while receiving IRCC funded programming.

Support and Enabling Services: These are supporting activities aimed at removing barriers to client participation in receiving direct settlement services. They include: child care, transportation assistance, translation & interpretation and may also include crisis counseling and provisions for the disabled.

Terms and Conditions (of the CA): These are the elements agreed to by the recipient under the CA negotiated with IRCC.

Translation: Translation of written documents from the client’s language of origin into either official language for the purpose of addressing immediate and essential settlement needs.

Transportation: Public transportation, such as city-run bus service, for clients to be able to access services. Taxi fare or car service may also be eligible if public transportation is unavailable or deemed unsuitable. Transportation costs can also include rail or air carrier expenses for recipient staff to attend mandatory training or workshops that are not available within their own area.

Tutela: is a national online repository and community for Canadian English as a Second Language (ESL) and French as a Second Language (FSL) professionals.

Vacation pay (See also Paid Leave): Vacation pay is expressed as a percentage of the wages or salary, which is paid to the employee every pay period OR as a lump sum payout annually.

Value for money: The extent to which a program demonstrates relevance and performance. Relevance is achieved by addressing a demonstrable need, being appropriate to the department and being responsive to the needs of Canadians. Performance is achieved by using taxpayer resources well, producing program outputs in an affordable manner, and achieving outcomes consistent with program objectives.

Wages: Usually refers to an hourly rate of pay. Total wages for a pay period are calculated as hourly rate of pay x number of hours worked within pay period (weekly or bi-weekly are the most common pay period types).

Youth: Individuals aged 15 years to 24 years.


AMSSA has reviewed and centralized the most important key terms from a multitude of IRCC sources.  All definitions can be found on IRCC’s Help Centre GlossaryFacts and Figures Glossary or Annex Aof the Negotiating Your Contribution Agreement with IRCC document