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Automotive Supplier Competitiveness Improvement Program

Click here for link to OCE ASCIP Web-page.

A. Program Overview

The Automotive Supplier Competitive Improvement Program (ASCIP) supports Ontario’s auto parts sector in adopting industry-leading software, hardware and/or providing training and mentorship to improve processes and increase competitiveness.

ASCIP is delivered by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), in partnership with the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA), on behalf of the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT).

Through ASCIP, small- and medium-sized automotive suppliers, or large companies partnering with small- or medium-sized automotive suppliers, can apply for to up to $100,000, to support projects with activities that fall under one or both of the following headings:

A. Technology Adoption

Projects to advance product lifecycle management and improve competitiveness through adoption of advanced hardware, software and/or training.

B. Lean Manufacturing / Mentorship

Projects to improve operational efficiency and competitiveness through the adoption of techniques related to Lean or Lean Manufacturing, and acquire the services of a mentor/consultant to assist with Lean implementation.

  • The mentors will be automotive industry experts with background and expertise in Lean manufacturing process efficiency to assist suppliers with specific business development needs. They will be identified in collaboration between the applicant company and APMA or proposed by the company through the application, and matched based on project outcomes and overall company goals. The services provided by the mentor will qualify as an eligible cost for selected projects.
  • OCE will contract with a company and reimburse up to 50 per cent of the total eligible project costs, or up to $100,000 per project, whichever is lower, with the company funding the remainder with matching cash contributions.
  • The APMA will provide support to the applicant company by marketing the ASCIP program to its members and supporting the applicants in developing project proposals.

Program Objectives

  • Increase suppliers’ capabilities to deliver shorter design cycle times, be more productive, more responsive to market changes and able to take advantage of new business opportunities with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)
  • Support the adoption of software and IT solutions that allow companies to manage the entire lifecycle of a product efficiently and cost-effectively
  • Target small- and medium-sized suppliers to increase their sourcing capabilities and take up innovation and productivity initiatives to expand success in growing export markets
  • Assist the applicant to engage qualified professionals to review current production capabilities and identify where manufacturing issues, such as bottlenecks and other inefficiencies, exist

Note:  Only one project per company will be allowed within a two-year timeframe.

B. How Funding Works

  • Projects of any size can be proposed for funding – ASCIP funding will cover up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs up $100,000
  • Approximately 45 projects will be funded between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019.
  • Projects may be up to two years in duration

Flow of Funds

Successful applicants must execute OCE’s standard Funding Agreement within 30 days of notification of award. A copy of the agreement will be generated through OCE’s online system and sent to successful applicants upon project approval only.

Upon successful execution of the Funding Agreement, 25 per cent of funds will be released directly to the company. The remaining funding will be released to the company on a claims and reimbursement model for eligible expenses. Claims can be made when submitting interim report(s), and the final report, required at the end of the project. More information on reporting in section E. Project Reporting and Claims Requirements.

C. Eligibility

Eligible Companies

  • Priority: Small- and medium-sized Ontario-based enterprises (firms with fewer than 500 employees globally AND global revenues of less than $1 billion)
  • Secondary: Larger companies are eligible, but must partner with at least one Ontario-based small- or medium-sized enterprise
  • Must be in the automotive supply chain to original equipment manufacturers
  • At least 50 per cent of the company’s total sales revenue must come from the auto supply sector
  • Only one project per company will be allowed within a two-year timeframe

Eligible Projects

Eligible projects may focus on either of the following elements, or a combination of these elements:

  1. Advancing product lifecycle management and improving competitiveness through the adoption of advanced IT technologies (hardware, software) and/or trainingAnd/Or
  2. Operational efficiency and competitiveness improvements through lean manufacturing practices. Adoption of advanced IT technologies may be included as part of the overall project scope.

Eligible Expenses

Refer to the Eligible Expenses Guide for full details.

D. Evaluation and Project Activation

Selection Criteria

Projects will be assessed and scored against program objectives and the following criteria:

  • Product lifecycle management advancements through IT (software and hardware) adoption and/or training (where applicable)
  • Improved operational efficiency and competitiveness through adoption of lean manufacturing practices (where applicable)
  • Ability to clearly articulate the current challenge faced, its alternatives and the proposed solution
  • Ability to achieve the expected results, as demonstrated by the feasibility, clarity and specificity of the project plan within the specified milestones and the mitigated risk
  • Applicants and teams’ capabilities and commitment
  • Anticipated qualitative and quantitative outcomes

Sample Proposal Questions are available.

Application Process and Decision Making

ASCIP is a discretionary, non-entitlement program with limited funding. All eligible projects will be assessed on their merit and undergo a fair and transparent review process, where the applications are evaluated against program objectives and other criteria.

Applications will be accepted during intake periods (schedule below in Section F: How to Apply) and submitted to OCE using the AccessOCEapplication portal.  APMA will work with applicants on application preparation and submission.

Smaller projects (up to $50,000 from ASCIP funds)

Following confirmation by OCE of application completeness and financial compliance, applications will undergo an online review by two external domain experts from OCE’s College of Reviewers (COR) and one from the Province, who will assess the project against program objectives and other criteria. Reviewers will make funding recommendations to OCE.

Larger Projects ($50,000 to $100,000 from ASCIP funds)

Following confirmation by OCE of application completeness and financial compliance, applications will undergo a two-stage review process:

  • Initial online assessment will be done by members of the External Review Panel (ERP), where the project will be assessed and scored against program objectives and other criteria. The ERP will be comprised of external domain experts, APMA and the Province.
  • Only those applications that achieve the required scoring threshold will be invited to proceed to a presentation to the ERP. Applicant site visits may be required, particularly for projects involving a Lean Manufacturing mentorship component. The ERP will review the submitted application and presentation and make a funding recommendation to OCE. Final funding decisions rest with OCE.

E. Project Reporting and Claims Requirements

1. Interim Progress and Claim Report(s)

Interim report(s), including progress, proof of expenditures, financial attestation, and a request for reimbursement may be submitted up to twice per fiscal year.

Copies of detailed reporting instructions will be sent to successful Clients at the time of contracting. The report must be received and approved by OCE prior to release of funds for eligible claims.

NoteApplicants MUST retain all proof of purchases, receipts, and other relevant documentation relating to eligible expenses. These should be included in the Interim Progress and Claim Report.

2. Final Results and Claim Report

A final report, including progress, proof of expenditures, financial attestation, and a request for reimbursement, will be required at the end of the project. Forty-five (45) days prior to the scheduled completion date, the Client will receive an email notification of the project end date from the AccessOCE system, with a link to the Final Progress and Claim Report should the Client wish to begin entering data.

  • If a project extension is required, the Client must request it using the Project Administration tab in their AccessOCE project file. Extension requests must be made before the project end date.
  • On the scheduled project completion date, the Client will receive another notification and a link to complete the Final Project Progress and Claim Report from OCE’s AccessOCE system.
  • All required final reports by all Clients must be submitted within 30 days of project completion in order to be reimbursed for eligible expenses and maintain good financial standing with OCE.
  • If early reporting is required, the Client MAY request it by emailing OCE Project Administration,

3. Metrics Survey

If the project continues past a fiscal year end (March 31), the Client will be required to complete an annual metrics survey each April, for the part of the project that has been completed since the previous March 31. This annual report is mandatory for OCE to fulfil its contract with its funders. Required metrics reports from all Clients must be submitted in order to maintain good financial standing with OCE.

4. Retrospective Survey

At one, two, and three years after project completion, the Client will be sent a link to complete a retrospective survey to collect data on commercial outcomes from the project. This information is required by OCE for assessment of program impact and continuous improvement.

F. How to Apply

To initiate an application, please send an email to Gian Paolo Vescio, Director, External Affairs & Counsel, Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA) ,  with the subject heading: ASCIP Application Initiation

Prior to initiating the application, representatives from APMA will work closely with the company to assess the company’s eligibility and potential fit with program objectives.

Only companies that are eligible and align with program objectives will be invited to initiate an online  application. An ASCIP application file will be created in OCE’s online system, AccessOCE. Applicants must engage with the APMA representative to assist in preparing and submitting their Application to OCE.

Submission of a Full Application to OCE requires the following:

  • The Full Proposal questions must be uploaded as an attachment (only PDF format accepted)
  • All submission requirements in AccessOCE, including project contacts, summary for public release, classification, budget, milestones, and identified team members, must be completed
  • The following supporting documents should also be a part of your application submission.
    • Quotes from contractors, résumés of team members and matching contributions supporting/commitment document/letter from the applicant company
  • All applications must be submitted by the deadline mentioned on the website.

Please allow at least one week prior to the application submission deadline for the application to be initiated. Applications initiated less than one week prior to the deadline MAY NOT have sufficient time to be submitted.

Round 1

Activity Date
Full Application Submission Deadline July 4, 2018
Site Visits (if applicable) August 28-31, 2018
Review Meeting September 5, 2018

Round 2

Activity Date
Full Application Submission Deadline November 28, 2018
Site Visits (if applicable) January 22-25, 2019
Review Meeting January 29, 2019



Please review OCE’s Program FAQ.

I. Contact

For general inquiries about eligibility and initiating an application, please contact Gian Paolo Vescio, Director, External Affairs & Counsel, Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA),

For inquiries specifically related to navigating the online application system, please contact Application Support Team, at 416-861-1092 ext. 2400 or

For inquiries specifically related to contracting and funding claims, please contact Natalia Lobo, Program Manager, (416) 861-1092 x1061 or


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