Become a digital advisor

As of July 21, 2022, The Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) has shifted its intake of new digital advisor applications to targeted calls based on demographic and specialization needs of the program. During this time, the program is specifically looking for digital advisors that:

  • have an office located in Prince Edward Island, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Manitoba, or Saskatchewan; 
  • have an office located in a ruralFootnote 1 area in any province; or 
  • are already approved by a recognizedFootnote 2 digital adoption program.

Learn more about this change.

The Boost Your Business Technology grant will offer support to small and medium Canadian-owned businesses (SMEs) to adopt new technologies. Support for these businesses will be in the form of grants to offset the cost of retaining digital advisors who will develop digital adoption plans tailored to the business. The grants will cover 90% of the cost to develop the digital plan, up to $15,000.

Register as a digital advisor


Overview

What is a digital advisor?

A digital advisor registered with CDAP is an organization that meets and maintains all of the required criteria to deliver digital advisory services to eligible Canadian SMEs. Digital advisors are required to provide vendor neutral advice in the provision of advisory services to SMEs and will be subject to CDAP's Code of Conduct. Registered Digital Advisors will work with eligible SMEs to develop digital adoption plans tailored to the needs of the client. Digital adoption plans must meet the minimum viable elements identified in the CDAP digital adoption plan guide.

Why do we need digital advisors?

The pandemic has changed the way Canadians do business. Companies, employees and customers are doing more and more business online. Canadian businesses need to adopt new digital technologies to meet their customers' needs and stay competitive. The Boost Your Business Technology grant aims to help SMEs where the digital adoption is more sophisticated, requiring more advanced technology, such as small manufacturing and food processing operations, among others. Supporting a digital economy will help Canadian companies grow and create more jobs and will be crucial to Canada's long-term competitiveness. CDAP will help SMEs accelerate their digital transformation to fuel economic recovery. Before meaningful transformation can happen, SMEs need an effective digital adoption plan. CDAP is seeking digital advisors to help SMEs create digital adoption plans that will take them to the next level along their business journey. Digital advisors that meet specific eligibility criteria will be listed on the program's digital advisor marketplace, where interested SMEs can retain their services.

Important notes:

  • In an effort to build a diverse marketplace of advisors, CDAP will maintain the marketplace through an open and continuous call for registration.
  • Technology vendors are ineligible for registration on the marketplace at this time.
  • The decision to retain any particular digital advisor from the marketplace is entirely the SME's prerogative.
  • Registration on the marketplace does not guarantee funding for digital advisors. Digital advisors can only be remunerated if an SME decides to retain their services.
  • CDAP does not endorse or certify any advisor or organization listed on the marketplace.

How it works

CDAP is looking for organizations that can provide digital advisory services to SMEs and help businesses go digital. By becoming a digital advisor with CDAP, you can lead businesses to new heights, and you can grow your client base. Work with SMEs across Canada to boost the country's economic recovery.

How it works

  • Digital advisors that meet the eligibility criteria register to be a digital advisor by using the online registration form.
  • CDAP reviews the applications and if approved, the digital advisor is listed on CDAP's Digital Advisor Marketplace.
  • SMEs will choose a digital advisor from this marketplace and together, they will agree to terms of work and start working on the SMEs digital adoption plan. This includes:
    • assessing their current digital maturity and recommending tailored digital solutions to support the SME's business strategy
    • recommending a plan and creating a roadmap to guide the SMEs transformation journey
  • Once the plan is complete, the SME will upload their plan to the portal and receive the grant.


Eligibility criteria

Eligibility requirements for digital advisors

Digital advisors listed on the marketplace may be businesses, post-secondary institutions, business accelerators and incubators, independent for-profit and non-profit service providers with an expertise in small business digital transformation.

In order to be listed on the marketplace, digital advisors must meet the following eligibility criteria:  

  • hold a relevant post-secondary degree or diploma or certification in a relevant field (e.g., computer science, engineering, business or commerce, digital or information technology or systems; an MBA, CPA or related professional designation is preferred)
  • have a minimum of five years of experience providing digital advisory services
  • have experience in developing digital business strategies, models, products or services
  • have expertise in digital technology solutions for SMEs (e.g. Enterprise Resource Planning, Customer Relationship Management) in various industries (e.g. manufacturing, distribution, retail, construction)
  • have experience in executing digital technology selection processes and structural analytical techniques
  • be able to provide all elements of a CDAP digital adoption plan (as per the CDAP digital adoption plan guide)

Digital advisors who meet these eligibility criteria are encouraged to submit a registration form online. Upon receipt of the registration form, CDAP will verify the information and determine if the organization will be listed on the marketplace. If approved, CDAP will send a confirmation email to notify the digital advisor that they are now listed on the marketplace.

Important notes:

Digital advisors must disclose if they or the organization they represent is a technology vendor (e.g., selling a particular product or software). Digital advisors must provide vendor neutral advice to clients, and as such, advisors that also serve as vendors will not be permitted to register at this time.

CDAP will perform reviews of digital advisors to ensure their attestations are valid.

Negotiating your service
agreement

Key elements in the terms of agreement between the SMEs and the digital advisors

Before a digital advisor starts working on a digital adoption plan for an SME, they need to agree to the terms of the agreement to provide digital advisory services in writing. SMEs will be reimbursed for 90% of the cost of developing the digital adoption plan (to a maximum of $15,000) after the plan has been completed. Written agreements should include:

  • objectives of the digital advisory services to be provided
  • detailed work plan, including steps, milestones, and deliverables and associated timelines
  • the effort and activities that are minimally needed to meet CDAP criteria that the SME will need to execute for the project
  • the roles, responsibilities and effort of each consultant proposed
  • proposed fees and a payment schedule

Digital advisor code
of conduct

Code of conduct for digital advisors

Trust is the foundation of every successful business relationship. Digital advisors registered under CDAP are expected to demonstrate a willingness to establish and maintain a trusting relationship with their SME clients. Such a relationship will require adherence to the following guiding principles:

  • digital advisors will be aware of and comply with all applicable legislation and laws at all times
  • digital advisors shall only represent themselves or their business/organization; they are not agents, partners or employees of the Government of Canada/ISED
  • fostering a professional environment by exemplifying respect, fairness, courtesy, and integrity in all dealings with the SME client
  • exercising neutrality in the provision of consulting advice and assistance to SME clients
  • managing any conflicts of interest in the provision of advisory services to SME clients, including refraining from providing such services to businesses owned or managed by the advisor or businesses owned or managed by family members and/or relatives of the advisor or businesses in which the advisor owns shares
  • taking appropriate measures to ensure the confidentiality and protection of information provided by the SME clients
  • acting in a manner that respects individual differences and contributes to a harassment-free workplace (virtually or in-person)

If CDAP determines that a trusting relationship between the digital advisor and SME cannot be developed, CDAP may decide to halt all activities with the digital advisorFootnote 1. This decision will be substantiated, documented on file, and communicated to both parties.

CDAP believes the demonstration of the above-noted principles will lead to more constructive relationships and successful outcomes for the SME, leading to faster economic recovery and increased competitiveness in the marketplace.

Disclaimer: Although pre-selected by the Government of Canada/ISED, digital advisors are not agents, partners, or employees of the Government of Canada. The Government of Canada/ISED does not warrant the quality of the services provided by such advisors and is not responsible for any losses or damages, which may result from using the services of an advisor. Any disputes should be resolved between the SME client and the digital advisor.