General information

The Government of Canada offers programs and services that:

  • build a stronger Canada;
  • support Canadians in making choices that help them live productive and rewarding lives; and
  • improve Canadians’ quality of life.

Some of these programs involve making “transfer payments,” which include grants and contributions, to government and global organizations, as well as to Aboriginal peoples. These payments cover all parts of society, touching the lives of Canadians and others every day.

Transfer payments are managed in a way that is transparent and accountable, and that respects sound stewardship and integrity. The Government works to ensure that transfer payment programs are fair, easy to access and effective for everyone. This includes departments, organizations and individuals who apply for and receive transfer payments. Each has an important role to play in achieving the goals of the Government of Canada.

The Treasury Board Secretariat Policy on Transfer Payments aims to ensure that transfer payment programs are easy to access, understand, and use. To that end, the Government has asked departments to create service standards in order to assess how they perform. Service standards help to explain expectations for clients and employees, to monitor performance, and to keep clients satisfied. At the Department of National Defence (DND), these standards are established and applied by the DND Grants and Contributions Centre of Expertise.

What are grants and contributions?

Both grants and contributions are types of “voted transfer payments,” which means that funding for these payments must be approved by a Vote in Parliament. These payments do not include investments, loans, and loan guarantees, nor do they result in the acquisition of any goods, services, or assets by the Government.

Grants: A grant is an unconditional transfer payment. This means that recipients must meet certain eligibility requirements before they receive a payment; however, they usually do not need to meet any further conditions after they receive the payment.

Contributions: A contribution is a conditional transfer payment. This means that recipients must first meet certain eligibility requirements before they receive a payment, and are also subject to post-payment performance conditions that are specified in a contribution agreement. These conditions are based on a performance measurement strategy that is developed before the contribution is disbursed. The strategy must include an explanation of the program goals, as well as the expected results, performance targets, and internal audit and evaluation strategies.

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