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Net Effect Press Release
March 5, 2024

The Net Effect: Navigating the CDAP Program Closure

On Friday evening, the eve of what would be a long weekend for most of the country, Innovation Science and Economic Development, overseers of the CDAP program, sent an email to approved digital advisors saying that the program was “almost fully subscribed” and that intake for new applications would be closing “in the coming days”. 

Then in the afternoon of Monday, Family Day across much of the country, they sent another email advising that applications were closed. 

The Net Effect is resilient enough that we’re going to get through this, but that doesn’t make it any less surprising,” said Tim O’Brien, CEO of The Net Effect Contractor Advisors Inc. (TNE), an approved CDAP Digital Advisor firm. “We were blindsided. No advance warning whatsoever.” 

While TNE is positioned to continue operating, other firms, those that were formed in response to the opportunities the grants enabled, may not be as lucky. Even for TNE, who had no time to prepare for the transition, will have to reconsider their resources. “There’s an unfortunate possibility that some of our staff will be cut back in different ways,” said O’Brien. “We have plans to do our best to keep everybody on board, but it’s not easy.” 

Above all, O’Brien wishes his company had more notice of the change. “If they’d given us a week’s notice, or any number of business days, it would have been much easier for us to manage,” said O’Brien. “But having pulled the pin on a Friday afternoon of a long weekend is very poor form.”

“Imagine you had a business partner, and they pulled the pin on you like that,” added O’Brien. “Essentially, the CDAP program was a business partnership. At the beginning when we applied to be digital advisors, there were stringent requirements that we had to meet in order to be approved to promote CDAP. So to have a business partner that’s providing something for you to just pull the carpet out from under you on a Friday before a long weekend? It’s kind of tactless.”

“We’ve been working with hundreds of clients to enroll them in the program, along with other digital advisors. Innovation Science and Economic Development, who oversee the program, sent an email after close of business on the Friday before a long weekend, then on the holiday Monday canceled the program completely; stopped taking applications. The initial email said that “‘in the coming days” they would no longer accept applications.”

The Friday afternoon email meant that staff of The Net Effect and other approved digital advisors would be working through the weekend and on Family Day to help those clients who were still in the process of applying for the program. “It was all hands on deck,” said O’Brien, “getting in touch with all of our clients and all of our potential clients; those that we had been communicating with about the program.”

Dozens of TNE clients are still waiting to hear whether their applications have been approved. “It is incredibly disappointing,” said O’Brien, “particularly since we have been working with them and they have needs. This grant was of huge benefit to help those companies find the digital solutions they need to help modernize and grow.”

“I’ll be honest, it was great for us that CDAP came about,” said O’Brien of TNE, a firm that formed over a year before the federal program launched. “The fact is, the industry needs what we have to offer. The construction industry is very slow to adopt new technology, and they need help doing it. And we will continue to be there for clients to help them do that.”

In late 2023, the EnerCan Program’s Canada Greener Homes Grant ended similarly, with little-to-no notice given to the approved HVAC installation companies that had shifted their business models around the grant opportunity. 

History is repeating itself.

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