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Digital Literacy Exchange Program

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The Digital Literacy Exchange Program (DLEP) will invest $17.6 million to support initiatives aimed at teaching digital literacy skills to Canadians who face barriers to participating in the digital economy. The program aims to equip Canadians with the necessary skills to use computers, mobile devices and the Internet safely, securely and effectively.


The DLEP aligns with the Universal Access principle of Canada's Digital Charter to support all Canadians in fully embracing the digital economy. The program is part of a bundle of digital skills programs offered by the Government of Canada that seek to bridge the digital divide and help all Canadians access digital technology and develop the skills they need to use it. The DLEP was launched in 2018, and in its first phase, it supported training of more than 400,000 participants from under-represented groups. Project funding for the second phase will be available from 2022–23 to 2024–25.

Why this is important

Innovation and technological progress are creating tremendous change, and as a result, digital skills are increasingly relevant—at school, at home and at work. This is true for Canadians of every age, background, education level and employment status. While 91% of Canadians aged 15 and older use the Internet (Canadian Internet Use Survey 2018), there are still groups who are new to using the Internet or who haven't fully discovered the benefits of being online. These groups include seniors, individuals who have not completed high school, Indigenous people, individuals who do not speak English or French at home, persons with disabilities, newcomers to Canada and low-income individuals, and people living in northern, rural and remote communities. Learning these skills and understanding digital technologies will not only reduce barriers to accessing valuable information and resources but also open up opportunities for all Canadians to succeed.

How to apply

This page contains the guide and forms to assist program applicants through the application process. The deadline to submit applications for the Digital Literacy Exchange Program is September 7, 2022, 11:59:59 p.m. EDT. Applications must be submitted electronically via the submit button, by email at dlep-peln@ised-isde.gc.ca or by mail. An acknowledgement email confirming receipt of an application will be sent. If submitting by mail, please identify an email address where the confirmation of receipt may be sent. Applicants are encouraged to keep this confirmation for their records. If you have any questions or require further assistance, please contact the Digital Literacy Exchange Program team.
Telephone (toll-free in Canada):
Telephone (Ottawa):
TTY (for hearing-impaired):
By email:
Business hours:
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
By mail:
Digital Literacy Exchange Program Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada C.D. Howe Building 235 Queen Street, 1st floor, West Tower Ottawa, ON K1A 0H5 Canada

Program criteria

The Digital Literacy Exchange Program is a contribution program that supports not-for-profit organizations in the development and delivery of fundamental digital literacy skills training to Canadians who would benefit from increased participation in the digital economy.


To qualify for funding, applicants are required to be a not-for-profit organization that is incorporated in Canada. Your application must also clearly demonstrate that:
  • Your organization has 3 years of experience in the delivery of digital literacy initiatives with a proven track record of success;
  • Your proposed initiative will target underrepresented groups in the digital economy;
  • The proposed initiative will be delivered at no cost to participants;
  • With program funding, your organization will have the resource capacity and expertise, either internally or through partnerships, to successfully deliver the proposed initiative within the program timeframe and to measure and report on success;
  • Your organization will provide a detailed project costs plan (Budget) for the proposed initiative.

Merit Criteria

While not essential requirements, merit criteria will be used to establish a priority ranking of eligible applicants. The following criteria will be taken into consideration:
  • Organizational governance: the organization's history and structure – directors, memberships and experience, financial statements and forecasted financials for the project period;
  • The alignment of the organization's mission, mandate, and/or purpose with the program's objectives;
  • The representation that the organization is in good standing with regard to all federal, provincial, territorial and municipal laws and regulations;
  • The organization's plan and capacity to deliver to underrepresented groups;
  • The organization's capacity to undertake and successfully complete the project, including the qualifications of key individuals carrying out the proposed activities;
  • Project workplan: the description of the proposed project, including location(s), work plan, eligible activities, schedule, project outcomes/results;
  • Training plan – the proposed training program(s), the mode of delivery of training and intensity (basic and/or intermediate) are suitable for the intended audience;
  • The organization's project contributors and/or partners, including their roles and resources in support of the project;
  • The amount of any federal, provincial, territorial or municipal assistance received or likely to be received for the project;
  • The identification and understanding of project risks and proposed mitigation measures;
  • In the event that contributions are to be distributed by an eligible recipient to one or more ultimate recipients, the initial eligible recipient shall demonstrate that they have the appropriate resources, network and processes in place to receive, evaluate, approve and monitor applications that meet program objectives.


The total funding available for the program is $17.6 million. The level of funding provided by the program will be contingent upon the assessment of the proposal and the availability of program funds. The requested funding from ISED must be a minimum of $50,000 and shall not exceed $2 million. Proposals may include funding from other levels of government, private sector or non-profit partners, however, total funding from all federal, provincial/territorial and municipal sources cannot exceed 100% of eligible project costs.
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