Funding: Skills Link

The Skills Link program is a component of the Government of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy (YES). Through funding for organizations, the Skills Link program helps youth overcome barriers to employment, develop a broad range of skills and knowledge in order to participate in the current and future labour market and to promote education and skills as being key to labour market participation. These barriers include, but are not limited to, challenges faced by recent immigrant youth, youth with disabilities, single parent youth, youth who have not completed high school, Indigenous youth, and youth living in rural or remote areas.

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Deadline: August 12, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is currently accepting proposals from organizations interested in receiving financial assistance from the Skills Link program. Project activities can be provincial or territorial or local in scope. Activities must be confined to one province or territory.

Please be reminded that proposals submitted (date-stamped, in the case of proposals which are mailed) after the indicated date may be rejected. Applications should be no longer than 40 pages.

There are 2 (two) streams for this Call for Proposals.

When possible, submit only one proposal (per stream) and that can include multiple activities in the same province or territory.

Please select the appropriate Call for Proposals (CFP) identifier when applying through the online system as well as indicate in Question 43 in the Application for Funding, the stream that you are applying under.

The Call for Proposals (CFP) identifiers for the two streams are as follows:

CFP-HQ-SL-REG-2016-0020     Stream One
CFP-HQ-SL-SI-2016-0021        Stream Two

Please note that Stream Two proposals can include some or all components of Stream One, however, Stream Two projects will be set apart by the Social Innovation Component included in the project that is utilized to reach the expected results of the Skills Link program.

Purpose

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is currently accepting proposals from organizations interested in receiving financial assistance from the Skills Link program.

The purpose of this Applicant Guide is to provide information to assist with the completion of the Application for Funding. It is recommended that the Applicant Guide be read in its entirety before completing the Application for Funding.

If you require information or clarification that is not provided in this Applicant Guide, please send your query using the following e-mail address: sl-cc@servicecanada.gc.ca. In order to allow for the time required to post answers to questions which may be pertinent to all applicants, questions may be submitted until August 5, 2016.

Objective of this Call for Proposals (CFP)

The objective of this Call for Proposals is to provide funding for organizations to deliver a range of activities that enable youth make more informed career decisions and develop their skills.

Skills Link aims to:

  • help youth overcome barriers to employment;
  • develop a broad range of skills and knowledge in order to participate in the current and future labour market; and,
  • promote education and skills as being key to labour market participation.

As this is a competitive process, not all proposals submitted under this Call for Proposals will be selected; funding is limited and subject to ESDC’s yearly budget considerations and allocation of funds by Parliament.

The Government of Canada reserves the right to accept a proposal, in whole or in part, and give consideration to factors such as geographic coverage, and official language requirements.

Expected Results and Outcomes

Expected results for projects should be measured according to the following Skills Link key performance indicators:

  • the targeted number of participants to be served;
  • the targeted number of participants who will become employed or self-employed; and
  • the targeted number of participants who will return to school.

For example, a project which aims to serve 20 youth would indicate their expected results as follows:

  • 20 (100%) will have been served;
  • 10 (50 %) will have found employment;
  • 4 (20%) will have returned to school; and,
  • 6 (30%) will neither be employed nor return to school.

Proposal must target a minimum success rate of 60%, of participants served, for the key performance indicators (number of participants employed and number of participants who have returned to school).

Eligibility

Highlights

For this Call for Proposals (CFP), Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) encourages applicants to submit applications using its online system, Grants and Contributions Online Services (GCOS). GCOS is a secure web environment for applying for Grants and Contributions programs that will allow you to manage your agreements with ESDC online in an efficient manner (e.g. 24/7 access, immediate participant verification, submitting financial claims and reports electronically). It may take several business days to complete the one-time account registration, therefore, if you are not already registered; we invite you to register as soon as possible using this link: Register for GCOS.

Eligible Projects

For the purpose of this Call for Proposals, funding will be provided to successful applicants whose projects are designed to deliver a range of activities that enable youth to overcome barriers to employment, and to help youth develop a broad range of skills and knowledge in order to participate in the current and future labour market.

Each of the following requirements must be met in order for projects to be considered eligible for funding:

  • the project must aim to increase the skills of youth and facilitate the transition of youth into the labour market;
  • the duration of projects must not exceed a maximum of three (3) years (36 consecutive months) with an end date of not later than March 31, 2020;
  • the total amount of funding requested from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) for the project must not exceed $5,000,000 annually up to $15,000,000 over 3 years (although this is the maximum amount allowable for this Call for Proposals, this may not represent the actual budget available and, thus, approved funding will be dependent upon the available Program budget);
  • project activities are confined to one province or territory;
  • all projects must contain a work experience intervention which is equal to, or exceeds the duration of pre-employment activities;
  • a minimum success rate of at least 60%, (i.e. 60% of participants served must either return to school or obtain employment) is expected on all projects; and
  • all projects must serve a minimum of eight (8) participants per year. Exemptions are possible for rural and remote projects.

Stream One will prioritize and will award additional points to projects that focus on the following program priorities highlighted by this Call for Proposals:

  • Projects that target green jobs – green jobs are jobs with employers that help reduce the consumption of energy and raw materials, limit greenhouse gas emissions, minimize waste and pollution, and protect and restore ecosystems. Therefore, a green job can be any job within the following sample sectors (list is non-exhaustive) – not-for-profit environmental organizations, solar and wind technology companies, environmental science centers, watershed and water resource agencies, farms and farming co-ops, conservation organizations, museums and educational institutions, waste management companies, and information technology companies.
  • Projects that incorporate Essential Skills - Given the foundational nature of essential skills to labour market attachment, Skills Link participants are likely to benefit from essential skills enhancement as part of their employment interventions. For more information, please refer to the description of Essential Skills further in this section.
  • Projects that target female at–risk youth – The 2015 program evaluation indicated that Skills Link serves slightly more males than females: 55% of participants served are male, 43% are female and 2% did not specify. Prioritizing females would move toward balancing this.
  • Projects that target Indigenous youth – A substantial number of Indigenous youth tend to be further from the labour market, and often require assistance to achieve employment or return to school results.
  • Projects that fill high demand labour market needs that are currently met through the use of Temporary Foreign Workers – This priority area is in line with recent reforms to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program and would serve to reduce the reliance of employers on temporary foreign workers. Skills Link is one mechanism through which youth could be better connected with existing employment opportunities.
  • Applicants that leverage a minimum of 20% of funding from other sources (additional points will be allocated for cash investments and confirmation must be provided). There is a significant difference between support and partnership. A supporter endorses a project, whereas a partner makes a contribution and plays an active role. Proposals will receive additional points if at least 20% of the total project value comes from partners other than ESDC. Both cash and in-kind contributions by the applicant organization or funding partner(s) will be accepted as leveraged funding. For more information, please refer to the description under Eligible Costs further in this section.
  • Projects that facilitate youth mobility to access employment opportunities – Supporting young people’s ability to travel to job locations outside their immediate area of residence would allow youth to take advantage of a greater number of job opportunities, while employers in need in particular locations could gain access to trainees or entry level workers. For more information, please refer to the description of Labour Market Mobility further in this section.

Stream Two will focus on projects that demonstrate Social Innovation, more specifically, but not exclusively:

  • Testing innovative approaches: Projects that test innovative approaches to enhance the employability of youth by addressing a broader range of socio-economic challenges (e.g. homelessness, addictions, lower education attainment); and,
  • Social enterprise: Projects that develop the skills and/or employ youth as part of a social enterprise. A social enterprise is defined as an organization, (whether for-profit or not-for-profit), whose goal is to provide goods and services while also pursuing a social mission.

As a complement to projects under Stream One, projects applying through Stream Two - Social Innovation will be expected to test new approaches to delivering community-based labour market programming that will address challenges in skills development and labour market participation of youth.

Stream Two proposals can include some or all components of Stream One, however, Stream Two projects will be set apart by the Social Innovation Component included in the project that is utilized to reach the expected results of the Skills Link program.

Eligible Contribution Recipients

Eligible recipients for this Call for Proposals are:

  • not-for-profit organizations;
  • municipal governments;
  • Indigenous organizations (including band councils, tribal councils and self-government entities);
  • for-profit organizations; and,
  • provincial and territorial governments, institutions, agencies and Crown Corporations.

An eligible contribution recipient organization may deliver all aspects/interventions of the project or it may be an employer offering a work experience intervention only.

Eligible Participants

Participants are recruited by the contribution recipients.

To participate in Skills Link, individuals must be:

  • between the ages of 15 and 30 (inclusive) at the time of intake/selection;
  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or persons who have been granted refugee status in Canada;
  • legally entitled to work according to the relevant provincial/territorial legislation and regulations;
  • not in receipt of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits; and
  • in need of assistance to overcome employment barriers.

Skills Link eligible participants are youth who may be at greater risk of not making a successful transition to the workplace but for whom, nonetheless, a reasonable expectation exists that employment may be possible following Skills Link interventions. Examples of employment barriers could include:

  • high school non-completion;
  • person with a disability;
  • Indigenous origin;
  • visible or ethnic minority;
  • residing in a rural or remote location;
  • single parent;
  • official language minority community language barriers (i.e. Francophone residing outside Québec or Anglophone resident of Québec);
  • recent immigrant youth; and
  • other reasons (to be specified as part of the proposal approval process).

Eligible Costs

Financial assistance may be provided to cover a maximum of 100% of the costs associated with operating and delivering approved activities.

Leveraging Funds from Other Sources

Contributions from other partners may be in the form of cash or in-kind contributions, and must be in support of activities that are integral to the successful completion of the project (i.e. contribute to the coverage of total project costs). The monetary value of any contribution must be clearly indicated on the Application for Funding, Part 3- Funding Sections A and B.

Although leveraging other sources of funding is not mandatory, one of the priorities for this Call for Proposals is that proposals which include contributions from other sources, at a minimum amount of 20% of total project costs, will be more favourably assessed by the Program (Refer to Assessment Section).

Where possible and appropriate, the costs of an eligible activity will be shared with the recipient and/or with government and/or the private sector. However, where the sharing of costs with the recipient and private sector is not feasible, total government funding (federal, provincial/territorial and/or municipal funding for the same eligible expenditures) must not exceed 100% of eligible expenditures.

In-kind contributions are non-monetary goods or services that are contributed to the project by the contribution recipient or other organizations/partners for which the contribution recipient will not be requesting re-imbursement.

To be eligible as an in-kind contribution the contribution must be:

  • essential to the project's success;
  • eligible costs under this Call for Proposals;
  • supported if the applicant requested that it be covered under the project;
  • supported by a commitment from the contributor; and,
  • recorded in the recipient's contribution agreement at fair market value.

In-kind contributions will only be recognized when fair value can be reasonably estimated.

Cash contributions and in-kind contributions must be supported in writing from the contributing source.

Contributions may be made to eligible contribution recipients, including those who further distribute funds, for the following costs of eligible activities:

  • overhead costs, including costs related to central administrative functions of the recipient organization that are drawn upon to support agreement activities (such as shared postage, telephones, IT maintenance and head office support);
  • materials and supplies;
  • wages and mandatory employment-related costs (MERCS) for staff;
  • wages and mandatory employment-related costs (MERCS) for participants, in the form of subsidies that are distributed through host employers;
  • honoraria and hospitality costs;
  • completion bonus ($500 maximum/participant)
  • printing and communication;
  • rent;
  • job coaching (for youth with disabilities and as needed in exceptional cases);
  • travel;
  • professional fees (such as consultants, IT, technical expertise, facilitation, legal, research, audit, assessment and evaluation);
  • capital costs (only for repairs or renovations to support the participation of people with disabilities); and,
  • other costs necessary to support the purpose of the funding, as approved by ESDC.

Please note that all eligible costs are subject to assessment and negotiation. For further details, see Section 3B: Project Budget.

Additionally, all in-kind costs must meet the above criteria.

Financial Assistance for Participants

Financial assistance may be provided to cover all or a portion of the costs associated with participating in the activities.

Costs may include:

  • income support to participants (wages) based on the prevailing provincial/territorial minimum wage rate per occupation and mandatory employment related costs (MERCs) for participants;
  • additional support to cover all or part of the incremental costs for individuals to participate, such as dependent care, travel or transportation (including those costs related to relocation);
  • living expenses/allowances (including those costs related to relocation under Labour Market Mobility); and,
  • other support to cover the cost of items associated with the youth's participation, including disability supports (this will be evaluated on a case by case basis).

For Skills Link projects, the maximum cost per participant, including all Employment Services and Interventions for youth, is $25,000. Amounts needed to accommodate youth with disabilities may be in addition to the maximum cost per participant. A rationale for these additional expenses, including a description of the supports needed, must be documented and retained on file.

Although the maximum allowable per participant is $25,000, past results for the Skills Link program has seen an average cost per participant of $12,000. During the assessment for value for money, the cost per participant will be a factor that is assessed. Cost per participant is calculated by dividing the contribution from ESDC by the number of participants (not the value of the entire project). Proposed costs per participant should vary according to the needs of the youth being served.

Please note that the Contribution Recipient will be responsible for issuing T4A tax receipts to participants for all allowances issued to them. T4A would include the support that is provided for example:

  1. Living Expenses/Allowances;
  2. Tuition;
  3. Travel costs;
  4. Dependent care; and,
  5. Completion Bonus.

However, to ensure compliance, verification with the Canada Revenue Agency is recommended.

Given that wages paid to participants should be done through the host employer, T4 slips should be the responsibility of the employer.

Please consult with the Canada Revenue Agency for more information.

Ineligible Costs:

  • costs associated with fundraising activities;
  • Canada Revenue Agency or payroll penalties;
  • parking tickets;
  • fines or penalties;
  • entertainment costs;
  • depreciation on fixed assets;
  • board membership fees;
  • capital costs for the construction of a building or the purchase of land or buildings;
  • purchase of motor vehicles;
  • legal fees and court awards for inappropriate dismissal or other inappropriate/illegal activity;
  • membership fees for private clubs, etc. (golf clubs, gyms, etc.) unless part of existing (non-monetary) employment benefits package;
  • staff salary bonuses if not originally negotiated into agreement;
  • purchase of alcoholic beverages;
  • purchase of any illegal substances;
  • mentor wages;
  • unreasonable gifts or unreasonable payments for recognition;
  • costs incurred for ineligible participants; and,
  • other costs ineligible as per program terms and conditions.

Eligible Activities

To be eligible for Skills Link, proposed projects must involve a minimum of 8 (eight) participants per year.

Within rural and remote regions (defined as a population of less than 10,000 {core population} and where no, or very little, access to the services of the closest municipality with a population of 10,000 or more exists), exceptions may be made vis-à-vis the minimum participant requirement. Applicants must include a strong justification in the proposal as to why the minimum requirement of eight participants cannot be fulfilled.

Eligible activities include employment interventions and employment services:

Employment Interventions

  1. Work Experience
  2. Employability Skills through Work Experience
  3. Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship
  4. Group-based Employability Skills
  5. Individual Skills Enhancement

All projects must include a work experience-type activity (Work Experience, Employability Skills through Work Experience or Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship) meaning that a work experience-type intervention may be the sole activity of a project, or it must be a part of a combination with other interventions and/or services. The work experience must have a duration which is equal to, or exceeds the duration of pre-employment activities

Participation in interventions should be full-time (i.e. 30+ hours) when possible. While group-based interventions cannot feasibly be tailored to allow for part-time involvement by selected participants, accommodations may be made for special needs. Where individuals are able to participate only part-time (e.g. groups of persons with disabilities), an intervention of reduced hours is allowable.

a) Work Experience (WE)

Work Experience interventions provide youth with opportunities to work with employers to develop and enhance employability and occupational skills through practical on-the-job experience. Work experiences must be supported by workplace supervision to maximize the benefit to be gained by the participant. Before commencing a work experience, there must be a determination that the participant is ready to work with an employer.

A work experience must always be paid and can be supported with or without a subsidy but should include support from the contribution recipient to trouble shoot and/or mitigate any challenges that may arise on the job and work with the participant and employer to ensure success.

Participants must receive wages that equal or exceed the prevailing provincial/territorial minimum wage rate; however, ESDC’s contribution does not exceed the minimum wage rate. The use of a $500 maximum completion bonus for participants can also be considered, where deemed appropriate and where not detrimental to the social welfare of the participant. By giving a completion bonus it could place the participant in a financial hardship situation, where they may lose their provincial funding (e.g. prescription drug benefits).

Typically, to be eligible to receive a completion bonus, participants must complete the intervention(s) or participate for a minimum of 12 weeks and leave for employment/return to school.

Overhead costs are not eligible when the contribution recipient is an employer placing youth within their own business, but are allowable when a contribution recipient is coordinating work experience interventions with other employers.

The duration of a Work Experience can be up to 52 weeks and may be a participant’s sole intervention but can be shorter, depending upon the needs of the participant. Participation in this intervention should be full-time (i.e. 30 + hours), but may be part-time when justified by a participant's circumstances.

b) Employability Skills through Work Experience (ESWE)

One of the priorities for this Call for Proposals is to fund projects that have incorporated/embedded Essential Skills into the workshops of Employability Skills through Work Experience intervention. For more information, please refer to the description of Essential Skills further in this section.

Employability Skills through Work Experience provides employability skills within an activity focused on the exposure of participants to the world of work. Workshops that help build participants employability skills are blended with periods where participants work directly with employers.

There must be a clear link between the skills and the work experience portions, so that participants can apply what they learn in workshops to their work experiences. Work experiences must be supported by workplace supervision in order to maximize the benefit gained by the participant.

Financial support to participants is in the form of wages during the time dedicated to the work experience and allowance during the time dedicated to employability skills workshops. Wages must equal or exceed the prevailing provincial/territorial minimum wage rate; however, ESDC’s contribution will not exceed the minimum wage rate. Allowances must equal the provincial/territorial minimum wage. The use of a $500 maximum completion bonus for participants can also be considered, where deemed appropriate and where not detrimental to the social welfare of the participant. By giving completion bonus it could place the participant in a financial hardship situation where they may lose their provincial funding (e.g. prescription drug benefits). Typically, to be eligible to receive a completion bonus, participants must complete the intervention(s) or participate for a minimum of 12 weeks and leave for employment/return to school.

The maximum duration for Employability Skills through Work Experience is 52 weeks, but may be shorter depending on the needs of participants, or whether this intervention is combined with another.

Participation in this intervention is full-time (i.e. 30+ hours) for groups of participants. When it cannot feasibly be tailored to allow for part-time involvement by selected participants, accommodations should be made for special needs. Where all individuals are able to participate only part-time (e.g. groups of persons with disabilities), an intervention of reduced hours is allowable.

Please note that the hours spent in workshops and/or allowances, do not qualify as insurable hours for the purposes of Employment Insurance benefits.

c) Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship

One of the priorities for this Call for Proposals is to fund projects that have incorporated/embedded Essential Skills into the workshops of the Employability Skills Through Entrepreneurship intervention. For more information, please refer to the description of Essential Skills further in this section.

The Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship intervention provides entrepreneurial skills within an activity where groups of young people are given exposure to the world of self-employment. Through activities focused on entrepreneurship, youth can develop skills that will equip them to establish an enterprise and become capable business people, thereby helping them make a successful transition into the labour market.

An organization with the mandate, experience and expertise for business development and maintenance, will likely be most effective in providing entrepreneurial assistance to young people. Such an organization also should be well-positioned to provide support beyond the end of the project. Through an Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship agreement, ESDC can fund such an organization to deliver a project designed around the specific needs of a group of young people. Activities could include skill enhancement, assistance with business plan development and implementation, support during business start-up, mentorship, and aftercare. Workshops that help build participants’ entrepreneurial skills could be blended with periods where participants develop business plans, then launch and operate their own businesses. While workshop topics could be based on information provided by the Canada Business Network, they would be tailored to develop skills required by entrepreneurs. Topics, therefore, could include marketing, computer use, financial management, bookkeeping, communications, developing a business plan, and accessing loans/capital.

Business start-up costs such as legal fees, accountant fees, business registration fees, materials or supplies, rent/lease payments, etc. are not eligible under Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship.

The maximum duration for Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship is 52 weeks; interventions of shorter duration are permitted as long as the needs of participants are met.

Through the contribution recipient, participants receive an allowance equal to or exceeding the provincial/territorial minimum wage rate. However, ESDC’s contribution will not exceed the minimum wage rate. The use of a $500 maximum completion bonus for participants can also be considered, where deemed appropriate and where not detrimental to the social welfare of the participant. By giving completion bonus it could place the participant in a financial hardship situation where they may lose their provincial funding (e.g. prescription drug benefits). Typically, to be eligible to receive a completion bonus, participants must complete the intervention(s) or participate for a minimum of 12 weeks and leave for employment/return to school.

Please note that the hours spent in workshops and/or allowances, do not qualify as insurable hours for the purposes of Employment Insurance benefits.

Participation in Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship is group-based and should be full-time (30+ hours per week). While it cannot feasibly be tailored to allow for part-time involvement by selected participants, accommodations may be made for special needs. Where all individuals are able to participate only part-time (e.g. groups of persons with disabilities), an intervention of reduced hours is allowable.

d) Group-based Employability Skills (GBES)

One of the priorities for this Call for Proposals is to fund projects that have incorporated/embedded Essential Skills into the workshops of the Group-based Employability Skills intervention. For more information, please refer to the description of Essential Skills further in this section.

Group-based Employability Skills is a pre-employment activity for young people who need some additional development before advancing to the labour market. This group-based intervention offers young people the opportunity to participate in workshops to learn or enhance skills transferable to the workplace, such as leadership, teamwork and communication skills. Sessions in first aid, CPR and other health and safety fields would also be eligible for support, as these skills are applicable in many employment situations. However, this intervention is not to be used to support occupation-specific skills development or accreditation. For example, a 15-week bartending course or a 24-week carpentry apprenticeship would not be eligible.

Financial support must be offered to participants, through the contribution recipient where no other support (social assistance, municipal support) is being provided. ESDC’s allowance will not exceed the provincial/territorial minimum wage. The use of a $500 maximum completion bonus for participants can also be considered, where deemed appropriate and where not detrimental to the social welfare of the participant. By giving allowances/completion bonus it could place the participant in financial hardship where they may lose their provincial funding (e.g. prescription drug benefits). Typically, to be eligible to receive a completion bonus, participants must complete the intervention(s) or participate for a minimum of 12 weeks and leave for employment/return to school.

Please note that the hours spent in workshops and/or allowances, do not qualify as insurable hours for the purposes of Employment Insurance benefits.

Participation in this intervention should be full-time (30+ hours per week). While it cannot feasibly be tailored to allow for part-time involvement by selected participants, accommodations may be made for special needs. Where all individuals are able to participate only part-time (e.g. groups of persons with disabilities), an intervention of reduced hours is allowable.

This intervention must always be combined with at least one intervention providing a paid work experience (Employability Skills through Work Experience, Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship or Work Experience).

e) Individual Skills Enhancement (ISE)

Another option available is to provide youth with the funding needed to pay for individual skills enhancement. Some participants will have very specific employment goals and/or require very specific skills enhancement needs in order to prepare them for the labour market.

Individual Skills Enhancement enables youth to participate in short-term courses (a maximum of 12 weeks) that fill specific, identified gaps in their education and skill development, taking into consideration labour market needs.

This intervention must always be combined with at least one intervention providing a paid work experience (Employability Skills through Work Experience, Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship or Work Experience).

Other Activity Options

Employment Services for Youth

These activities may be offered as a component of an agreement which includes Skills Link intervention(s).

Outreach

Youth Outreach activities may be funded when specific priority groups are identified within the youth population (e.g. single parents who have dropped out of school, young persons with disabilities) who need, but do not actively seek out employment services. This activity can be particularly useful in rural areas where there are identified labour market adjustment issues for young people but a lack of services or infrastructure to address those issues.

Outreach involves taking a proactive approach to working with young people. Rather than waiting for young people to visit an employment services office or youth centre, the contribution recipient can identify effective means to locate and connect with disenfranchised youth (e.g. by holding special events, such as job fairs, in areas such as drop-in centres, frequented by these young people). These events would be designed to provide an opportunity for the organization to establish dialogue with the targeted youth group, and provide information such as labour market information (careers, occupations, employment and other related subjects), job listings and job search tips/aids, etc.

The organization may also offer services off-site to young people who are unable or disinclined to visit a youth centre. The goal is to engage young people and encourage them to consider their futures, options and employment goals, and ultimately to participate in employment intervention(s).

Employment Sessions

Employment sessions may be provided to groups within an agreement and are available only to young people who meet Skills Link eligibility criteria. Employment Sessions are short-term activities designed to assist young people in searching for and obtaining work.

Sessions that focus on career and occupational decision-making, job preparation, job search, job maintenance, etc., are provided in an established format with a facilitator. Participants are given an opportunity to acquire information and skills, and to apply these skills within a supported environment.

Sessions must include employment-oriented subject matter, such as:

  • career and occupational information;
  • career decision-making processes;
  • job search techniques;
  • job application processes;
  • resumé and cover letter preparation;
  • job interview preparation and conduct; and,
  • how to accept, start and maintain employment.

There is no minimum or maximum duration for a group session of this nature, but in order to be effective and allow time for participants to practice new skills, a minimum length of three hours is recommended.

Where there is a need to cover a wider range of employability skills and in greater depth, the Group-based Employability Skills intervention can be used to provide workshops over a number of weeks.

Essential Skills

One of the priorities for this Call for Proposals is to fund projects that have incorporated/embedded Essential Skills into the workshops of the Group-based Employability Skills, Employability Skills through Work Experience, and/or the Employability Skills Through Entrepreneurship interventions.

To remain competitive, youth must obtain and maintain the skills they need to succeed in the labour market. Skilled individuals tend to have higher employment participation and lower unemployment rates, and countries with above-average workforce skill levels have increased growth and prosperity.

Essential skills include the skills associated with literacy (i.e. reading, writing, document use and numeracy) but go beyond to also include thinking skills, oral communication, computer use, working with others and the skills associated with continuous learning. Essential Skills provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to better prepare for, obtain and maintain/retain job, and adapt and succeed at work.

Please refer to the following case study for an example of how essential skills can be incorporated into a Skills Link project. This example may assist you in developing essential skills activities for your proposal.

Labour Market Mobility

Should there exist a lack of eligible participants within an area for which a work experience is planned (the employer is located within a remote location, or an insufficient number of potential participants have applied), employers may engage participants from other geographical areas to fulfil local labour market needs. Should a choice exist, movement within a province or territory should be considered before movement between provinces or territories. Costs of relocation (including the youth and his/her dependents) in order to allow a participant to take part in a work experience are eligible for reimbursement, as are reasonable project and administrative costs related to advertising and travel when soliciting potential participants from outside the local area.

In addition to the standard eligibility for participants, eligible youth under the mobility component must:

  • be a minimum of 18 years of age; and,
  • reside a minimum of 150 km from the job location where commuting to and from the job would not be feasible. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Review Process

Screening and Assessment

The criteria-based assessment process for evaluating proposals ensures that all project proposals are evaluated objectively against the Terms and Conditions of the Program, labour market needs, availability of funds, and program priorities.

Applications will be assessed on the quality of the project and the criteria outlined in this section. Requests for funding of all amounts and durations are encouraged.

Following the assessment of proposals, applicants will be notified in writing of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) decision. Please note that project recommendation and approval are subject to the availability of funds. In addition, funding of proposals may be approved in part or in their entirety.

The following are the screening and assessment tools that will be used to evaluate proposals:

Screening Grid

The application must meet all the eligibility requirements stated below in order to be considered for funding. An application that does not meet one or more of the requirements may be rejected.

Eligibility Requirements Yes No
1 - Complete Application for Funding
1.1 - The completed Application for Funding was submitted on or before the stated closing date/time for the Call for Proposals.
1.2 - All required documents were included and completed:
  • Application for Funding;
  • Budget Detail Template;
  • For first time applicants, a document from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that includes the applicant’s valid business number (e.g. tax-related document, CRA correspondence);
  • For work experience interventions - a list of potential employers, including information on the sector of the employers, with whom participants could be placed.

If applying for priorities please specify in your application which one(s) and if applicable, please include:

  • For green jobs - a list of employers offering green jobs placements.
  • For leveraging - proof of financial contributions from other sources (a minimum amount of 20% of total project costs): Letters confirming that your organization has commitments of leveraging from other sources for eligible project costs from sources other than Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) (can include the applicant’s own organization and can be cash and/or in-kind).
2 - Eligible Applicant
2.1 - The Application for Funding was submitted by an eligible applicant:
  • not-for-profit organization
  • municipal government
  • Indigenous organizations (including band council, tribal council and self-government entity)
  • for-profit organizations
  • provincial or territorial government, institutions, agencies or Crown Corporations
3 - Eligible Project
3.1 - The duration of the project does not exceed three years (36 consecutive months).
3.2 - The amount of funding requested from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) does not exceed $5,000,000 per year.
3.3 – Project activities are contained to one province or territory.
3.4 – The proposal’s identified needs and proposed activities support the program objectives.
3.5 - The project aims to achieve a minimum success rate of at least 60% (defined as the combined percentage of participants who have become employed, self-employed, returned to school).
3.6 – The project activities include a minimum of 8 (eight) participants per year or a rationale has been provided as to why the minimum requirement of 8 (eight) participants cannot be fulfilled.    
Assessment Criteria Max Score % of Total
A - Project Relevance /35 35%

A1. The degree to which the proposal’s identified needs support the program objectives

Proposals must clearly outline how the project will support the objectives of the Program.

10 10%

A2. Project Activities

Proposals must provide a clear description of each activity. Activities should be specific, realistic and relevant to the project objectives and demonstrate how the expected project results will be achieved. Timelines must be clearly established and feasible.

15 15%

A3. Strategy to measure the progress of participants and the success of project activities

Proposals must outline a strategy which will be used to measure the success of the project activities and which takes into account the Program’s key performance indicators:

  • the targeted number of participants to be served;
  • the targeted number of participants who will become employed or self-employed; and
  • the targeted number of participants who will return to school.
10 10%
B - Plan to Manage the Project /15 15%

B1. Organizational capacity to manage the project

Proposals should include a detailed description of which outlines the organization’s structure and processes, including governance, administration, human resources policies and financial controls.

5 5%

B2. Experience and results achieved in delivering the specified type of activity

Proposals must include a description of previous projects (with ESDC/Service Canada or other funders), including past results, in order to demonstrate the applicant’s experience and success achieved in managing similar projects and/or activities.

10 10%
C - Budget /30 30%

C1. Eligible and Reasonable Project Costs

The project costs must be eligible, itemized and reasonable, and support project activities. In addition, the budget should demonstrate elements which could be considered as providing good value-for-money (e.g. the amount of contributions from other sources).

Although the maximum allowable per participant is $25,000, past results for the Skills Link program has seen an average cost per participant of $12,000. During the assessment for value for money, the cost per participant will be a factor that is assessed. Cost per participant is calculated by dividing the contribution from ESDC by the number of participants (and not the value of the entire project).

30 30%
D – Additional Priorities /20 /20%

D1- Additional Points – Stream One

Additional points are available for projects that:

  • target green jobs
  • incorporate Essential Skills
  • target female at–risk youth
  • target Indigenous youth
  • fill high demand labour market needs that are currently met through the use of Temporary Foreign Workers
  • leverage a minimum of 20% (additional points will be allocated for cash investments and confirmation must be provided)
  • facilitate youth mobility to access employment opportunities

D2 – Stream Two

Social innovation – will be assessed using the same criteria as Stream One, however a specialized working group will review and recommend projects based on the merit of their Social Innovation.

n/a n/a
Total Score 100 100%

How to fill out the Standard Application for Funding

For clarity we recommend that you refer to Application for Funding for ease of understanding while reading this section and during the completion of the application.

The Application for Funding has four parts:

Part 1 – Organization
Part 2 – Project
Part 3 – Funding
Part 4 – Declaration

Please read this section carefully before completing your application. Provide your answers on the Application Form template and attach only the documents requested.

All required documents must be attached. Otherwise your application will be considered incomplete and screened out. You are required to submit your application to Employment and Social Development (ESDC) in one complete package by the closing date of the Call for Proposals. If you need additional space to answer any of the questions, please use the space provided in Appendix A of the Application for Funding.

Additional Documents Required:

Listed below are additional document(s) that are required to be submitted with your Application for Funding:

  • Budget Detail Template.
  • Budget Detail template (Excel Format, 100 KB)
  • Budget Detail template (PDF Format, 40 KB)
  • For first time applicants, a document from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that includes the applicant’s valid business number (e.g. tax-related document, CRA correspondence) is required.
  • For work experience interventions - a list of potential employers, including information on the sector of the employers, with whom participants could be placed.
  • For projects selected for funding, proof of Workers’ Compensation coverage and/or liability insurance, if applicable, will be required before an agreement is signed.
  • If the project intends to address one or more of the priorities, please specify in your application and include:
    • List of partners offering green jobs placements; and,
    • Leveraging - proof of financial contributions from other sources (a minimum amount of 20% of total project costs): Letters confirming that your organization has commitments of leveraging from other sources for eligible project costs from sources other than ESDC (this can include the applicant’s own organization and can be cash and/or in-kind).*

*please note that if the leveraging is for participant wages from potential employers that letters of confirmation are not required.

Part 1 – Organization

Section 1A – Organization Identification

ESDC uses the information you provide in this section to establish your organization’s identity.

Question 1 – Legal Name

Please provide the legal name of your organization. This is the name associated with your registration with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This must be an exact match to what was captured when your organization registered with CRA. If there is a discrepancy between these two sets of information, the Department will be unable to validate your application.

Question 2 – Operating (Common) Name (if different from legal name)

Please provide the operating (or common) name of your organization if it is different from the legal name.

Question 3 – Business or Registration Number

Please provide your 15-digit CRA business number or, for registered charities and not-for-profit organizations, your registration number.

Example: 123456789 RR 0001

For more information, please visit the CRA website.

Question 4 - Organization Type

Your answer to this question must be one of the following:

  • Not-for-Profit
  • Private (i.e. for-profit)
  • Public

Question 5 – Organization Category

Please select the appropriate category from the following:

Not-for-Profit

  • Indigenous Not-for-Profit Groups
  • Associations of Workers and/or Employers
  • International Non-governmental Organizations
  • Local community, charitable, voluntary organizations
  • Non-governmental Organizations with a focus to encourage employment
  • National Non-governmental Organizations
  • Not-for-Profit Band Councils
  • Provincial Non-governmental Organizations
  • Sector Councils
  • Unions

Private

  • Banks
  • Businesses, bodies incorporated or unincorporated
  • Indian Band Corporations (profit basis)
  • International Sector
  • Band Councils
  • Private Universities and Colleges

Public

  • Contributions to Provinces and Territories
  • International Government Organizations
  • Municipal Governments and Agencies
  • Provincial Governments and Agencies
  • Public Degree-Granting Colleges
  • Public Degree-Granting Universities
  • Public Community Colleges and vocational school
  • Public Health
  • School Board/Other Educational Institution not classified elsewhere
  • Territorial Governments

Question 6 – Year Established

Please indicate the year your organization was established.

Questions 7 to 11 – Organization Address

Please indicate the address of your organization - Applicants must provide a complete address in a format recognized by Canada Post. Information is available on the Canada Post website.

Questions 12 and 13 – Telephone and Fax

Please indicate the telephone and fax number of the organization.

Question 14 – E-Mail Address (mandatory)

Please indicate the e-mail address of the organization.

Questions 15 to 19 - Mailing Address

Please indicate the mailing address if different from your organization’s address.

Questions 20 and 21 – Telephone and Fax

Please indicate the telephone and fax number, if different from your organization’s address.

Question 22 – Organization’s Mandate

Please describe the primary work of your organization, including your mission, mandate and objectives.

Section 1B – Organization Contact

Please provide a main contact for the purposes of communicating with your organization about this project. This could be a project manager, an executive director or someone else. Typically, the person responsible for the project and/or someone with signing authority is identified here.

Question 23 – Given Name/Surname

Please provide the name of the person in your organization who will be ESDC’s main contact for the project.

Question 24 – Position Title

Please provide the title of the organization contact identified in Question 23.

Example: Executive Director

Question 25 – Preferred Language of Communication

Please indicate the preferred language of the organization’s main contact for both written and spoken communication:

  • English; or,
  • French

Question 26 – Organization Contact - Address

Please indicate whether the address for the Organization Contact is the same address as the Organization Address or the Organization Mailing Address given in Section 1A. If different, please indicate in the box.

Questions 27 to 31 – Contact Address

If you selected ‘Different’ in Question 26, please provide the address for the Organization Contact here.

Questions 32 and 33 -Telephone and Fax

Please indicate the telephone and fax numbers of the Organization Contact.

Question 34 – E-Mail Address

Please indicate the e-mail address of the Organization Contact. Please note that this is where all correspondence will be sent.

Section 1C – Organizational Capacity

ESDC uses the information provided in this section to help assess the organization’s capacity to manage a project.

Question 35 – How many employees does your organization currently have?

Please indicate the number of people employed in your organization. The number of employees must be a whole number.

Question 36 – Has your organization undergone any important transformations in the past two years?

Important transformations refers to events such as a change in leadership in the board of directors or at the executive level, an important reduction, increase or turn-over in staff, a merger with or split from another organization, a change in mandate or main activities, etc.

If you answer yes, please provide a description of the changes.

Question 37 – Please describe how your organization has the experience and expertise to carry out the proposed project activities. If applicable, please include any past experience(s) with ESDC and the results of the project(s).

Please provide a description of your organization’s experience and expertise in administering projects. This information will help ESDC to assess the extent to which your organization is capable of undertaking the proposed project activities and achieving the expected results. You may wish to highlight related past achievements in addition to describing current expertise and activities or projects.

Please include a description of:

  • previous Skills Link projects (please include project numbers);
  • previous experience in delivering projects related to youth funded by ESDC;
  • and/or other similar projects by other federal departments, municipal, provincial, or territorial governments (include department, responsible project officer, project name, date length, funding, proposed targets and outcomes); and current contact information for verification.

Question 38 – Does your organization owe any amounts to the Government of Canada?

If yes, please indicate the amounts owing in the spaces provided. See the following example:

Amount owing Nature of amount owing Department or agency to which money is owed

$10,000

Overpayment

Employment and Social Development Canada

Answering ‘yes’ to this question will not invalidate your application. However, you must provide details as to the type of debt owed and the arrangements that have been made for repayment.

Question 39 – If an amount is owing, is a payment plan in place?

Please indicate whether or not payment arrangements have been made.

Part 2 - Project

Section 2A – Project Identification

Question 40 – Project Title

Please provide a brief, descriptive project title.

Questions 41 and 42 – Planned Project Start and End Dates

Please indicate the planned start and end dates of your project.

Projects resulting from this Call for Proposals must not exceed durations of three years (36 consecutive months) and must have an end date of not later than March 31, 2020.

Activities cannot begin before your project is approved and an agreement has been signed by both the recipient and ESDC.

You should not assume any commitment on the part of ESDC until funding has been approved and a formal agreement has been signed by a representative of ESDC. ESDC will notify you in writing of the outcome of the review of your application. Any project expenses incurred prior to the signing of an agreement will not be eligible for reimbursement.

Section 2B – Project Description

ESDC uses the information you provide in this section as part of the assessment in determining whether or not your proposed project is eligible for funding.

Question 43 - Project Objectives (must be clearly linked to the objectives of the program to which you are applying).

The Call for Proposals (CFP) identifiers for the two streams are as follows - Please indicate in this section which of the two streams you are applying for:

CFP-HQ-SL-REG-2016-0020    Stream One

CFP-HQ-SL-SI-2016-0021       Stream Two

Proposals should include clear and achievable objectives. The objectives should be described in terms of quantifiable and qualifiable goals to be achieved through this project.

Objectives are statements of desired change that describe what should be accomplished (e.g. participants secure employment), and provide a context in which progress can be monitored and success can be measured.

Project objectives must:

  • support the funding program’s objectives;
  • identify a specific outcome(s) that the project is designed to support (e.g. participants secure employment) and how achieving the outcome will support the project’s objective;
  • be measurable (i.e. targets for the number of participants completing the project and the number of participants achieving the key performance indicators) (see Question 45 Expected Results of the Project); and,
  • identify who will benefit from the project (e.g. youth at risk, youth with disabilities, Indigenous youth, females, recent immigrant youth, etc.)

Please provide any relevant information that supports the priorities of the Call for Proposals that has been incorporated into your project. This can include Labour Market information, demographic statistics for the locations of activities. In general, provide information on why there is a need for the project in area that is being proposed and demonstrate that there is a reasonable expectation of success for any priorities being addressed.

Question 44 - Project Activities

Please describe the proposed project activities.

Project activities are the steps that will be taken to meet the objectives of the project. Activities should be specific, measurable, realistic and relevant to the project objectives and demonstrate how the project outcome(s) will be achieved and measured.

The project should be broken down into various steps (milestones) that reliably show the expected progress and plans to complete the project on time and within budget.

For example, provide a detailed breakdown of the timelines to indicate at what stage of the project the activities will occur throughout the duration of the project and how success will be measured at each milestone, as part of the reporting requirements.

Please include details about how the project will be delivered. For example, will there be third-party agreements, or will the organization deliver all aspects of the project? Note that, if contracting, the purchase of project-related goods or services valued at $25,000 or over, is subject to a fair and accountable process which requires the solicitation of a minimum of three bids or proposals.

There should be a clear link between the project activities and the project costs outlined in the project budget. The information you provide here will have a significant bearing on the assessment of your project and of your organization’s ability to undertake the project successfully.

If applicable, participant information should describe the:

  • participants' recruitment method, (e.g. through interviews and/or information sessions, referrals from youth serving agencies, and other community organizations);
  • basis for selection of participants (e.g. eligibility criteria, interests, commitment, education and/or readiness for participation in a project);
  • participants targeted; (e.g. Indigenous youth, youth with disabilities, visible minority youth, recent immigrant youth, and refugee youth, etc.)means by which participants' eligibility will be verified; and,
  • fields or sectors in which participants will conduct their work experience.

Question 45 - Expected Results of the Project

Please describe the expected results of your project. The expected results of the project must be clearly linked to the program objectives. They must also be specific, concrete and measurable.

This Call for Proposals requires a minimum 60% expected success rate of participants being employed/self-employed or having returned to school at the end of the project. Expected results should be listed under the following Skills Link key performance indicators:

  • the targeted number of participants to be served;
  • the targeted number of participants who will become employed or self-employed; and,
  • the targeted number of participants who will return to school.

Example:

This project will have 20 participants and of these 20 participants, it is expected that 18 will achieve a successful outcome:

  • 20 will have been served;
  • 10 will have found employment;
  • 4 will have returned to school; and,
  • 6 will neither be employed nor return to school.

Section 2C – Project Details

Question 46 – Does the project include results measurement indicators?

Please describe how you will meet and track the expected results of the project.

Having a clear strategy to measure results is the best way to ensure that you know how your project is progressing towards meeting the expected results of the Skills Link Program. ESDC uses the information you provide in this section to assess the quality of your application and your capacity to demonstrate results.

Provide a description of how each participant's progress, achievements and/or how the overall success of the project will be measured, monitored and reported during the project. This must include the reporting requirements described under Question 44 above (Project Activities).

Recipients will be required to complete a 12 week follow-up after the intervention(s) for participants who are not employed nor returned to school.

Additionally, the collection of information to identify and track specific sub-groups of youth is required. This will include projected targets on both the gender and the number of participants who are:

  • Indigenous youth;
  • youth with disabilities;
  • visible minority youth;
  • recent immigrant youth; and
  • refugee youth.

New Immigrant: is a person who has moved from their country of origin (their homeland) to another country to become a citizen of that country and has been in that country for less than 5 years.

Refugee: A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

If your project intends to be targeting/serving any of the above-noted sub-groups, please include the forecasted number by sub-group and gender.

Question 47 – Does the proposed project fit with your organization’s other activities?

Please describe how the project relates to the ongoing work of your organization. You may wish to highlight how past achievements and current activities and/or projects are related to your proposed project. This information helps ESDC to determine the extent to which your organization is able to undertake the proposed project and to achieve the expected results.

Question 48 – Will any of the project activities be delivered in a different location than where your organization is located?

Please indicate ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. If ‘yes’, please list the main address first, followed by each additional location.

If there are more than five locations, please include in Appendix A.

Question 49 – Is your project designed to benefit or involve people in English or French-language minority communities? If yes, please provide an explanation and any details on whether consultations will take place with these communities?

ESDC is committed to enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minorities in Canada by supporting and assisting their development and fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society. Official Language Minority Communities are English-speaking communities established within the province of Quebec and French-speaking communities established outside the province of Quebec.

If your proposed project will involve official language minority communities, you should answer ‘Yes’ to this question and ensure that this is listed and described in your answer to Question 43 - Project Objectives.

Please also identify the linguistic profile of the beneficiaries targeted by the project, document any special needs of the official language minority community and indicate whether or not they were consulted. The related budgetary items can be identified in Part 3 of the Application.

Answering ‘no’ to this question will not invalidate your application.

Question 50 – Will any other organizations, networks, or partners be involved in carrying out the project?

Skills Link encourages applicants to secure the involvement of other organizations, networks, or partners. Please describe the other group(s) or individual(s) as well as the role(s) and expertise they will bring to the project.

This information will help ESDC to assess the support base for your project.

Partner Information

This section should specify details concerning the:

  • employers' participation and other partners (i.e. type of organization, location, experience dealing with the target group, etc.); and,
  • relationships between the various partners and the applicant, including monetary and/or in-kind contributions, and details concerning the specific involvement and relevant experience (if applicable) of each partner in the project.

Applicants and/or partners (including employers) can provide monetary and/or in-kind contributions that reflect a commitment to the success of the project. This funding could come from the private sector, not-for-profit organizations and/or other levels of government. In addition, employers should be strongly encouraged make either a cash or in-kind contribution to the project.

Question 51 – Does the project address the program’s national, regional or local priorities?

If your project addresses one of the following priorities, please indicate ‘Yes’, otherwise indicate ‘No’.

  • Projects that target green jobs;
  • Projects that incorporate Essential Skills;
  • Projects that target female at–risk youth;
  • Projects that target Indigenous youth;
  • Projects that fill high demand labour market needs that are currently met through the use of Temporary Foreign Workers;
  • Applicants that leverage a minimum of 20% of funding from other sources;
  • Projects that facilitate youth mobility to access employment opportunities;
  • Projects that test innovative approaches; and
  • Social enterprise

Question 52 – Does your project include activities that are listed in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s (CEAA) Regulations Designating Physical Activities established under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012?

Applicants need to verify if their proposed activities are listed under the above Act – Please visit Act and List of Regulations website to access the list of Regulations Designating Physical Activities.

Please indicate ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

If the answer is NO - No Environmental Assessment will be required

If the answer is YES, then, as per the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, applicant must submit the project description electronically to the CEAA for further review. The CEAA will determine if an Environmental Assessment (EA) is required based on the project description.

Important: ESDC funding will be conditional upon receipt by ESDC of, as the case may be, CEAA confirmation that an EA is not required, or a copy of the completed EA and confirmation that your organization is equipped to appropriately address the EA findings.

Part 3 - Funding

Section 3A – Anticipated Sources of Funding

These amounts must be outlined in this section and applicants should provide letters confirming financial support from contributors with their application, indicating the amount of the contributions, and confirming that it will be directly applied to project costs before Skills Link funding can be provided. Contributions from the applicant are eligible.

Question 53 - Source Name

If applicable, please include the name of the organization that will contribute cash and/or in-kind contributions to this project. ESDC should be listed as the first source name and any other sources listed below.

Cash and in-kind contributions must be committed to in writing by the contributing party through the provision of a letter containing the information identified as follows:

  • name and contact information of contributing partner organization; and,
  • confirmation of committed contribution to the project, including percentage of total project cost.

Each letter must be signed by an authorized authority of the contributing partner (e.g. Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer, etc.) attesting that the contributions are readily available once the project is approved.

Question 54 - Source Type

Use the following list to identify the type of anticipated contributor:

  • Crown Corporation
  • Federal Department or Agency
  • Not-for-Profit
  • Private sector
  • Provincial/Territorial government
  • Regional or Municipal government
  • Sponsor/organization/recipient
  • Other (please specify)

Question 55 - Cash

Please include the amount of funding that will be provided.

Question 56 - In-kind ($ value)

In-kind contributions are goods or services that may be contributed to the project (by your organization, other organizations or partners) for which you will not be requesting re-imbursement.

To be considered as valid, in-kind contributions must be eligible budget items that would have been necessary expenditures for the success of the project, and their monetary equivalent must be estimated at fair market value. (See question 58 for examples of eligible expenditures.)

Question 57 - Confirmed Cash and In-Kind

Cash and In-kind contributions should be committed to in writing by the contributing party. Please check (x) if this has been confirmed.

Section 3B – Budget

Applicants must provide an estimate of the project’s costs. ESDC uses the information provided in this section to assess the overall cost of the proposed project, as well as the general nature of the expenditures to be covered by all anticipated sources of funding.

Please use the Budget Detail Template which must be included as part of the application.

Question 58 – Cost Category

ESDC has developed an approach whereby applicants to Skills Link can choose one of two costing options. One of these costing options includes a flat percentage rate developed to represent actual costs of delivering a project and/or operating a business. Contribution recipients must keep receipts and supporting documents that support the expenditures under the flat rate as they could be subject to an audit; and if asked must supply this supporting documentation.

The options available to applicants are:

  • Departmental Flat Percentage Rate: a flat percentage rate that is offered by the Department for Projects Costs (type 3C in the eligible costs listing) and, if applicable, Administrative Costs (type 1A). The rates offered by ESDC to applicants for Skills Link projects are:
    • 4% for Project Costs (3C) - (4% of {Staff Wages [3A] plus Participant Costs [3B]}); and,
    • 10% for Administrative Costs (1A) - (10% of {Staff Wages [3A] plus Participant Costs [3B] plus Project Costs [3C]}); or,
  • Reimbursement of Actual Costs: reimbursement is based on actual expenditures incurred.

The applicant will select a costing option and submit an application based on that chosen method. The costing option cannot be changed over the course of an agreement.

Also, choosing a costing option using a flat percentage rate requires that a flat percentage rate be used for cost type 3C as well as, if relevant, type 1A costs. In other words, applicants cannot choose a flat percentage rate for cost type 1A and request reimbursement for actual costs incurred for cost type 3C.

Please itemize your project budget according to the Budget Detail Template attached in Appendix B.

Key elements to consider in determining the project budget are: contributions from other sources, duration of the project, occupations, prevailing wage rates and type of project activities. Please note that applicants must also detail monetary and/or in-kind contributions from other sources that reflect a commitment to the success of the project.

Contingency costs are not an eligible cost. Costs must be foreseeable to be negotiated in the original agreement and will otherwise require a negotiation and amendment of the contribution agreement.

Eligible expenditures are the expenses considered necessary to support the purpose of the funding. The following list of items consists of possible expenditures if they are related to the project’s activities and eligible under the program.

Cost Categories

1. Administrative Costs

a) Administrative Costs

  • audit fees (financial, activity compliance);
  • bank fees;
  • basic telephone fees (including fax lines);
  • contracting (if not contracted specifically to support the project), bookkeeping, janitorial services, Information Technology (IT), equipment maintenance services, security, translator, training fees, consultant fees, printing contracts fees (i.e. large job);
  • equipment repair and maintenance (includes photocopy meter charges);
  • insurance (fire, theft, liability);
  • IT maintenance;
  • legal fees;
  • materials and office supplies (e.g. pens, pencils, paper, envelopes, cleaning supplies, subscriptions);
  • monthly internet fees;
  • management and administrative staff wages not working on outcome of projects including Mandatory Employment Related Costs (MERCs), vacation pay and benefits;
  • operational printing contracted externally (business cards, letterhead, ad hoc unanticipated print jobs, minor updates and/or printing of organizational or program brochures, etc.);
  • other non-participant-based costs (e.g. water where public water is not safe for drinking, staff and volunteer recognition);
  • professional development for management and administrative staff
  • postage and courier fees;
  • rent, lease repairs and leasehold improvements; and,
  • staff and volunteer transportation (bus fare, taxi and parking required for delivery of project activities but not part of travel claims; does NOT include monthly parking fees nor bus pass).

2. Capital Costs

a) Capital Assets

‘Capital assets’ refers to any asset/expenditure requiring agreement of disposition, as per program-specific Terms and Conditions (Ts and Cs) and value. For example:

  • computer;
  • furniture; and,
  • software.

3. Direct Costs

a) Staff Wages

‘Staff wages’ refers to wages, MERCs and benefits paid to or on behalf of staff working directly on the project. MERCs mean Mandatory Employment-Related Costs and include Employment Insurance Premiums, Canada Pension Plan / Quebec Pension Plan contributions, vacation pay, etc. Benefits means payments an employer is required to make by virtue of company policy or a collective agreement such as contributions to a group pension plan.

b) Participant Costs

Such costs refer to participant wages and Mandatory Employment-Related Costs (MERCs), completion bonuses, and other employment-related benefit costs where warranted by current organizational Human Resources policies and/or provincial/territorial labour standards.

General project participant costs:

  • adaptive-technology set-up;
  • dependent care;
  • disability-related incremental costs (i.e. additional per diems for fees for assistance provided, etc.);
  • disability-related supports (attendant care, note takers, sign language interpreters);
  • emergency assistance (financial assistance provided to a participant to cover accommodation, food, laundry, telephone calls);
  • living expenses;
  • materials and supplies, books and testing materials to be used by/for participants;
  • participation and completion recognition;
  • professional fees related to participants – sub-contracting (i.e. vocational assessments, needs assessments, guest speakers, etc.);
  • travel, transportation; and,
  • tuition fees.

c) Project Costs

If you have chosen the flat rate option, cost items do not need to be detailed or negotiated. However, for audit purposes, it is important to keep in mind that this category includes:

  • advertising (newspaper ads, website ads, flyers, etc.);
  • conference attendance fees;
  • conference fees (meeting room rental, guest speakers, etc.);
  • equipment lease, rental or purchase (including computers, fax machines, etc.); Computer software (with a value that is less than the amount identified in the funding agreement under the disposition of capital assets clause or without lease to own);
  • furniture (with a value that is less than the amount identified in the funding agreement under the disposition of capital assets clause);
  • goods and services tax (GST) / Harmonized sales tax (HST) / Provincial sales tax (PST);
  • hospitality;
  • materials and office supplies (e.g. pens, pencils, paper, envelopes, cleaning supplies, subscriptions);
  • memberships fees (professional and organizational), affiliation fees and business licenses and permits;
  • professional fees related to project activities;
  • reference materials (books, periodicals, subscriptions, etc., which cannot be easily traced/tracked back to usage by project participants);
  • rent, lease (including applicant owned premises), repairs and leasehold improvements;
  • signage;
  • significant project costs associated with the following types of expenditures (non- standard/non-basic amounts over and above the regular, day-to-day operational costs):
    • contracting (if contracted specifically to support the project) (e.g. bookkeeping, janitorial services, Information Technology (IT), equipment maintenance services, security, audit costs, legal fees, translator, training);
    • internet (web page design, etc.) and other IT requirements (significant costs associated with project activities, which increase expected internet related costs beyond normal operating requirements);
    • postage fees (significant costs associated with project activities, which increase expected costs of postage beyond normal operating requirements);
    • printing fees (significant costs associated with project activities, which increase expected printing costs beyond normal operating requirements);
    • professional development for staff;
    • telephone (installation and extraordinary costs related to telephones and/or fax lines required over and above regular operating requirements);
  • staff disability supports (duty to accommodate);
  • staff training for disability-related issues (e.g. sign language training);
  • utilities; and,
  • support to individuals (paid through contribution recipients).

Ineligible Costs:

  • costs associated with fundraising activities;
  • Canada Revenue Agency or payroll penalties;
  • parking tickets;
  • fines or penalties;
  • entertainment costs;
  • depreciation on fixed assets;
  • board membership fees;
  • capital costs for the construction of a building or the purchase of land or buildings;
  • purchase of motor vehicles;
  • legal fees and court awards for inappropriate dismissal or other inappropriate/illegal activity;
  • membership fees for privates clubs, etc. (golf clubs, gyms, etc.) unless part of existing (non-monetary) employment benefits package;
  • staff salary bonuses if not originally negotiated into agreement;
  • purchase of alcoholic beverages;
  • purchase of any illegal substances;
  • mentor and/or coach wages;
  • unreasonable gifts or unreasonable payments for recognition;
  • costs incurred for ineligible participants; and,
  • other costs ineligible as per program terms and conditions.

Applicants shall not request the payment of any charge or fee from participants for their participation in the project.

If the proposal involves subcontracting, the Budget Detail Template must include a rationale and describe the process to select the sub-contractors. If applicants intend to contract or subcontract for a value of $25,000, they must demonstrate that the costs represent fair market value. Failure to comply with ESDC requirements may result in these expenditures being ineligible for reimbursement. In the situation where a contract for goods and services is below the $25,000 threshold, it must still demonstrate the principles of accountability, fairness, and best value for money.

When completing questions 58-61 on the Application please provide budget totals for categories 1, 2 and 3.

Question 59 to 61 – Planned Expenditures

Please provide the total planned expenditures.

‘Other’ includes funding from another source (not ESDC).

Section 3C – Budget Details

Question 62 – Associated Businesses or Individuals.

Please check all statements that apply to your planned expenditures of ESDC funding.

In carrying-out projects, contribution recipients may have to purchase various goods or services needed to perform the project from contractors.

Some recipients may also contract-out with third-parties (i.e. outside providers) to perform part of the project activities and aid the contribution recipient to achieve the objectives of the project.

‘Associated Businesses or Individuals’ means:

  • an officer, director or employee of your organization;
  • a member of the immediate family of an officer, director or employee of your organization;
  • a business in which an officer, director or employee of your Organization, or a member of their immediate family, has a financial interest; or,
  • a business which is related to, or associated or affiliated with, your organization.

Project activities must go beyond your organization’s normal activities, as Skills Link does not fund your organization’s core, existing or on-going activities.

Question 63 - Capital Assets: Will capital assets be among your planned expenditures with ESDC funding?

Please indicate Yes or No.

If ‘yes’, explain how your project will benefit from the purchase of capital assets. A disposal plan for the capital assets should also be included.

A capital asset is any single or composite asset with a purchase value of more than $1,000 (before taxes) that is not physically incorporated into another product and that remains functional at the end of the project.

A composite asset is a collection of unique assets that form one identifiable functional unit, where all components are required for the asset to be functional. The collection of assets is treated as a single capital asset if the total cost of all individual items together is greater than $1,000 (before taxes).

For example, a personal computer composed of a hard-drive, a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse and cabling is a composite capital asset. Four $300 chairs are not capital assets because each chair is functional on its own and, as single units, fall below the established threshold of $1,000 (before taxes).

Question 64 – Further Budget Details

Further budget details should be provided in the Budget Detail Template as outlined in Question 58 – Cost Categories.

Provide an explanation of how you calculated the amounts of in-kind contributions indicated in Question 56 - In-kind.

Part 4 - Declaration

If you are not submitting through GCOS, please ensure that your application is signed by an official, authorized representative of your organization. People with signing authority are normally one or more of the executive members of the board of directors (president, vice president, secretary or treasurer) and employees of the organization (chief executive officer, executive director, chiefs of finance or human resources).

The Application for Funding must be signed in accordance with the organization’s statutes, by-laws or other constituting documents. For example, the president and the chief financial officer may be required to sign all outgoing documents.

Appendix – A

Please use this section to complete questions from previous sections of the application. Please reference the specific question or section meant to be continued for each entry.

Next step

Apply

Checklist

Before sending your completed Application for Funding form, you should ensure that you have included all of the following documents:

  • Application for Funding;
  • Budget Detail template;
  • For first time applicants, a document from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that includes the applicant’s valid business number (e.g. tax-related document, CRA correspondence).
  • For work experience interventions- a list of potential employers, including information on the sector of the employers, with whom participants could be placed.

If applying for priorities please specify in your application and include:

  • List of partners offering green jobs placements
  • Leveraging - proof of financial contributions from other sources (a confirmed minimum amount of 20% of total project costs): Letters confirming that your organization has commitments of leveraging from other sources for eligible project costs from sources other than Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) (can include the applicant’s own organization and can be cash and/or in-kind);

For projects selected for funding, proof of Workers’ Compensation coverage and/or liability insurance will be required before an agreement is signed.

Note: For reasons of fairness and transparency, only information pertinent to all applications is posted. Those applicants with project-specific questions will be referred to the appropriate section of the Applicant Guide.
  • Living allowances are to be paid to participants during interventions where the participant is not receiving any wages (Individual Skills Enhancements, Group-based Employability Skills and Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship).
  • As per the Applicant Guide, projects require a minimum of 8 participants per project year. Please note that the intent of Skills Link is for participants to ultimately gain employment or return to school following their interventions.
  • Stream 2 of the Call for Proposals encourages projects which offer innovative approaches to help young people integrate into the labor market. In order to avoid restricting ideas, definitions for ‘innovative approaches’ or ’social innovation’ have purposely not been provided.
  • The maximum number of pages for the proposal is 40. This does not include the Budget Detailed Template nor supporting documents such as letters of confirmation or other legal documents.

Submit your application

Your application must be submitted or postmarked no later than August 12, 2016 before 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.

  • Online

For this Call for Proposals (CFP), Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) encourages applicants to submit applications using its online system, Grants and Contributions Online Services (GCOS). GCOS is a secure web environment for applying for Grants and Contributions programs that will allow you to manage your agreements with ESDC online in an efficient manner (e.g. immediate participant verification, submitting financial claims and reports electronically, 24/7 access). It may take several business days to complete the one-time account registration, therefore, if you are not already registered; we invite you to register as soon as possible using this link: Register for GCOS.

Apply Online

  • Email

Applications may also be submitted by e-mail using the following address:

sl-cc@servicecanada.gc.ca.

Applications cannot be submitted by other means, including cloud storage service providers such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Applications sent using such means will be disqualified.

  • By Mail

Employers and organizations may also submit their completed Funding applications (available on our eforms site) in-person or by mail. Please consult the listing below to find out where to submit an application in your area.

Applications cannot be submitted by USB sticks, CDs or other storage devices. Applications sent using such means will be disqualified.

Alberta

Service Canada Edmonton (serves north of Red Deer)
1440 - 9700 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, AB
T5J 4C1

or

Service Canada Calgary serves south of Red Deer)
1816 Crowchild Trail North-West
Calgary, AB
T2M 3Y7

Atlantic Region (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island)

Service Canada
Program Delivery Unit
PO Box 1800 Station Central
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
B3J 3V1

British Columbia

Service Canada Kelowna (serves Vancouver Island/Northern BC/Southern Interior)
471 Queensway, Room 306
Kelowna, BC
V1Y 6S5

or

Service Canada Vancouver (serves the Lower Mainland)
125 10th Ave E
Vancouver, BC
V5T 1Z3

Manitoba

Service Canada Brandon (serves rural Manitoba)
1039 Princess Avenue
Brandon, MB
R7A 6E2

or

Service Canada Winnipeg (serves Elmwood, Point Douglas, Winnipeg North, Winnipeg Centre, and St. Boniface areas)
280 Broadway Avenue, Suite 115
Winnipeg, MB
R3C 4M5

Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon

Service Canada
300 Main Street
Whitehorse, Yukon
Y1A 2B5

Ontario

Service Canada
430 Courtneypark Dr. E.
Mississauga, Ontario
L5T 2S5

Quebec

Service Canada
1001 De Maisonneuve Boulevard East, 4th Floor
Montréal, Québec
H2L 4P9

Saskatchewan

Service Canada Saskatoon (serves Northern SK)
101 - 22nd Street East
Saskatoon, SK
S7K 0E2

or

Service Canada Regina (serves Southern SK)
200 - 1783 Hamilton Street
Regina, SK
S4P 2B6

Notice to applicants

The information collected in your application will be used, and may be disclosed, for the purposes of assessing the merits of your application. As part of the assessment process, the information may be shared with external consultants, review committee members, officials in other departments, federal, provincial and/or territorial governments or Members of Parliament.

It may also be used and/or disclosed for policy analysis, research, and/or evaluation purposes. In order to conduct these activities, various sources of information under the custody and control of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) may be linked. However, these additional uses and/or disclosures of information will not impact your project.

In the event that the application contains personal information, the personal information will be administered in accordance with the Privacy Act. The application is also subject to the Access to Information Act (ATIA). The ATIA provides every person with a right of access to information under the control of the department, subject to a limited set of exemptions. Instructions for obtaining access to this information are outlined in the government publication entitled Info Source, which is available at InfoSource. Info Source may also be accessed on-line at any Service Canada Centre.

Follow-up after you apply

If you are submitting your application through Grants and Contributions Online Services, you will receive an acknowledgement immediately.

Under normal conditions, we will acknowledge receipt of your proposal within 21 calendar days of receiving your application.

We will notify you, in writing whether or not your application has been approved.

Not all proposals submitted under this Call for Proposals will be approved. Funding is limited and is subject to budget considerations of the Skills Link program and Employment and Social Development Canada, (ESDC) and allocation of funds by Parliament.

Decisions are final and there is no appeal process.