Funding: Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities

Through funding for organizations, the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities (OF) program helps people with disabilities prepare for, obtain and maintain employment or self-employment.

The program offers a range of activities that can be tailored to meet the individual needs of people with disabilities.

Apply Now

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada accepts Opportunities Fund applications for local and regional projects on an ongoing basis or through calls for proposals.

Applications for funding for national projects are selected through a Call for Proposals process.

Who Can Apply

Eligible applicants include:

  • Businesses, including federal crown corporations found on Schedule III, Part II of the Financial Administration Act (funding may not be a substitute for ongoing operating or capital funding requirements),
    • comparable provincial crown corporations, and
    • those who may act as a community coordinator (CC);
  • Organizations,
    • including non-profit organizations,
    • public health,
    • educational institutions,
    • band/tribal councils,
    • municipal governments, and
    • those who may act as a CC.

Eligible Participants

Participants are recruited by the funding recipients.

To participate in the Opportunities Fund, individuals must:

  • self-identify as having a permanent physical or mental disability that restricts his or her ability to perform daily activities;
  • be unemployed;
  • be legally entitled to work in Canada;
  • not be eligible for assistance under Employment Insurance (EI) Part II employment benefits or any similar programs that are the subject of agreements with provinces, territories, or organizations, pursuant to Section 63 of the EI Act; and
  • require assistance to prepare for, obtain and keep employment or self-employment.

Note: Persons with disabilities will be considered unemployed for Opportunities Fund eligibility purposes if, at the time of applying for assistance, they:

  • are working less than an average of 20 hours per week and are capable of working more;
  • are actively seeking employment or increased employment;
  • are in receipt of a notice of imminent lay-off and are unlikely to be eligible for EI; or
  • must leave their current occupation due to medical reasons and are unlikely to be eligible for EI.

Project Activities

Funding decisions are based on national, regional and local priorities, community needs, program terms and conditions, and available funding.

The following is a list of activities eligible for funding under the OF program:

  • skills for employment;
  • wage subsidy;
  • work experience;
  • self-employmentFootnote 1
  • enhanced employment assistance services; and
  • employer awareness.

Return to Work Action Plan (RTWAP)

Case Management is a professional approach to the coordination of services to clients, resulting in the development and completion of a RTWAP. The interventions (project activities) listed in the section above form part of a RTWAP and consist of one or more interventions and are based on the client’s employability needs. The client's barriers to employment are determined and a RTWAP is developed and agreed upon between the case manager and the client. This action plan would normally include one or more interventions; which the client agrees to access. It is

  • an agreement between the case manager and the client on the steps that the client needs to take in order to, in the short-term, enhance their employability by overcoming the barriers that they face and, in the intermediate term, to eventually obtain employment or seek further skills upgrading (which will eventually result in obtaining employment); and it
  • tailors assistance to each client and focuses on the client’s commitment to a plan of action for entering or returning to the work force. The interventions can include a combination of services and/or ESDC/SC programs.

Outcomes and results of the RTWAPs and interventions are reported back to ESDC/SC, and these results are used for accountability purposes.

Under OF, every participant must have a RTWAP prepared by a case manager. The case manager or designated person can be the one who helped the participant to prepare and/or implement their RTWAP.

Each participant’s RTWAP is unique and is a reflection of their personal needs, interests and abilities. The scope of activities that are included in the RTWAP is limited only by the resources, time availability and the individual’s capabilities.

Once an individual makes the commitment to a RTWAP, a case manager must be identified (this person will assume responsibility for following-up with the participant throughout the RTWAP).

The RTWAP is flexible and may be revised or enhanced at any time during the case management process. It is the mechanism to develop and follow-up on participants’ activities and their success in finding and maintaining employment.

OF – Community Coordinator (OF-CC)

An OF Community Coordinator (OF-CC) is a contribution recipient that receives funding to enter into its own agreements with eligible participants and employers to undertake activities that further the objectives of the OF program. The OF-CC delivers programming that is considered to be its own, but that is consistent with the intent of the program.

An OF-CC may provide a wide spectrum of activities for OF-eligible clients; ESDC/SC may have an agreement with an OF-CC to deliver one or more of the program options (Wage Subsidies, Work Experience, Employer Awareness, and Self-Employment). As well, EEAS-type activities and Skills for Employment may be included in, but not the sole activity of, an OF-CC agreement.

OF Interventions

Please note that projects, excluding stand-alone employer awareness agreements, must include a work experience component (either self-employment, work experience or wage subsidy).

To be eligible for funding under the Opportunities Fund, proposed projects must involve a minimum of eight participants.

OF Skills for Employment (OF-SFE)

OF-SFE enables a participant to undertake training and develop skills, from basic to advanced, that are required for employment. Types of training that can be supported through OF-SFE include skills training for specific occupations and/or, academic upgrading (if it leads to occupational skills training or employment). The specific skills training supported under OF-SFE should reflect current or projected local employment opportunities.

All training must lead to a certificate/ proof of skill acquisition that is recognized by potential employers. Training may be:

  • full-time or part-time;
  • short classroom-based courses;
  • distance learning;
  • internet-based instruction; and
  • correspondence courses.

Skills for Employment cannot be the sole activity of an agreement and must be combined with a work experience intervention (either self-employment, work experience or wage subsidy) of an equal or longer duration.

OF Wage Subsidy (OF-WS)

OF-WS provides financial support to employers to encourage them to hire persons with disabilities whom they would not normally hire. The subsidy provided to the employer is an established share of actual wages paid to the participant; wages paid should be in line with the prevailing labour market rate for the participant’s position.

The subsidy rate can vary during the life of the funding agreement. A descending scale may be used, such that the amount of the subsidy diminishes over the duration of the intervention. The intervention may also include one or more blocks of time during which the employer covers the entire cost of the wages.

Wage subsidies can be delivered as a stand-alone agreement.

OF Work Experience (OF-WE)

OF-WE supports the provision of job opportunities through which participants can gain work experience needed to obtain ongoing employment. Financial support is provided to employers, businesses, not for profit organizations, etc. to encourage them to provide work experience for persons with disabilities. Funded activities must be incremental to, and not part of, normal operations. The financial support provided to the employer is an established share of actual wages paid to the participant; those wages paid should be in line with the prevailing labour market rate for the participant’s position.

Work experience can be delivered as a stand-alone agreement.

OF Self Employment (OF-SE)

OF-SE provides support to help persons with disabilities create jobs by starting a business. Participants receive income support as well as technical and consultative support to help them assess their business concepts, prepare business plans and launch the enterprise.

Participants must provide evidence of their ability to personally invest in their business.

Eligible and Ineligible Business Activities

Eligible business activities:

  • new business;
  • part-time business (if appropriate given a participant’s capacity);
  • existing business in which the applicant has had no prior ownership;
  • conversion of a hobby to business;
  • business that is seasonal in nature (applicant must be able and prepared to devote full-time effort to business development and implementation); and,
  • home-based business.

Eligible business structures:

  • sole ownership, in which the OF-SE applicant owns 100% of the business and has complete control;
  • partnership, in which the partnership agreement demonstrates that the client is a major decision-maker and has control of the venture;
  • corporation/limited company, in which the applicant holds the majority of voting shares;
  • ownership or membership in a new worker cooperative; and,
  • franchise (if they have some flexibility with respect to operation the franchise and making day-to-day business decisions).

Ineligible business activities:

  • business that is partially or entirely based on commission when it is acting as an agent of a parent company (e.g. real estate agent, insurance broker);
  • business that is currently in operation and open for business, in which the applicant has ownership;
  • business in which the client previously had ownership;
  • business previously owned by the client’s spouse, parent or child where the client has had significant involvement in the management/decision-making processes;
  • any activity that involves sexual exploitation; illegal activity; the production of materials that promote hate, discrimination, or illegal activity; proselytizing of a particular religious or political opinion; and
  • not-for-profit organization that does not qualify as a business under Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) regulations.

Self-Employment can be delivered as a stand-alone agreement.

Self-Employment Organizational Agreement (OF-SEOA)

An OF-SEOA agreement funds an organization to provide technical and consultative expertise to OF-SE participants in assessing their business concepts, and in developing and implementing their business plans.

OF-Enhanced Employment Assistance Services (OF-EEAS)

OF-EEAS supports the provision of a mixture of activities (special services and interventions) tailored to meet the needs of persons with disabilities in order to facilitate their integration into employment. These services help individuals to prepare for, find, obtain and maintain new employment.

In recognition of the unique needs of persons with disabilities, OF-EEAS allows for maximum flexibility in providing holistic and individualized services.

Examples of Eligible OF-EEAS Activities

This is not an exhaustive list.

  • Labour market information and information on other employment-related resources.
  • Identification of barriers to employment for persons with disabilities, such as needs determination, vocational testing and diagnostic services.
  • Development of employment action plans, identifying interventions in the community that best meet clients’ employment needs.
  • Case management and post-case management follow-up of participants who have committed to an action plan.
  • Employment counselling services including: decision-making and learning strategies for individuals with barriers to employment, addressing issues during participation in interventions, and supporting employment maintenance once a participant has obtained a job.
  • Individual or group sessions to help clients improve their job search capabilities.
  • Assistance in determining appropriate skills training and training institutions.
  • Job placement services, including assistance to clients in choosing and applying for suitable job opportunities, preparing résumés and developing effective interview skills.
  • Employment preparation activities, such as pre-employment workshops;
  • Assistance in finding available paid work experience placements for persons with disabilities.
  • Provision of job coaches, advisors, technical experts and teaching assistants to assist with integration into the workforce.
  • Essential and and life skills training to help ensure clients can function effectively upon entering the workplace, including basic literacy, numeracy, computer and financial skills, time management, transportation skills as well as basic social and behavioural skills.

While assisting a client to apply for an OF intervention identified in the action plan, an OF-EEAS recipient may help the client determine their ability to cover the costs of participating as well as the financial assistance required to achieve the goals set out in the RTWAP.

Enhanced Employment Assistance Services cannot be the sole activity of an agreement and must be combined with a work experience intervention (either self-employment, work experience or wage subsidy) of an equal or longer duration.

Employer Awareness

Funding can be provided for employer awareness projects to raise the profile of persons with disabilities within the employer community and to highlight the capabilities and skills of workers with disabilities. This may include working with the employer community to address barriers and increase employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Examples of awareness activities

  • Marketing skills inventories of unemployed persons with disabilities to employers experiencing labour shortages.
  • Conducting a media campaign.
  • Producing a video of success stories on the integration of individuals with disabilities into the workplace.
  • Events profiling businesses with positive hiring practices for persons with disabilities (could include testimonials from persons with disabilities who have successfully integrated into employment).
  • Production and distribution of a brochure dispelling myths of hiring persons with disabilities, outlining accommodative strategies and providing success stories.

Employer Awareness can be delivered as a stand-alone agreement.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be provided to cover all or a portion of the costs associated with operating and delivering approved activities.

Costs may include:

  • employment costs including participant wages and related employer costs;
  • overhead costs related to planning, organizing, operating, delivering and evaluating approved activities, including costs such as wages and employment-related costs for staff, licenses, permits, fees for professional services, disbursements for research or technical studies, costs related to research subjects, specialized services, arrangements or equipment for persons with disabilities, bank interest, utilities, materials, supplies, travel, insurance, rental of premises, leasing or purchase of equipment, costs of audits, evaluations and assessments, and costs of the central administrative functions of the employer/coordinator's operations that are drawn upon to support agreement activities;
  • costs associated with the workers' compensation actual costs or assessment paid directly to the provincial/territorial workers' compensation authority on their behalf for participants or administrative staff;
  • all or a portion of the living expenses and tuition expenses of participants, and expenses related to providing specialized services, arrangements or equipment, dependent care, transportation and accommodation for participants;
  • where funding is further distributed to ultimate recipients to carry out eligible activities, reasonable and proper administration costs incurred by the CC in administering the distribution of the contribution and monitoring and coordinating the implementation of eligible activities being carried out by the ultimate recipients; and
  • participant costs such as: living expenses, disability supports, dependent care costs, transportation and accommodation costs, tuition costs, other instructional costs and other personal supports.

Capital costs for the construction of a building (other than repairs or renovations to support the participation of persons with disabilities) or the purchase of land or buildings are not eligible costs.

Additional information

Expected Results

Project outcomes should focus on the labour market participation of persons with disabilities and the level to which the program helped them achieve greater employability and obtain employment. Expected results for Opportunities Fund projects should include:

  • number of clients that have enhanced employability
  • number of clients served;
  • number of clients employed or self-employed; and,
  • number of clients who return to school.

"Employability" is defined as the level of training, skills, experience, aptitudes and/or abilities that permit the client to obtain and retain employment.


Footnote 1

Self Employment (OF-SE) is offered on a group basis through a Community Coordinator model or through a Self-Employment Organizational Agreement (OF-SEOA).

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Review Process

The criteria-based assessment process for evaluating proposals ensures that all project proposals are evaluated objectively against the Terms and Conditions of the program, client and community needs, availability of funds, and themes and priorities of the current year.

Proposals are assessed, recommended and approved based on the following criteria:

  • eligibility of the applicant;
  • experience in delivering this type of activity;
  • results achieved in delivering any previous projects under the Opportunities Fund;
  • quality of the proposal;
  • extent to which the project will assist participants in making a transition into the labour market;
  • extent to which the project will meet identified community and labour market needs;
  • means to measure the progress of the participants and the success of project activities;
  • adherence to local, regional and/or national priorities;
  • clarity of objectives, outcomes and scheduled time frames;
  • potential of project to address employability gaps;
  • involvement and commitment of partners;
  • demonstrated administrative procedures for the management of the project; and
  • demonstrated bookkeeping and financial controls.

Following the assessment and approval of proposals, applicants will be notified in writing of ESDC/Service Canada's 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.

Develop Your Application

The Application has four parts:

In order for an application to be considered complete, it must be accompanied by all required documents as specified by the Program to which your organization is applying.

However, there is flexibility in the Application for Funding for situations where the information requested may not apply to all organizations or may be best provided through some other means. You may leave a section blank only where the following terms are present:

  • “if applicable”;
  • “if different”.

If you need additional space to answer any of the questions, please use the space provided in Appendix A.

Please Note: All items marked with an asterisk (*) in the Application for Funding are mandatory unless otherwise specified.

Additional Documents Required:

Included below are additional document(s) that are required to be submitted with your Application for Funding. Please ensure that your submission package includes all of the following:

  • Budget Detail Template* (Appendix B)
  • Proof of insurance will be required.

How to fill out your Application for Funding

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. This could also be the name that appears on funding cheques.

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 AB 1234

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
  • Public

Question 5 – Organization Category

Please select the appropriate category from the following:


  • Aboriginal 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


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


  • 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 schools
  • 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 – 11 – Organization Address

Please indicate the address of your organization.

Only project activities that take place in Canada will be eligible for funding.

Questions 12 – 13 – Telephone and Fax

Please indicate the telephone and fax number of the organization.

Question 14 – E-Mail Address

Please indicate the e-mail address of the organization.

Questions 15 – 19 - Mailing Address

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

Questions 20 – 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 or coordinator, an executive director or someone else. Typically, the person responsible for the project is identified here.

Question 23 – Given Name

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.

  • EN indicates English
  • FR indicates 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- 31 – Contact Address

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

Questions 32- 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.

Section 1C – Organizational Capacity

ESDC’s 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 37Please 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 experience in delivering projects related to persons with disabilities funded by ESDC/SC and by other federal departments, municipal, provincial, or territorial governments (include department, responsible project officer, project name, date length, funding, proposed targets and outcomes); and
  • previous OF projects.

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

Question 39 – Is a payment plan in place?

Please indicate whether or not payment arrangements have been made.

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.

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.

Please note that 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.

The maximum duration of an OF agreement is 4 years

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

Please outline the objectives of your project.

Project objectives should (but are not limited to):

  • Be consistent with the funding program’s objectives;
  • Identify a specific outcome(s) that the project is designed to accomplish (e.g. increase knowledge or skills);
  • Ensure that these outcome(s) are measurable;
  • Identify who will benefit from the project; (eg. Official Language Minority Community); and
  • Show how meeting the project objectives will help to achieve the identified outcomes.

Project Objectives

Provide a clear and measurable description of:

  • project objectives, activities, goals and measurable milestones;
  • expected outcomes, including how project activities will benefit the community and assist participants in acquiring employability skills, finding employment, becoming self-employed, or returning to school;
  • targets for the number of participants completing the project and the number of participants achieving the results listed above; and
  • other positive outcomes related to proposed activities.

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.

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

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?

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.

Proposed activities are key components of the proposal and should be clearly defined.

This section should include information about the participants you plan to recruit.

Question 45 - Expected Results of the Project

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

Expected results may be defined in different ways, for example (but are not limited to):

  • number of participants expected to achieve the outcome as a proportion of those enrolled;
  • number of interventions;
  • number of job placements;
  • etc.

Expected results should be listed under the following Opportunities Fund key performance indicators:

  • the targeted number of participants to be served;
  • the targeted number of participants who will become employed;
  • the targeted number of participants who will return to school; and
  • the targeted number of participants who will have enhanced their employability *


This project will have 20 participants and of these 20 participants:

  • 17 will have found employment
  • 3 will have returned to school
  • 2 will neither be employed nor return to school
  • 20 will have enhanced their employability.

Other positive outcomes related to the proposed activities.

Section C – 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. 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 and after the project.

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?

Some Programs require applicants to secure the involvement of other organizations, networks, or partners. If relevant, 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.

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. );
  • proposed job descriptions outlining the roles and responsibilities of partners involved; 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.

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

Please indicate “Yes” or “No”. If “yes”, please select all that apply.

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?

Please Note: Applicants need to verify if their proposed activities are listed under the above Act – Please visit The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency 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 Contribution

ESDC’s funding programs generally encourage and/or require applicants to seek cash and/or in-kind contributions for their proposed project from other sources of funding. Each program has a “stacking limit”, that is, a maximum permitted amount of combined funding from federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments for any one project or initiative. Contributions to the project cannot exceed 100% of eligible expenditures.

ESDC uses the information provided in this section to verify that your funding request conforms to any stacking limit or requirement for funding from other sources.

“Other sources of funding” includes any source of funding (including from your organization) other than the program to which you are applying for funding.

Question 53 - Source Name

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

Question 54 - Source Type

Use the following list to identify the type of anticipated funding partner:

  • Crown Corporation
  • Federal Department or Agency
  • Foreign Governments
  • Not-for-Profit
  • Private Sector
  • Provincial/Territorial Government
  • Regional or Municipal Government
  • Sponsor/Organization/Recipient
  • Union
  • 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 non-monetary goods or services that may be contributed to the project by your organization or other organizations or partners for which your organization will not be requesting re-imbursement. In-kind support may include donated equipment, services or facilities necessary for the proposed project that would otherwise have to be purchased.

To be considered valid, in-kind contributions should contribute to the success of the project, and their monetary equivalent estimated at fair market value.

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.

When applicable, and if possible, written confirmation of partner involvement should be submitted prior to signing a contribution agreement.

Section 3B – Project Budget

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 find in Appendix B the Budget Detail Template* which must be included as part of the application.

Question 58 – Cost Categories

Please summarize 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.

No costs are eligible as a contingency option. Costs must be foreseeable to be negotiated in the original agreement and will otherwise require a negotiation and amendment of the contribution agreement.

Costing Options for OF

ESDC/SC has developed an approach whereby applicants to the following OF activities can choose one of two costing options.

  • OF-Self-Employment Organizational Agreement, and
  • OF-Community Coordinators.

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:

1. Departmental Flat Percentage Rate: a flat percentage rate that is offered by the department for Projects Costs (3C in the eligible costs listing) and, if applicable, Administrative Costs (1A). The rates offered by ESDC/SC to applicants are:

OF-Self-Employment Organizational Agreement
  • 9% for Project Costs (3C): (9% of Staff Wages (3A) plus Participant Costs (3B)); and
  • 12% for Administrative Costs (1A): (12% of (Staff Wages (3A) plus Participant Costs(3B) plus Project Costs (3C)); or
OF-Community Coordinators
  • 5% for Project Costs (3C): (5% of Staff Wages (3A) plus Participant Costs (3B)); and
  • 5% for Administrative Costs (1A): (5% of (Staff Wages (3A) plus Participant Costs (3B) plus Project Costs(3C))); or

2. 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.

The departmental flat rates cannot be applied for OF agreements that include the following activities:

  • OF-Skills For Employment
  • OF-Wage Subsidies
  • OF-Work Experience
  • OF-Self-Employment
Cost Categories

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.

1. Administrative Costs

a) Administrative Costs

Means costs related to:

  • Audit fees;
  • 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), Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Quebec Pension Plan (QPP), Quebec Parental Insurance Program (QPIP), 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);
  • Postage and courier fees;
  • Professional development for management and administrative staff - amount to cover basic training needs as per organization’s existing policies and employment related requirements; 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).

Note: if using a flat rate option, include the total amount calculated for Type 1A costs. In that case, details by cost item are not required.

2. Capital Costs

a) Capital Assets

Any asset/expenditure requiring agreement of disposition, with a purchase cost exceeding $1,000. For example:

  • computer;
  • furniture; and
  • software.

All capital purchases require prior written approval from ESDC/SC and must include a plan for disposal upon completion of the project. Also, it is a sound business practice to obtain more than one quote when purchasing capital assets.

3. Direct Costs

a) Staff Wages

Means wages, MERCs and benefits paid to or on behalf of staff working directly on the project. MERCs mean Mandatory Employment Related Costs and include EI Premiums, CPP / QPP 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

Means participant wages and Mandatory Employment-Related Costs (MERCs); other employment-related benefit costs (Workers Compensation Board, medical care, dental, pension, etc.) 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

In the context of the flat rate, cost items do not need to be detailed or negotiated. However, for audit purposes, it is important to keep in mind that this category means:

  • 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);
  • Signage;
  • Significant project costs associated with the following types of expenditures (i.e. 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 (courses required by staff, which are not part of the routine development courses required by the organization’s policies);
    • Telephone (installation and extraordinary costs related to telephones and/or fax lines required over and above regular operating requirements);
  • Costs related to transition/wind-down (severance pay, other Human Resources related costs, penalties for breaking leases, etc.);
  • Staff disability supports (duty to accommodate);
  • Staff training for disability-related issues (e.g. sign language training);
  • Utilities; and
  • Support to individuals.

d) Rent

Means rent, lease (including applicant owned premises), repairs and leasehold improvements.

Note: For each space rented detail the cost per square footage, monthly and for the length of the project in the Detailed Budget Description column. Detail all costs related to the rental (e.g. security, secretariat, parking, etc.) in that column as well. The rent must be in line with fair market value.

e) Travel

Means staff, consultant and volunteer travel (costs may include transportation costs, taxi, kilometric charges, per diems, accommodation, etc.) as per staff/volunteer travel claims; international travel where warranted.

Ineligible Costs:

  • costs associated with fundraising activities;
  • CRA 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 (other than minor repairs or renovations) 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; and
  • other costs ineligible as per program terms and conditions.

Costs can be based on historical data but they must also reflect current rates of similar costs in the geographical location of the project. Depending upon your organization's taxable status, you may be entitled to receive a portion of the GST paid on goods and services reimbursed by the CRA. As such, it is important to declare your organization's GST reimbursement rate to ESDC/SC on the submission of your application for funding so that ESDC/SC does not reimburse a second time for the same cost. In your proposal, the budgeted amount of a cost item should include only the GST portion eligible to be claimed.

Contracting and Subcontracting

Please clearly identify in your application any use of contribution funds that may result in a contract or subcontract of $25,000 or over. Contribution recipients must receive approval, in writing, from ESDC/SC for all such contracts and receive approval in writing for the subcontracting of any part of the project activities. All contracts and subcontracts of $25,000 and over must involve a competitive process including at least three bids, otherwise, a justification for sole-sourcing must be provided in writing to ESDC and approved by the appropriate ESDC/SC official. Please note that contracting and subcontracting with non arms-length organizations is not permitted.

For all cost categories where travel costs are requested, applicants must indicate, in the Detailed Budget Description column, who in the project will require travel, the reason, the destination, the period, the transportation method (including tokens or commute transportation passes), the meals and the accommodation, if applicable. An approximation of the mileage required must be included, if applicable. Travel rates cannot exceed Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) rates.

Other Participant Costs

Financial assistance may be provided to individuals through the recipient to cover all or a portion of living expenses. Assistance may also be provided to cover all or part of the incremental costs related to participation such as living expenses, disability-related supports and incremental costs, dependent care costs, transportation and accommodation costs. Provide a description of the type of assistance required and how many individuals it will benefit. Indicate how it is related to the individual's participant in the project.

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

Any detail or additional information regarding the proposed budget that does not fit on the Budget Detail Template* (Appendix B) can be included in Question 64.

Question 59 – 61 – ESDC/Other - Cash/ Other - In-kind

Please provide the total planned expenditures.

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.

Question 63 - Capital Assets: Are capital assets among your planned expenditures with ESDC funding? Please indicate Yes or No.

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).

Capital Costs

Any asset with a purchase cost exceeding $1,000 (before taxes) requires prior written approval from ESDC, and must include a plan for disposal upon completion of the project. Also, it is an excellent and sound business practice to obtain more than one quote when purchasing capital assets.

Question 64 – Further Budget Details

Part 4 - Declaration

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; and specify the question or section meant to be continued.

Appendix – B

Next Step


It is recommended that you submit your application well ahead of the projected start date. If you require information or clarification that is not provided in the Applicant Guide, please contact 1-800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232) (TTY: 1-800-926-9105).

For every section in the Application for Funding, the guide shows the type of details Opportunities Fund requires for your organization to complete an application.

The Government of Canada is under no obligation to approve any application for funding. In the event that your application is approved, you project may be randomly selected for review and/or audit.

Mailing Applications

Employers and organizations may submit their completed applications in-person or by mail. Please consult the listing below to find out where to submit an application in your area.

Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan

Applications can be mailed to your local Service Canada Centre.

New Brunswick
Fredericton Service Canada Centre
633 Queen Street
PO Box 12000
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5G4
Newfoundland and Labrador

For Eastern Newfoundland

St. John's Service Canada Centre
P.O. Box 8548
223 Churchill Ave, Pleasantville
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador A1B 3P3

For Western Newfoundland and Labrador

Stephenville Service Canada Centre
133 Carolina Avenue
Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador A2N 3B5
Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon
Applications can be mailed to your local Service Canada Centre.
Nova Scotia
Halifax Service Canada Centre
Program Delivery Unit
PO Box 1800
7001 Mumford Road
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3V1
Service Canada
409 Weber Street, West
Kitchener, Ontario N2G 4L6
Prince Edward Island
Service Canada
85 Fitzroy Street
PO Box 8000
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island C1A 8K1

Applications can be mailed to the following address:

Service Canada
1001 Maisonneuve Boulevard East, 4th Floor
Montréal, Québec H2L 5A1

Applications can also be submitted in-person to your local Service Canada Centre.

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 on 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


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. If a Call for Proposals is underway, the application details will be available on the Funding Programs Web page.

Please note, that decisions are final and applicants have no right to appeal.