Book 2: Programs and service overview - Social development

Official title: ESDC Programs and service delivery overview - Social development

On this page

  1. Poverty Reduction Strategy
  2. Early Learning and Child Care
  3. Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Transformation Initiative
  4. Social Development Partnerships Program – Children and families
  5. Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy
  6. Investment Readiness Program
  7. Social Finance Fund
  8. Canadian Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime
  9. Canada Child Benefit
  10. Canada Workers Benefit
  11. Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy
  12. Sustainable Development Goals (2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development)
  13. Canada Volunteer Awards

1. Poverty Reduction Strategy


The Poverty Reduction Strategy was released on August 21, 2018.

The Strategy sets two poverty reduction targets for Canada: a 20% reduction in poverty by 2020 and a 50% reduction in poverty by 2030, relative to 2015 levels. Based on Statistics Canada’s 2017 Canadian Income Survey data, released on February 26, 2019, Canada has reached its 2020 target to reduce poverty by 20% compared to 2015 levels, three years ahead of schedule. This represents about 825,000 fewer individuals living in poverty in 2017 relative to 2015.

The Strategy also sets an official measure of poverty: Canada's Official Poverty Line, based on the cost of a basket of goods and services that individuals and families require to meet their basic needs and achieve a modest standard of living in communities across the country. The Strategy also includes a National Advisory Council on Poverty with a mandate to provide independent advice to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development on poverty reduction. The Council’s mandate also includes reporting annually on the progress achieved toward the poverty reduction targets, continuing a dialogue with Canadians on poverty and undertaking any activity specified by the Minister.

The Poverty Reduction Act, which received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019, entrenches Canada’s Official Poverty Line, the poverty reduction targets and the National Advisory Council on Poverty into law.

Policy lead: Strategic and Service Policy Branch

List of key stakeholders

ESDC works in partnership with Statistics Canada on the periodic reviews of Canada’s Official Poverty Line to ensure it continues to reflect what Canadians need to meet their basic needs and achieve a modest standard of living.

There are many poverty stakeholder groups across Canada including the Tamarack Institute, Canada Without Poverty, Campaign 2000 and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

2. Early Learning and Child Care


The Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Program aims to increase the quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and inclusivity of early learning and child care, with consideration for families that need child care the most. This includes lower income families, Indigenous families, lone-parent families, families in underserved communities, those working non-standard hours and/or families with children with varying abilities. The Multilateral ELCC Framework, announced in June 2017, sets the foundation for governments to work towards a shared long-term vision and shared principles. The ELCC Program has three streams: (1) transfers to provinces and territories; (2) ELCC data; and (3) ELCC Innovation.

Budgets 2016 and 2017 announced investments of $7.5 billion over 11 years, starting in 2017 to 2018, to support and create more high-quality, affordable child care across the country, particularly for families in need. This includes $100 million for early learning and child care innovation, which supports new and innovative practices across the country and helps to develop more effective services to improve life outcomes for children and their families. It also includes $95 million to close data gaps in order to better understand what child care looks like in Canada, and supporting strong reporting on progress made in implementing the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework and the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework.

ELCC P/T transfers: As part of the $7.5 billion in federal funding, the Government of Canada entered into three-year bilateral agreements with each province and territory (P/T), providing $1.2 billion over three years (2017 to 2018 and 2019 to 2020) for ELCC programs. These investments support the creation of affordable, high-quality child care spaces for low- and modest-income families, with the goal of supporting up to 40,000 more affordable child care spaces over the three years, which is anticipated to make it more affordable for thousands of parents, particularly for mothers, to enter the labour market and return to work. P/Ts are currently on track to achieve the target of 40,000 more affordable child care spaces by March 2020 with more than a third of the goal accomplished within the first year of the agreement.

ELCC Innovation: In June 2018, ESDC launched a call for concepts (CFC) to find new and innovative ways to improve early learning and child care service delivery. The CFC indicated that priority be given to projects that specifically targeted Indigenous families, families from official language minority communities, lower income families, newcomer families and families with children with varying abilities. Not-for-profit organizations, provincial/territorial entities and Indigenous organizations whose mandate focused on ELCC, or that had partners whose mandate focused on ELCC, were encouraged to apply. Through this CFC, the most promising concepts were selected, and successful organizations were invited to develop a full project proposal. ESDC received over 300 applications. Twenty-three projects are beginning implementation.

ELCC Data: Work is underway with stakeholders, experts and academics, provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous partners and other federal departments to inform the development of a data and research strategy. To advance that process, a series of in-person consultations have taken place over the last year including a stakeholder workshop, a national data and research conference and an expert roundtable. On June 4, 2019, an Expert Panel on Early Learning and Child Care Data and Research was announced to provide advice and recommendations on the data and research strategy. In addition, ESDC signed Letters of Agreement in 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020 with Statistics Canada on numerous supporting projects to address early learning and child care data gaps in the areas of data development and collection, research and analysis and dissemination.

Official languages: In parallel, as part of the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018 to 2023, ESDC is responsible for the implementation of initiatives that will support early childhood development in Francophone minority communities in collaboration with stakeholders, including training and capacity building for early childhood educators. Specifically, $20 million is dedicated to initiatives that support early childhood development in Francophone minority communities. This funding has two objectives: (1) to support professional learning opportunities and training for early childhood educators ($13.15 million managed by SPD); and (2) to support entrepreneurs in opening more Francophone daycares and child care services ($6.85 million managed by Skills and Employment Branch). In June 2019, a multi-year partnership representing $12.1 million between Employment and Social Development Canada and the Association des collèges et universités de la Francophonie (ACUFC) was created to support training for early childhood educators and to strengthen their capacity in French-speaking minority communities.

Policy lead: Strategic and Service Policy Branch

List of key stakeholders

The ELCC Program has an extensive group of stakeholders that varies depending on the program stream (P/T transfers, Data and Innovation). The most common stakeholders for the ELCC Program include: (1) provinces and territories; (2) universities and academics; (3) experts in early learning and child care; (4) other government departments, including Statistics Canada; (5) not-for-profit organizations; (6) international organizations; (7) service providers; and (8) parents.

3. Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Transformation Initiative


The Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Transformation Initiative (the Initiative) supports the implementation of the co-developed Indigenous ELCC Framework which was jointly released in 2018 by the Government of Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis National Council. The Framework recognizes the unique cultures and priorities of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, and is aimed at strengthening ELCC programs and services for Indigenous children and families across Canada. The Framework is a guide for everyone in the ELCC sphere, including communities, governments and service providers.

The objectives of the Indigenous ELCC Initiative are to:

  • enable Indigenous control in early learning and child care
  • improve access to and quality of Indigenous early learning and child care, regardless of where they live and
  • support the creation of a cohesive, integrated and comprehensive early learning and child care system in Canada

To support the Framework, the Government is investing in First Nations, Inuit and Métis specific ELCC services, partnerships and governance. This investment is in addition to the following existing Indigenous ELCC programs, which will continue and have been modified to improve flexibility to support the range of activities identified through engagement with Indigenous partners:

  • Aboriginal Head Start On Reserve (AHSOR), administered by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC)
  • Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities (AHSUNC), administered by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)
  • The First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative (FNICCI), administered by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)

The Indigenous ELCC Initiative is a horizontal initiative that enables coordination of federal investments to advance the goals and priorities set out in the distinction-based components of the Framework. Components of the Initiative include the following:

  • establishment of an Indigenous ELCC Secretariat at ESDC as the federal focal point for Indigenous ELCC
  • supporting Indigenous-led approaches under a new partnership model
  • creation of a new Indigenous ELCC Program, along with new horizontal terms and conditions which provide broad flexible spending
  • modification of the three existing federal Indigenous ELCC programs to improve flexibility
  • negotiation of transfer of responsibility for Indigenous ELCC to regional Indigenous authorities, at a pace of their choosing

Early results (2018 to 2019) include the establishment of interim national partnership tables, the development of regional and community allocations supported by Indigenous leadership, the development of regional plans that identified short and medium term priorities and nearly $100 million in new money reaching First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.

The Initiative is complementary to provincial and territorial investments made under the Multilateral ELCC Framework and creates opportunities for Indigenous communities to partner with provinces and territories where desired.

Policy lead: Strategic and Service Policy Branch

Service delivered by: Program Operations Branch, ISC, PHAC

List of key stakeholders

National and Regional Partnership Tables led by Indigenous leadership and the Government of Canada.

Partners across the ELCC sphere such as: academics and experts, provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous Organizations, other federal departments (PHAC, ISC, CIRNAC) service providers and funding recipients.

4. Social Development Partnerships Program – Children and Families


The Social Development Partnerships Program – Children and Families (SDPP-C&F) is a grants and contributions program with an ongoing funding budget of $9.15 million per year that addresses complex social issues and helps improve life outcomes for children and families and other vulnerable populations in Canada.

The SDPP-C&F makes strategic investments in not-for-profit (NFP) organizations to address the social needs and aspirations of children and families. The program promotes innovative approaches to achieve its goals. For example, funding recipients are encouraged to find new partners across the private and public sectors to complement federal money in order to maximize the impact of interventions. A number of initiatives have used an intermediary funding model that allows local communities greater say in how funding dollars are directed to achieve social objectives. Funding is focused on fostering social inclusion of vulnerable populations and strengthening the capacity and the sustainability of the NFP sector.

Examples of recent and current interventions funded under the Children and Families component of the SDPP include: funding non-profit organizations to develop and disseminate information, tools and resources to increase the financial literacy and wellness of persons living in poverty with a special focus on Indigenous people; funding the University of Toronto to deliver the Black Student University Access Network project in four project sites (Calgary, Toronto, Halifax and Montréal) to develop and implement innovative and culturally relevant guidance counselling services, mentorship and online training for educators to meet the needs of Black students; and funding organizations to support social enterprises to develop business skills, access financing and network in order to better address their social and environmental goals.

The SDPP-C&F also supports Canada’s Volunteer Awards, as well as official language minority communities under the Social Partnership Initiative of the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018 to 2023: Investing in Our Future.

Starting in 2019 to 2020, in recognition of the United Nations International Decade for Persons of African Descent, the program’s allocated budget includes $25 million over five years for projects and capital assistance for the Supporting Black Canadian Communities initiative.

The SDPP-C&F is established under the authority of the Department of Employment and Social Development Act and is administered by Employment and Social Development Canada.

Policy lead: Income Security and Social Development Branch

Service delivered by: Program Operations Branch

List of key stakeholders

The stakeholders are not-for-profit organizations, provincial/territorial entities and Indigenous organizations from various sectors working on social issues related to the Program’s vulnerable populations.

5. Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy


Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has been experimenting and piloting various social innovation and social finance ideas since 2010, focusing on addressing unmet needs and exploring new types of approaches (for example, social impact bonds, micro-grants, pay-for-performance and support for social enterprises).

While Canada is a relatively prosperous country, our communities still face persistent and complex social problems that affect some groups more than others, such as Indigenous people, seniors, youth, immigrants and women fleeing violence. In 2015, ESDC started work on a federal Social Innovation and Social Finance (SI/SF) Strategy in order to better enable and support communities and social purpose organizations to tackle complex problems.

Social innovation refers to a response to a social or environmental problem (whether a program, service or way of structuring an organization) which, once adopted, results in better outcomes than existing approaches. Innovations, including impact investing, housing first or the use of new technologies, such as data analytics, are all examples of social innovation. Social finance refers to the practice of making investments intended to create a measurable social or environmental impact as well as to generate financial returns.

Investments in social enterprises support social innovation alongside having an economic impact by creating jobs, reducing barriers to employment and enabling social inclusion. A social enterprise is a revenue-generating, innovative business model, whether not-for-profit or for-profit, that pursues a social, cultural or environmental impact through the sale of goods and services and/or employment of priority populations, with the majority of net profits directed back to the organization’s mission.

From June 2017 to June 2018, a Co-Creation Steering Group composed of 16 external stakeholders and one government official, appointed through an open call for nominations, was mandated to provide recommendations on the creation of an SI/SF Strategy for Canada. Following a year-long engagement process, the Steering Group report, Inclusive Innovation: New Ideas and New Partnerships for Stronger Communities, including 12 recommendations, was published in August 2018.

In response to the recommendations, a $755 million Social Finance Fund will launch in 2020 to 2021 to help charitable, non-profit and other social purpose organizations access new financing, and to help connect them with private investors looking to invest in projects that will drive positive social change. The Department plans to launch a public call for proposals to identify a Fund Manager(s) early in 2020. Additionally, $50 million was allocated over two years in an Investment Readiness Program for social purpose organizations to improve their ability to successfully participate in the social finance market.

In June 2019, a Call for Nominations was launched for a Social Innovation Advisory Council. The Council will provide strategic advice and subject matter expertise to support the implementation of the SI/SF Strategy and growth of social purpose organizations. Departmental officials will review applications and prepare recommendations, to be shared with the Minister, in November 2019.

The SI/SF Strategy supports departmental initiatives such as achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, poverty reduction and ending homelessness. Additionally, the Strategy intersects with work underway in other departments, including dialogue between the Government of Canada and the charitable sector on important and emerging issues facing charities (guided by the Canada Revenue Agency and with the input of the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector) and modernization of procurement practices, including the development of social procurement strategies. The Report of the Senate Special Committee on the Charitable Sector, released on June 20, 2019, includes recommendations to build capacity for social innovation in Canada.

Policy lead: Income Security and Social Development Branch

Service delivered by: Income Security and Social Development Branch

6. Investment Readiness Program


The Investment Readiness Program (IRP) is a two-year, $50 million pilot program beginning in 2019 to 2020 designed to help advance Social Innovation and Social Finance (SI/SF) in Canada by helping to catalyze community-led solutions to persistent social and environmental challenges.

The IRP is a foundational element of Canada’s SI/SF Strategy. The program will provide time-limited investments to support a broad range of social purpose organizations (SPOs) (for example, non-profits, charities, co-operatives, social enterprises and mission-focused for-profits) in improving their capacity and ability to participate in the social finance market, access new investment and contract opportunities, and will support them throughout the innovation cycle. The program will provide a learning opportunity to inform future direction on how best to support and mobilize the social finance sector. The goal of the program is to increase the investment readiness of SPOs in preparation for the Social Finance Fund. The initiative will be delivered through three types of partner organizations:

  • Readiness support partners will help administer a large part of the IRP on behalf of the Government. These organizations will establish open and transparent processes to fund and support a broad range of SPOs across Canada so they can access tailored expertise to become better positioned to take advantage of financing opportunities that will become available through the Social Finance Fund, as well as other investment opportunities.
  • Expert service providers: Some funding will be used to strengthen programs offered by existing expert service providers with the specialized knowledge and services required to help SPOs build their investment readiness.
  • Ecosystem mobilization initiatives: Funding will also be provided to support organizations that can help address system-level gaps in key areas such as social research and development, knowledge mobilization, impact measurement, building the readiness of social finance intermediaries and for-profit engagement.

Policy lead: Income Security and Development Branch

Service delivered by: Program Operations Branch

List of key stakeholders

Readiness support partners

  • Community Foundations of Canada
  • Chantier de l’économie sociale
  • Canadian Women’s Foundation
  • National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association
  • National Aboriginal Friendship Centres

Expert service providers

  • LIFT Philanthropy Partners
  • McConnell Innoweave
  • Social Enterprise Ecosystem Project (S4ES)
  • Social Venture Connexion (SVX)
  • Raven Indigenous Capital Partners

Ecosystem mobilization initiatives

  • Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet)
  • McConnell Foundation
  • Carleton Centre for Community Innovation (3ci)
  • New Market Funds
  • The Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR)
  • Imagine Canada
  • Startup Canada
  • Sauder Social Innovation Academy (UBC)
  • Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
  • Cooperatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC)
  • Social Enterprise to Social Inclusion (SETSI)

7. Social Finance Fund


To encourage innovative approaches to persistent and complex social challenges, the Government of Canada plans to create a Social Finance Fund. Social finance refers to the practice of making investments intended to create a social or environmental impact alongside financial returns.

The $755 million Social Finance Fund, expected to launch in 2020 to 2021, will make it easier for charities, non-profit organizations, co-operatives and mission-driven for-profit companies to obtain a loan to expand a social enterprise, for example, or to secure finance to develop affordable housing. It will seek to strengthen the ability of these organizations to achieve their social and environmental goals and will connect them with non-government investors seeking to support projects that will drive positive social change.

The proposed Social Finance Fund will work through a wholesale model. Investment managers selected through an open call will place the Social Finance Fund’s money into non-profit loan funds, venture capital funds, affordable housing funds and other types of social finance intermediaries. Those intermediaries will invest in organizations that hold a social or environmental mission. The intermediaries will collect data on financial performance and on social or environmental performance. At the end of the program, the investment managers would pay back the Government of Canada.

The Social Finance Fund would seek to increase the amount private investors—such as charitable foundations, commercial banks and pension funds—invest in organizations that hold a social or environmental mission. It would seek to encourage conditions such that, when the Social Finance Fund ends, private investors continue to invest in socially and environmentally driven organizations.

At least $100 million of the Social Finance Fund would flow to projects that advance gender equality. Fifty million dollars of the Social Finance Fund will capitalize the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association’s Indigenous Growth Fund.

Policy lead: Income Security and Social Development Branch

Service delivered by: Program Operations Branch

List of key stakeholders

  • Social finance intermediaries (such as New Market Funds, le Reseau d’investissement social du Québec, la Fiducie du Chantier de l’économie sociale, Renewal Funds and the Jubilee Fund)
  • Financial institutions (such as Desjardins and Vancity)
  • Organizations with a social or environmental mission (represented by umbrella entities such as Imagine Canada, Startup Canada, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada and the Social Enterprise Council of Canada)
  • Investors (such as le Fonds de solidarité FTQ, the Winnipeg Foundation, the McConnell Foundation, the Hamilton Community Foundation and the Chagnon Foundation)

8. Canadian Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime


The Canadian Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime (PYVC) provides income support to eligible parents who suffer a loss of income as they take time away from work to cope with the death or disappearance of their child, or children, as a result of a probable Criminal Code offence that occurred in Canada. Up to $10 million in program benefits are available annually.

Eligible parents receive payments of $450 per week, paid bi-weekly, for a period of up to 35 weeks during the income support period of two years following the date of the incident. The benefit may be shared between eligible parents for the same incident and may not be combined with Employment Insurance or Quebec Parental Insurance Program benefits. The incident must have occurred in Canada. To be eligible, parents must have recent labour force attachment having earned at least $6,500 in the previous 52 weeks or calendar year and be on leave from work or working up to 50 percent of their regular work week (up to a maximum of 20 hours/week).

The PYVC program is a discretionary program. It is authorized by section 7 of the Department of Employment and Social Development Act, which authorizes the Minister to establish and implement programs designed to contribute to the social development of Canada and make grants and contributions in support of these programs.

Policy lead: Skills and Employment Branch

Service delivered by: Benefits Delivery Services

List of key stakeholders

Key government stakeholders include Justice Canada, law enforcement agencies at all levels of government, victims’ support organizations including the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, Enfant-Retour Québec, the Crime Victims Assistance Centre, MADD Canada and other missing children networks. Service Canada maintains a list of victim service providers who receive electronic communications regularly in order to facilitate the application process for parents who may be eligible.

Outreach and stakeholder engagement activities are ongoing through victim service providers to ensure that families who find themselves in tragic circumstances are aware of this income support and provide greater accessibility to the benefit. Victim service providers can also facilitate the application process for those who may be eligible.

9. Canada Child Benefit


The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age. The CCB may include an additional amount for the child disability benefit.

The CCB program is statutory. The Income Tax Act enacts the CCB, defines its eligibility requirements and provides the legislative authority for the Canada Revenue Agency to administer the CCB. Eligible individuals receive the CCB on behalf of children. To be eligible, an individual must:

  • live with the child, and the child must be under 18 years of age
  • be primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child
  • be a resident of Canada for tax purposes

In addition, the individual or his or her spouse or common-law partner must be any of the following:

  • a Canadian citizen
  • a permanent resident
  • a protected person
  • a temporary resident who has lived in Canada for 18 consecutive months and has a valid permit in the 19th month
  • an Indian within the meaning of the Indian Act

In the 2017 to 2018 benefit year, the CCB provided $23.7 billion to almost 3.7 million families and 6.5 million children.

For the 2019 to 2020 benefit year, the program will provide a maximum annual benefit of up to $6,639 per child under the age of 6 and up to $5,602 per child for those aged 6 through 17. Families with less than $31,120 in adjusted family net income (AFNI) receive the maximum CCB amount.

The CCB is reduced at different rates based on the number of children in the family and the family’s AFNI.

For families with an AFNI between $31,120 and $67,426, the CCB is reduced by:

  • 7% for families with one eligible child
  • 13.5% for families with two eligible children
  • 19% for families with three eligible children
  • 23% for families with four or more eligible children

For families with an AFNI above $67,426, the remaining CCB (after being reduced at the rates stated above) is reduced by an additional:

  • 3.2% for families with one eligible child
  • 5.7% for families with two eligible children
  • 8.0% for families with three eligible children
  • 9.5% for families with four or more eligible children

A recent investment of $17.3 million over three years, starting in 2018 to 2019, was made to improve access to the CCB and other benefits, expand outreach efforts to Indigenous communities and conduct pilot outreach activities for urban Indigenous communities.

The child disability benefit is an additional monthly benefit included in the CCB to provide financial assistance to qualified families caring for children who have a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions. The child disability benefit provides up to $2,832 per year for each child under 18 years of age eligible for the disability tax credit.

Policy lead: Department of Finance

Service delivered by: Canada Revenue Agency

Communication lead: Employment and Social Development Canada

List of key stakeholders

  • Provincial/territorial governments: All have agreed not to reduce other benefits to ensure that the full amount of the increase in the assistance provided by the CCB is passed along to families.

10. Canada Workers Benefit


The Canada Workers Benefit (CWB)—formerly the Working Income Tax Benefit—is a refundable tax credit that supplements the earnings of eligible low-income workers. By letting low-income workers take home more money while they work, the CWB encourages more people to join and remain in the workforce, and currently offers real help to Canadians who are working hard to join the middle class. The CWB is legislated under the Income Tax Act.

Starting in the 2019 tax year, the CWB for single individuals without children (unattached workers) and families (couples or single parents) will be enhanced. The basic benefit rate will be 26% of earned income over $3,000 compared to 25% in 2018, for both unattached workers and families. In addition:

For unattached workers:

  • the maximum benefit could increase to up to $1,355, an increase from $1,192 in 2018
  • the maximum amount will be reduced by 12% of adjusted net income over $12,820, relative to a reduction rate of 15% over $12,016 in 2018

For couples or single parents:

  • the maximum benefit could increase to up to $2,335, an increase from $2,165 in 2018
  • the maximum amount will be reduced by 12% of adjusted net income over $17,025, relative to a reduction rate of 15% over $16,593 in 2018

The maximum benefit provided through the CWB disability supplement will also be increased by an additional $160, starting in the 2019 tax year, to offer greater support to Canadians with disabilities who face financial barriers to entering the workforce.

The maximum benefits will be indexed to inflation after the 2019 taxation year.

To be eligible to receive the CWB, an individual must be:

  • a resident of Canada for income tax purposes throughout the year
  • 19 years of age or older by the end of the tax year (i.e. December 31)
  • under the age of 19 in the event that this person has a spouse or common-law partner, or an eligible dependent

An individual is not eligible for the CWB if they are:

  • a full-time student at the designate college or university for more than 13 weeks in the year (and do not have an eligible dependent)
  • in prison for 90 days or more during the year
  • not required to pay tax in Canada (for example, servant of another country)

To improve access to the CWB, starting with the 2019 taxation year, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is automatically determining whether these tax filers are eligible for the benefit even if they do not claim it.

CWB eligible recipients currently have the option to apply for and receive up to four advance payments of up to a maximum of 50% of the benefit, including the disability supplement if applicable, that they expect to claim on their next income tax return.

The CRA was provided with $4 million over two years, starting in 2019 to 2020, to conduct targeted outreach to give low-income workers improved access to the CWB throughout the year and increase awareness of the CWB, including the advance payment provision. This new funding will also be used to allow low-income workers to apply online for advance payment of the CWB through the CRA’s My Account portal.

It is expected that more than 2 million working Canadians will benefit from the strengthened and enhanced CWB for the tax year 2019, up from 1.47 million recipients in 2016. Enhancements to the CWB in 2019 are estimated to lift approximately 74,000 persons out of poverty.

As was the case with the Working Income Tax Benefit, provinces and territories are offered the opportunity to reconfigure the CWB to align with their respective social agendas.

Policy lead: Department of Finance Canada

Service delivered by: Canada Revenue Agency

Communication lead: Employment and Social Development Canada

List of key stakeholders

  • Provincial/territorial governments

11. Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy


Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy is a community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness. Recognizing that homelessness is a shared responsibility and that the Government of Canada is not the primary funder of homelessness programming in many communities, Reaching Home mobilizes partners at the federal, provincial/territorial, municipal and community levels and with diverse stakeholders to tackle homelessness. Reaching Home supports the goals of the National Housing Strategy, in particular its goal to reduce chronic homelessness by 50% by 2027 to 2028. Reaching Home provides the majority of its funding to communities to support the delivery of projects. The Designated Communities stream provides long-term stable funding to 58 urban communities. (A process has been launched to add up to six additional communities to the stream. A decision on new communities is expected in winter 2020.) The Rural and Remote Homelessness stream provides project-based funding outside of designated communities. The Territorial Homelessness stream provides funding to support communities in the territories to address their unique homelessness challenges.

In recognition of the significant over-representation of Indigenous people among the homeless population, Reaching Home includes an Indigenous Homelessness stream. The stream provides funding to support projects, delivered primarily by Indigenous organizations, to address the specific needs of the Indigenous people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, though Indigenous people can also access services under all Reaching Home streams. Reaching Home also has introduced new dedicated investments to support Indigenous homelessness to better respond to the unique needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Work is underway in collaboration with National Indigenous Organizations, Indigenous homelessness service providers and other Indigenous partners to determine how this funding will be administered.

For program streams outside of Quebec, regional funds are provided to a single local organization called a Community Entity, which is responsible for further distributing and managing the funds within a community. Community Advisory Boards, which are encouraged to have diverse representation (for example, persons with lived experience of homelessness), help guide these investments and foster local collaboration. Within Quebec, Reaching Home is administered through a formal Canada-Quebec agreement that respects the jurisdiction and priorities of both governments in addressing homelessness.

Designated communities are required to implement an outcomes-based approach in which they work to achieve community-level outcomes, including a reduction in chronic homelessness. Designated communities also have until 2021 to 2022 to introduce a process known as “coordinated access” that will enable communities to prioritize people who are most in need of assistance and match them to appropriate housing and services.

Reaching Home assists communities in establishing robust data systems to implement coordinated access and to measure their progress in reducing homelessness. For example, the Community Capacity and Innovation stream provides financial support to communities and supports the delivery of training and technical assistance. The program also provides—free-of-charge to communities—access to the Homelessness Individuals and Families Information System, a comprehensive data collection and case management system designed to support the daily operations of service providers and enable data sharing necessary for coordinated access and reporting on community-level outcomes.

Key program statistics

In 2017 to 2018, the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (the previous program cycle) supported 507 projects, which contributed to:

  • 14,731 people being placed in more stable housing
  • 11,461 people having received a Housing Loss Prevention intervention, of which 89% remained housed three months after receiving the intervention

Policy lead: Income Security and Social Development Branch

Service delivered by: Program Operations Branch

List of key stakeholders

Key stakeholder groups include: (1) homeless-serving organizations and national stakeholders such as the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness; (2) National Indigenous Organizations, Indigenous governments and service providers working to address homelessness; (3) provincial, territorial and municipalities departments responsible for addressing homelessness; and (4) other federal agencies and departments such as the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Veterans Affairs Canada.

12. Sustainable Development Goals (2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development)


Adopted by Canada and all 193 United Nations Member States in September 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a 15-year global framework centered on an ambitious set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for addressing shared social, economic and environmental challenges, both at home and abroad (attached as Annex A). While the 2030 Agenda provides a blueprint for advancing sustainable development, varying national contexts require countries to establish their own approaches to implementation to reflect their own priorities and realities. The 2030 Agenda is a shared responsibility that requires the collective efforts of all levels of government, business, academia, civil society and individuals.

To support Canada’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda, Budget 2018 allocated $49.4 million over 13 years beginning in 2018 to 2019, to establish an SDG Unit and fund monitoring and reporting activities by Statistics Canada to allow Canada to effectively measure its progress. Budget 2018 also provided $59.8 million from existing departmental resources to establish an SDG Grants and Contributions Funding Program to support stakeholders that are advancing the 2030 Agenda.

Employment and Social Development Canada houses the SDG Unit and leads the coordination of Canada’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda, in close collaboration with all federal departments and agencies that are accountable for advancing and reporting on the SDGs under their responsibility. This work includes the responsibility of developing a 2030 Agenda national strategy through engagement with provinces and territories, municipalities, Indigenous peoples and other stakeholders.

In June 2019, Employment and Social Development Canada released Towards Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy, an interim document informed by a nationwide consultation. This interim document is a first step towards developing a national strategy. It reflects a whole-of-Canada approach for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and is intended to serve as the foundation for further engagement. It proposes the structures, processes and activities that need to be in place to move the 2030 Agenda forward in a coordinated, transparent and accountable manner, and highlights the various actors involved and the partnerships, innovation and investment required to achieve the SDGs.

The interim document proposes 30 federal actions such as supporting a national SDG Forum to allow for greater stakeholder collaboration, establishing an external advisory committee to help advise on Canada’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda, a commitment to regular reporting and a second Voluntary National Review to the United Nations.

Towards Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy includes a first iteration of the Canadian Indicator Framework. Developed by Statistics Canada, in close collaboration with implicated federal departments, it proposes a number of ambitions, indicators and targets, which lay the foundation for Canada to accurately track and report on its progress on the 17 SDGs.

Policy lead: Strategic and Service Policy Branch

Service delivered by: Strategic Service Policy Branch (in collaboration with seven core supporting departments: Employment and Social Development Canada, Global Affairs Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Indigenous Services Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Women and Gender Equality, Statistics Canada.)

List of key stakeholders

Given the broad scope of the Sustainable Development Goals, the SDG Program engages with a wide range of stakeholders. Key stakeholder groups include National Indigenous Organizations, provinces and territories, municipalities, civil society organizations, academia, youth and the private sector.

Annex A – Sustainable development goals

  • SDG 1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • SDG 2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  • SDG 3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • SDG 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • SDG 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • SDG 6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • SDG 7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • SDG 8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • SDG 9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  • SDG 10 Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • SDG 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • SDG 12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • SDG 13 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • SDG 14 Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • SDG 15 Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • SDG 16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • SDG 17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

13. Canada’s Volunteer Awards


Canada’s Volunteer Awards (CVA) recognize the outstanding contributions of volunteers, businesses and innovative not-for-profit organizations in improving the well-being of people and communities.

The awards highlight best practices in community leadership, encourage partnerships across sectors and increase the capacity of award and grant recipients to support their communities.

The CVA program, first launched in 2010, consists of 21 awards. One award, Lifelong Achievement, is a national award. The other four categories of awards—Emerging Leader, Community Leader, Business Leader and Social Innovator—are regional awards. One recipient for each regional award is selected from each of the five regions: Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies, and British Columbia and the North.

The awards cycle is managed through a nationally administered call for nominations on an annual basis and a multi-step assessment process. Volunteer regional reviewers from across the country review and evaluate nominations based on a set of established criteria and develop a list of top-ranked nominations for assessment by the National Advisory Committee. The National Advisory Committee then evaluates the top-ranked nominations in each award category and advises the Minister regarding the award recipients. An awards ceremony, led by the Minister, generally takes place each December. For 2019 recipients, the ceremony is planned for April 2020.

Key program statistics

Over the past six award cycles, 109 awards have been presented. As part of the recognition package, recipients are eligible to identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a grant for $5,000 (regional award) or $10,000 (national award). To date, $595,000 in grants has been distributed to 121 not-for-profit organizations across Canada.

Policy lead: Income Security and Social Development Branch

Service delivered by: Income Security and Social Development Branch and Program Operations Branch

List of key stakeholders

To promote the program, CVA relies on informal partnerships with stakeholders from the volunteer and not-for-profit sector and internal government stakeholders. A key alliance has been the relationship with Volunteer Canada. Other key stakeholders include the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Community Foundations Canada, the Fédération des centres d'action bénévole du Québec, Charity Village, the Volunteer Management Professionals of Canada, the PM Youth Council, the New Horizons for Seniors Program, the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (now Reaching Home) and many of the program’s past recipients and regional reviewers, who willingly and enthusiastically promote the program when asked.

The sector is constantly evolving; the CVA program keeps abreast of new stakeholders by networking and building relationships through continuous outreach.

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