Government of Canada supports gender diverse youth through skills development projects

News release

September 23, 2022        Gatineau, Quebec      Employment and Social Development Canada 

Progress has been made in recent decades towards 2SLGBTQI+ inclusion in Canada; however, discrimination, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia persist and they have very real direct and indirect impacts on 2SLGBTQI+ communities. That is why the Government of Canada is working to build a safer, more equitable and more inclusive Canada.

Today, during Gender Equality Week, the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, Marci Ien, highlighted more than $9 million in investments helping more than 270 youth, in particular gender diverse youth. The funding is being provided through the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) program.

Through YESS, the Government of Canada helps young people, particularly those facing barriers to employment, get the information and gain the skills, work experience and abilities they need to make a successful transition into the labour market. These investments include two projects taking place in Alberta and Ontario.

The Open Door project, based in Alberta received $1.3 million in funding for their project The Open Door Youth Employment and Skills Development Program. This project is helping 80 2SLGBTQI+ youth in securing sustainable, meaningful employment by developing their skills, and connecting them with supports that will impact their capacity to secure and maintain their employment from youth to adulthood. 

Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak (LFMO) – Women of the Métis Nation, based in Ontario, received $8 million in funding for their Reach for the Sky initiative. This initiative offers opportunities to 198 youth to develop a distinctions-based, gender sensitive, youth-centric curriculum on leadership, job readiness and employment training.

These opportunities reflect the Government’s ongoing actions to support all Canadians, as highlighted in Budget 2022, which is about growing the economy, creating good jobs, and building a Canada where nobody gets left behind.


“As part of Gender Equality Week, we should also remember that gender-diverse communities have significantly contributed to the social fabric of Canada, and have been at the forefront of advancing gender equality. Today’s announcement reaffirms our commitment to guarantee that 2SLGBTQI+ organizations, and the people that work for them, can continue to deliver programming, provide educational services, and support gender diverse youth to reach their full potential.”

-        Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, Marci Ien

Quick facts

  • Gender Equality Week 2022 takes place from September 18 to 24. The theme this year is Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities. It inspires us to continue working together to break down the barriers preventing us from becoming who we aspire to be because of our gender.

  • In 2020, the Government of Canada invested $492 million over three years, through Employment and Social Development Canada’s YESS program, for 269 projects, where agreements were signed starting in April 2020, across Canada to help young people facing barriers to employment. To support youth affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, in spring 2020 the Government of Canada increased funding of up to $187.7 million to the YESS horizontal partners, departments, agencies and Crown Corporations to create 9,500 more work opportunities for young Canadians, particularly those facing barriers to employment.

  • In 2022, the Prime Minister launched Canada’s first Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan. Based on the largest public consultation with 2SLGBTQI+ communities in Canadian history, the Action Plan is a guide that will inspire and inform Canada’s actions towards equality for years to come.

    • 25% to 40% of homeless youth in Canada are 2SLGBTQI+ and 64% of 2SLGBTQI+ students who participated in one study reported feeling unsafe at school.

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:

Johise Namwira
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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