Government of Canada launches call for proposals for projects that help youth join job market

News release

October 4, 2023              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada 

Canadian youth are among the brightest and hardest working in the world, and they are focused on building a better future for themselves and their communities. To build a solid foundation, young people are eager to join the job market and earn money from meaningful employment opportunities. However, we know that many young people still face barriers to employment. That is why the Government of Canada continues to invest through its comprehensive array of youth programming to make sure young people are connected to fulfilling employment opportunities.

Today, Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, launched a call for proposals under the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) Program of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

Projects funded through this call for proposals will help improve labour market outcomes for up to 20,000 youth facing barriers to employment. ESDC will provide eligible organizations with up to $5 million per year for up to four years (starting in 2024–25). The YESS Program will fund organizations to deliver a broad range of activities that help young people (aged 15 to 30). For example, funded projects might include activities aimed at providing mentoring, skills development and training, paid work experiences, or wraparound supports such as dependent care support or mental health counselling.  

New to this funding cycle is an emphasis on supporting projects that target youth with disabilities and youth furthest from employment, such as those facing multiple and compounding barriers. Other priority groups include Indigenous youth, 2SLGBTQI+ youth, Black and other racialized youth, and youth in official language minority communities.

Organizations are invited to apply for funding from now until 3:59 p.m. EST on November 22, 2023. Click here for details on how to apply for funding.

Additional funding opportunities will be available this fall for organizations that provide volunteer and summer job opportunities for youth through the Canada Service Corps and Canada Summer Jobs. 


“Many young people still face barriers when trying to get their first job, or even when they are trying to climb the ladder in their field. That is why we’ve made sure that the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program takes a flexible approach to helping youth who need it most—including youth with disabilities. While we continue tackling the high cost of living and building up our economy, we are making sure that Canada’s youth have access to good jobs to build their futures.”
– Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, Marci Ien

Quick facts

  • Since 2020, over 45,000 youth facing barriers to employment have benefited from the YESS Program.

  • A recent assessment of the YESS Program (covering June 2019 to December 2022) found that over 80% of youth participants were either employed or returned to school following their participation in YESS programming.

  • Organizations can sign up for email notifications if they wish to be notified when ESDC funding opportunities become available. 

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For media enquiries, please contact: 

Nanki Singh
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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