Apply for funding: Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities – National or Regional Component

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Application period

You could apply between May 30, 2022 and July 22, 2022 at 3:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

Description of the funding

This CFP will fund projects that support individuals, employers and others that work to support disability inclusion and accessibility in employment. The CFP is soliciting projects that:

The CFP’s objective is to invite eligible organizations to submit proposals that:

These objectives align with the Government of Canada’s broader goals under the Employment Strategy for Canadians with Disabilities.

Eligible organizations can apply for funding up to $15,000,000 for a project that is up to 3 years (36 consecutive months).

There are 2 funding components available through this call for proposals:

  1. National - Projects that deliver activities in 3 or more provinces or territories.
  2. Regional - Projects that deliver activities in 1 or 2 provinces or territories.

An organization can apply with 1 proposal under the National component and 1 proposal under the Regional component. Each proposal must be for different activities.

A separate proposal must be submitted for each component.

If an organization is applying for both the national and regional components, a separate proposal must be submitted for each the national and the regional component.

Organizations can apply to receive funding to deliver activities under more than 1 stream for each component. For example, a project may focus on Steam 1 and Stream 3 activities.

Refer to Eligible Activities for activities specific to each stream.

If an organization wants to apply to more than 1 stream, they must clearly separate the information for each stream, for example:

Stream 1: Participant-focused Stream

Stream 2: Employers Stream

Stream 3: Career Advancement Stream

An organization can only apply for a maximum of 2 projects (one regional and one national). If more than 1 application is received per component (National or Regional), only the first application received for each component will be considered. The application with the earliest date stamp will be considered to be the first application received.

The Proactive disclosure page discloses details on funded projects.

Learn more about other funding opportunities

Objective of the Opportunities Fund Program

The Opportunities Fund (OF) program helps persons with disabilities increase their economic participation and independence by:

The program also provides supports to employers to help them make their workplaces more inclusive and accessible.

The OF program funds a wide range of supports and services, including:


To apply, you must meet all the following eligibility criteria:

Eligible applicants

Your organization must be 1 of the following types:

Note for organizations established in Quebec:

Quebec organizations may apply for funding through the National Component. The Regional Component is not open to Quebec organizations given that the program's regional funds are administered under the Canada-Quebec Agreement in support of persons with disabilities in Quebec as part of the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities.

Ministère du Conseil Exécutif (M-30):

The Quebec National Assembly adopted An Act respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif (M-30). The provisions of this Act impose certain conditions on Quebec government bodies and certain other entities wanting to contract with the federal government.

You may wish to consult the provisions of M-30 at the following website prior to submitting your Application for Funding form (EMP5523) to ensure compliance with the Act respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif (M-30).

Any entity that is subject to the Act is responsible for obtaining such authorization before signing any agreement with the Government of Canada.

Consult the Act respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif for more information.

Eligible projects

Regardless of the stream under which you are applying, your project must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

Each stream has its own specific eligibility requirements. You must meet each eligibility requirement listed for the stream(s) you are applying under.


Stream 1 eligibility criteria

Proposals must provide details on how these specific criteria will be met.

Stream 2 eligibility criteria

Proposals must provide details on how these specific criteria will be met.

Stream 3 eligibility criteria

Proposals must provide details on how these specific criteria will be met.

Eligible activities

Eligible activities are dependent upon the stream for which you wish to apply. See the activities listed below each stream to determine the appropriate eligible activities for your project.

The eligible activities under the individual streams should include a mental health lens. That means embedding mental health supports in projects to assist individuals experiencing concurrent mental illness or a substance use disorder. Projects should also be gender sensitive and seek to include underserved populations (equity deserving populations) in their activities.

Stream 1 - Participant-focused Stream

The following is a list of activities eligible for funding under the Participant-focused Stream:

Please note that proposals under this stream must include either self-employment or work experience activities. They can be the sole activities of a project or offered in combination with other activities.

Projects under Stream 1:

Stream 2 - Employer Stream

This stream does not include direct supports to individuals.

The following is a list of activities eligible for funding under the Employer Stream:

Stream 3 - Career Advancement Stream

The following is a list of activities eligible for funding under the Career Advancement Stream:

Projects under Stream 3:

Eligible activities under Stream 3 are to include mental health support for participants when needed, including supports for those experiencing substance use disorders, to help them succeed.

Eligible participants

Eligible expenditures

Eligible expenditures are those considered necessary to support the purpose of the funding. Eligible expenditures include the following:

Ineligible expenditures include, but are not limited to:

How we assess your application

We will assess your application based on the following criteria:

Additional funding considerations

We are distributing funding as equitably as possible. Extra points may be awarded for applicants whom have never applied for OF funding in the past.

Some projects may not be funded due to departmental priorities.

Steps to apply

Gather your supporting documents and information

Important notice: ESDC may refuse applications that are incomplete or contain errors. We will contact you to request any mandatory information if it is missing from your application. We will do this before we determine if your application is eligible. If you receive such a request, you must respond within 5 business days of the date we sent the request. If you do not respond by the deadline, we will assess your application as is.

Decide how to apply

Apply online

  1. Create your Grants and Contributions Online Services (GCOS) account. GCOS allows you to apply and track your application status, sign agreements, manage active projects, submit supporting documents, and review past projects submitted through GCOS.
  2. Read the applicant guide. This guide includes details for each question of the online form.
  3. Download and save the Budget Detail Template (BDT) (PDF Format, 706KB) on your computer in order to complete it. You will be asked to upload this once you apply online. If you need a guide to assist you in completing the Budget Detail Template, please contact us at your ESDC office.
  4. Submit your online application using your GCOS account
    Apply online
Information you need to know if you apply online:
  • Private and public organizations must have a Canada Revenue Agency business number to apply online.
  • You can print a copy of your application, before you submit your application, by following these steps:
    • Enter your username and password in the Grants and Contributions Online Services (GCOS) platform and click ‘Continue’.
    • Choose on your organization’s name.
    • Select ‘Gs & Cs Online Services’.
    • Under “Applications and Projects”, retrieve your application.
    • Select “View Application”.
    • Select review under “Review and Submit”.
    • Select “Print”. It will open the “Review and Submit” screen in a printable version.


For this Call for Proposals, expense reimbursement will be based on actual expenditures incurred. The flat rate option for Administrative Costs and Project Costs will not be available under this Call for Proposals.

After you print a copy of your online application, click “submit” to complete your application. If you do not click “submit”, your application will not be sent to us.

Apply by email or mail

  1. Read the applicant guide to complete your Application for Funding form (EMP5523). This guide includes details for each question of the form.
  2. Complete the Application for Funding form (EMP5523) and the Budget Detail Template (BDT) (PDF Format, 706KB). Ensure the Attestation section is complete.
  3. Print and sign the signature pages
  4. Send your complete application package by email or mail to the ESDC office closest to your organization’s head office, with a date stamp no later than July 22, 2022 11:59 PST.

Note: You cannot apply through other means, including cloud storage service providers such as Dropbox or Google Drive. We will reject applications sent using such means.

Note on PDFs

Our Application form uses PDF form technology. You must have a PDF reader installed to use the form. There are several readers you can get on the Internet for free that support our form. Either Adobe Reader 8 (or higher) or Foxit Reader should work.

Downloading the application form
  • Make sure that you have 1 of the above PDF readers installed on your system
  • Select the Application for Funding form (EMP5523)
  • When prompted to open or save, select “Save as”
  • Select your folder location and save (file type must be PDF)
  • Reopen the form from your computer:
    • Select the “Open with” option
    • Choose option to open with your PDF reader
    • Make sure that the form opens in your PDF reader of choice, by looking at the top of your screen
  • Begin inputting and save your form as you go
  • Before submitting make sure that the form is complete and is saved
Forms that perform calculations

Some sections of the budget detail template will calculate totals for you. Please double-check all data you enter. You are in charge of ensuring the form is complete and correct.

Beware that these issues will impact your form
  • Not using correct reader software. For example, old versions of Adobe, or Preview reader on a Mac
  • Completing the form in a browser

After you’ve applied

We will review your application. We expect to make funding decisions between November 2022 and December 2022.

Contact us

If you have questions or need help with this application process, contact the ESDC office closest to your organization’s head office. We will answer questions sent before July 15, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. EDT.

If you need help or accommodations (such as documents in an alternate format, for example, large font, braille, etc.), please send us an email before July 15, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. EDT. Please give us enough time to make sure we can respond to your request. Please see the list of applicable ESDC office.

During the time that the call for proposals is open, we may, from time to time, provide additional clarification to applicants based on questions received. Applicants who wish to receive this information should send an email to their closest ESDC office.

Information sessions

An overview of the program was provided during the information sessions held at the end of June 2022. These sessions intended to facilitate the participation of small and underrepresented disability organizations in the application process. The information sessions provided:

ESDC office contacts

New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, or Prince Edward Island

PO Box 1800

Halifax NS

B3J 3V1


PO Box 538

STN Don Mills

North York ON

M3C 0N9

Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Yukon, or Nunavut

125-10th Avenue E

Vancouver BC

V5T 1Z3


200 René-Lévesque W. 4th floor West Tower

Montréal Quebec

H2Z 1X4


Consistent with the Accessible Canada Act, disability means any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment, or a functional limitation, whether permanent, temporary or episodic in nature, or evident or not, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full and equal participation in society.
Disability severity assessment
Determining and characterizing disability-related needs of a participant, based on a combination of professional and personal knowledge and experience, and on accepted disability measures (for example, those provided by the World Health Organization or Statistics Canada).
Equity deserving groups
Common equity deserving groups can include Indigenous peoples, black Canadians, racialized Canadians, new immigrants, certain religious or ethnic populations, or members of the LGBTQ2+ community.
Rural and Remote regions
The population is of less than 1,000 (core population) and where no, or very little, access to the services of the closest municipality with a population of 1,000 or more exists.
Intersectional considerations
Multiple and diverse identity factors that shape our perspectives, ideologies and experiences. Examples of identity factors that may intersect include, but are not limited to, gender identity, sexual orientation, living or having lived with a disability, racial or ethnic background.
Strength-based Partnerships

A relationship between the applicant and another organization who are engaging and collaborating in a project. This can include providing expertise and organizational capacity to contribute, either in-kind or financially, to the project. This can involve:

linking or sharing information

  • resources
  • activities, and/or
  • capabilities by different organizations to achieve joint outcome(s)
Opportunities Fund Community Coordinator (OF-CC)
An OF-CC is a contribution recipient that receives ESDC/Service Canada contributions and further disburses portions of the funding to third parties for activities that meet the objectives of the CFP for the OF program (for example, providing wage subsidies to a host employer to hire an eligible participant).

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