Grants, contributions, and funding processes from ESDC

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

This page describes the difference between a grant and a contribution and the different funding processes used by programs to receive funding applications.

Grants and contributions

ESDC mainly uses 2 ways to issue funding: Grants and Contributions which are also referred to as transfer paymentsFootnote 1.


Grants are payments made to an individual or organisation which are subject to pre-established eligibility and other entitlement criteria. In most cases, a grant is not subject to being accounted for by a recipient nor normally subject to audit by the department however there can be exceptions depending on program requirements. As a recipient, you may be required to report on results achieved.


Contributions are similar to grants however instead of a payment, an organisation can get reimbursed for specific costs if they meet eligibility criteria and specific conditions. As a recipient, you have to account for the funds you receive, and ESDC can examine how the funds have been used throughout the duration of a project. You could also be subject to an audit.

Funding processes

To issue grants or contributions, programs use different funding processes to receive funding applications.

Call for proposals

A Call for proposal is an open, formal, and planned process with a specific start and end date. It is used to identify eligible applicants interested in achieving program objectives and expected outcomes.

Applicants submit a complete, costed application for funding consideration. The focus is on the eligibility and viability of the project activities and the eligibility and capacity of the applicant organization to manage the project appropriately according to the program Terms and Conditions.

Call for concepts

A Call for concept is a formal process used to identify eligible applicants interested in achieving program objectives and expected outcomes. Applicants submit a concept paper-based on the parameters of the Call for concept. The focus is on the eligibility of the project “idea” rather than a fully detailed project proposal. Consideration is also given to the organisation as well. As a result of the assessment process, ESDC may invite successful applicants to submit a full proposal.

Expression of interest

An Expressing of Interest (EOI) is a formal process where applicants express their interest in program funding to achieve ESDC's policy priorities, program objectives and expected outcomes. The focus is on the eligibility of the organization (based on program-specific assessment criteria) rather than on a project idea. As a result of the screening process, ESDC may invite successful EOI applicants to submit a concept paper or a proposal.

Continuous intake

Continuous intake is a process where ESDC funding is available to the public for a specific program on a long-term basis. This process has no specific deadline for the submission of applications and applicants can apply for funding at any time. Assessment of applications is based on program-specific assessment criteria, objectives and expected results as well as budget availability.

Solicited applications

A program may solicit specific organizations to submit an application for consideration following a Call for concepts or Expression of interest or when an unanticipated situation arises requiring a rapid response. This process can be used when ESDC has significant knowledge on the limited pool of organizations that could deliver expected results.


Find funding opportunities

Find grants and contributions from ESDC that help support jobs, training, and social development.

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