Youth Employment Strategy Skills Link

June 2015

Applicant guide

Name of the Program: Skills Link
Type of process: Continuous intake

Notice to Applicants:

The information collected in your application will be used, and may be disclosed, for the purposes of assessing the merits of your application. As part of the assessment process, the information may be shared with external consultants, review committee members, officials in other departments, federal, provincial and/or territorial governments or Members of Parliament.

It may also be used and/or disclosed for policy analysis, research, and/or evaluation purposes. In order to conduct these activities, various sources of information under the custody and control of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) may be linked. However, these additional uses and/or disclosures of information will not impact your project.

In the event that the application contains personal information, the personal information will be administered in accordance with the Privacy Act.

The application is also subject to the Access to Information Act (ATIA). The ATIA provides every person with a right of access to information under the control of the department, subject to a limited set of exemptions. Instructions for obtaining access to this information are outlined in the government publication entitled Info Source, which is available at InfoSource. Info Source may also be accessed on-line at any Service Canada Centre.

1. Purpose

The Government of Canada is currently accepting applications for funding from organizations interested in receiving financial assistance from Skills Link.

The purpose of this Applicant Guide is to provide information to assist you with the completion of your Application for Funding to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/ Service Canada (SC).

If you require information or clarification that is not provided in this Applicant Guide, please call 1-800-935-5555 (TTY: 1-800-926-9105).

Please use this Guide when you are completing the Application for Funding.

For every section in the Application for Funding, the Guide shows the type of detail required of your organization in order to complete the application.

The Government of Canada is under no obligation to approve any application for funding. In the event that your application is approved your project may be randomly selected for review and/or audit.

2. Introduction

a) Objectives of the program

Skills Link is a program that provides funding for employers and organizations to offer eligible activities to youth facing barriers to employment. The program is part of the Youth Employment Strategy, a horizontal initiative involving eleven federal departments and agencies.

The objectives of Skills Link are to:

  • help youth overcome barriers to employment;
  • help youth develop a broad range of skills and knowledge in order to participate in the current and future labour market; and,
  • promote education and skills as being key to labour market participation.

b) Assessment criteria

The criteria-based assessment process for evaluating proposals ensures that all project proposals are evaluated objectively against the Terms and Conditions of the program, labour market needs, availability of funds, and program priorities. Proposals are assessed, recommended and approved based on the following criteria:

  • eligibility of the applicant;
  • how proposed activities will address needs identified in the proposal;
  • experience and results achieved in delivering the specified type of activity;
  • degree to which the proposal’s identified needs and proposed activities support program objectives and priorities;
  • means to measure the progress of the participants and the success of project activities;
  • organizational capacity to manage the project, including financial controls;
  • clarity of project objectives, outcomes and scheduled timeframes;
  • expected project results for participants -- the proposal must target a minimum success rate of 70%, of participants served, for the key performance indicators ‘number of participants employed’ and/or ‘number of participants who have returned to school’ with an expectation that the majority of successful participants will find employment;
  • demonstration of labour market needs and of partner support required for success (may include letters of support from partners indicating a labour market need to be addressed, or information on contributions from sources other than the Department ) - for those proposals which include a work experience component, applicants should submit a list of potential employers (including information on the sector and size of employers) with whom participants could be placed; and,
  • value-for-money (e.g. a cost per participant below the maximum amount allowed, the amount of contributions from other sources).

Following the assessment and approval of applications, applicants will be notified in writing of ESDC/SC’s decision. Please note, project recommendation and approval are subject to the availability of funds. In addition, funding of applications may be approved in part or in their entirety.

c) Application deadline

  • ESDC/SC accepts Skills Link applications throughout the year.
  • Please send your application for funding completed and signed with all required attachments.

3. Review eligibility

Eligible applicants

Applicants who are eligible to receive funding from ESDC/SC towards a Skills Link project include:

  • not-for-profit organizations;
  • municipal governments;
  • Aboriginal organizations (including band councils, tribal councils and self-government entities);
  • for-profit organizations Footnote 1 ; and,
  • provincial and territorial governments, institutions, agencies and Crown Corporations.

Applicants can be either employers/organizations or community coordinators.

Skills Link - Community Coordinator (SL-CC)

A Skills Link community coordinator is a contribution recipient that receives funding to enter into its own agreements with eligible participants and employers to undertake activities that further the objectives of the Skills Link program.

Project activities

Funding decisions are based on program priorities, labour market needs, program terms and conditions, and available funding. To be eligible for Skills Link funding, proposed projects must involve a minimum of 8 youth participants.

Within rural (defined by Statistics Canada as an area with a population of less than 1,000 and a density of less than 400 people per square kilometre) and remote regions, exceptions may be made vis-à-vis the minimum participant requirement. Applicants must include a strong justification in the proposal as to why the minimum requirement of 8 participants cannot be fulfilled.

All interventions must include a work experience-type activity (Work Experience, Employability Skills through Work Experience or Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship), meaning that a work experience-type activity may be the sole activity of an intervention, or it must be a part of a combination with other interventions and/or services.

Recruitment of Participants

Contribution recipients are responsible for recruiting participants for Skills Link interventions. Contribution recipients are also responsible for working with SC/ESDC to verify the eligibility of all youth who are recruited.

Employment services for youth


Youth Outreach activities may be funded when specific priority groups are identified within the youth population (e.g. single parents who have dropped out of school, young persons with disabilities) who need but do not actively seek out employment services. This activity can be particularly useful in rural areas where there are identified labour market adjustment issues for young people but a lack of services or infrastructure to address those issues.

Outreach involves taking a proactive approach to working with young people. Rather than waiting for young people to visit an employment services office or youth centre, the community coordinator can identify effective means to locate and connect with disenfranchised youth (e.g. by holding special events, such as job fairs, in areas, such as drop-in centres, frequented by these young people). These events would be designed to provide an opportunity for the organization to establish dialogue with the targeted youth group, and provide information such as labour market information (careers, occupations, employment and other related subjects), job listings and job search tips/aids, etc.

The organization may also offer itinerant services where young people are unable or disinclined to visit a youth centre. The goal is to engage young people and encourage them to consider their futures, options and employment goals, and ultimately to participate in a Skills Link activity.

Employment sessions

Employment sessions may be provided to groups within a community coordinator agreement and are available only to young people who meet Skills Link eligibility criteria. Employment sessions are short-term activities designed to assist groups of young people in searching for and obtaining work.

Employment sessions must include employment-oriented subject matter, such as career and occupational decision-making, job preparation, job search, job maintenance, etc., and are provided in an established format with a facilitator. Participants are given an opportunity to acquire information and skills, and to apply these skills in a supported environment.

There is no minimum or maximum duration for an employment session of this nature, but in order to be effective and allow time for participants to practice new skills, a minimum length of three hours is recommended.

Where there is a need to cover a wider range of employability skills and in greater depth, the Skills Link Group-based Employability Skills Intervention can be used to provide workshops over a number of weeks.

Employment interventions for youth

Employment interventions for youth can include income support, which is a means for the participants to support themselves while they are taking steps to become employed. Additional support to participants may also be provided on a case-by-case basis, and could include incremental expenses for dependent care, travel and additional costs for persons with disabilities. In determining additional supports, consideration must be given to financial support from other sources such as Social/Income Assistance.

Although no maximum timeframe has been identified for a participant’s participation in SL interventions, the maximum cost per participant (see below) will ultimately dictate the duration of participation, which generally results in approximately 1 year.

The following employment interventions are available to young people through Skills Link:

  1. Group-based Employability Skills
  2. Employability Skills through Work Experience
  3. Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship
  4. Work Experience
  5. Individual Skills Enhancement (offered through a community coordinator)
1. Group-based employability skills

The Group-based Employability Skills intervention is a pre-employment activity for young people who need some additional development before advancing to a work experience. This group-based intervention offers young people the opportunity to participate in workshops to learn or enhance skills transferable to the workplace, such as leadership, teamwork and communication skills. Group-based employability skills must help to prepare participants for future work or career decisions, and/or assist them with seeking, obtaining and maintaining employment. This intervention is not to be used to support occupation-specific skills development or accreditation. For example, a 15-week bartending course or a 24-week carpentry apprenticeship would not be eligible.

Financial support will be provided to participants where no other support (social assistance, municipal support) is being provided. ESDC/SC will pay an allowance equal to the provincial/territorial minimum wage. The use of a $500 maximum completion bonus for participants can also be considered, where deemed appropriate and where not detrimental to the social welfare of the participant. Where allowances are provided, the maximum cost per participant for this intervention is $12,000.

The maximum duration for this intervention is 24 weeks; interventions of shorter duration must offer sufficient time for participants to build the required skills. Participation in this intervention should be full-time (i.e. 30 hours per week or more). While it cannot feasibly be tailored to allow for part-time involvement by selected participants, accommodations may be made for special needs. Where all individuals are able to participate only part-time (e.g. groups of persons with disabilities), an intervention of reduced hours is allowable.

This intervention must always be combined with at least one intervention providing a paid work experience (Employability Skills through Work Experience, Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship or Work Experience). If combined with Employability Skills through Work Experience, the number of days spent on the job should exceed those spent in pre-employability interventions. (For example, a GBES intervention is comprised of 5 days per week for 3 weeks resulting in a workshop of 15 days. Following this, an 8-week ESWE intervention is comprised of a 1-day workshop and 4 days employment per week for a total of 8 days for workshops and 32 days of employment. Ultimately, taking the totals for both interventions together, the result is 23 days for workshops and 32 days for employment.)

2. Employability skills through work experience

The Employability Skills through Work Experience intervention provides employability skills within an activity focused on the exposure of participants to the world of work. Workshops that help build participants employability skills are blended with periods where participants work directly with employers.

The focus is on exposure to work and the majority of the participants' time is, therefore, dedicated to work experience. For example, participants may spend three days per week in work experience and the remaining two days in employability skills workshops. There must be a clear link between the skills and the work experience portions, so that participants can apply what they learn in workshops to their work experiences. Ideally, work experiences will be supported by workplace coaching/mentoring, to maximize the benefit to be gained by the participant.

Where it is suited to a young person’s needs and goals, Employability Skills through Work Experience may focus on developing entrepreneurial abilities. An intervention of this nature may be particularly appropriate for a youth identified as having the aptitude, motivation and ability to become an entrepreneur. However, the participant still must be in a clearly established employer/employee relationship; the employer must be prepared to model effective business practices for the participant and guide the development and application of skills required to operate a business. Under this intervention, a focus on entrepreneurship would differ from ‘Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship’ in that this would be more of an introduction to entrepreneurship as opposed to having the expectation of commencing one’s own business upon completion of this intervention.

Financial support to participants is in the form of wages during the time dedicated to the work experience and allowance during the time dedicated to employability skills workshops. Wages must equal or exceed the provincial/territorial minimum wage rate; however, ESDC/SC’s contribution will not exceed the minimum wage rate. Allowances must equal the provincial/territorial minimum wage. The use of a $500 maximum completion bonus for participants can also be considered, where deemed appropriate and where not detrimental to the social welfare of the participant. The maximum cost per participant is $25,000.

Interventions are typically 52 weeks in length (and thus may be a participant’s sole intervention), but may be longer or shorter where justified by the needs of participants. Participation in this intervention should be full-time (i.e. 30 hours per week or more). While it cannot feasibly be tailored to allow for part-time involvement by selected participants, accommodations may be made for special needs. Where all individuals are able to participate only part-time (e.g. groups of persons with disabilities), an intervention of reduced hours is allowable. Please note the hours spent in workshops are not insurable hours.

3. Employability skills through entrepreneurship

This intervention provides entrepreneurial skills within an activity where groups of young people are given exposure to the world of self-employment. Through activities focused on entrepreneurship, youth develop skills that will equip them to establish an enterprise and become capable business people, thereby helping them make a successful transition into the labour market.

Activities could include skill enhancement, assistance with business plan development and implementation, support during business start-up, mentorship, and aftercare. Workshops that help build participants entrepreneurial skills could be blended with periods where participants develop business plans, then launch and operate their own businesses. While workshop topics could be based on information provided by the Canada Business Network, they would be tailored to develop skills required by entrepreneurs. Topics, therefore, could include marketing, computer use, financial management, bookkeeping, communications, developing a business plan, and accessing loans/capital. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the participant is self-sufficient in operating their new business by the end of the project. If the business is not adequately established by that time, the contribution recipient can assist the individual in identifying other sources of financial support until the business begins to generate adequate revenue.

Business start-up costs such as legal fees, accountant and business registration fees, materials or supplies, rent/lease payments, etc. are not eligible under Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship.

Participants receive an allowance equal to or exceeding the provincial/territorial minimum wage rate. However, ESDC’s contribution will not exceed the minimum wage rate. The use of a $500 maximum completion bonus for participants can also be considered, where deemed appropriate and where not detrimental to the social welfare of the participant. The maximum cost per participant is $25,000.

The maximum duration for this intervention is 52 weeks in length (and thus may be a participant’s sole intervention); interventions of shorter duration are permitted as long as the needs of participants are met. Participation in this intervention is group-based and must be full-time (i.e. 30 hours per week or more). While it cannot feasibly be tailored to allow for part-time involvement by selected participants, accommodations may be made for special needs. Where all individuals are able to participate only part-time (e.g. groups of persons with disabilities), an intervention of reduced hours is allowable.

4. Work experience

Work Experience interventions provide youth with opportunities to work with employers to develop and enhance employability and occupational skills through practical on-the-job experience. Ideally, work experiences are supported by workplace coaching/mentoring to maximize the benefit to be gained by the participant.

Participants receive wages that equal or exceed the provincial/territorial minimum wage rate. However, ESDC’s contribution does not exceed the minimum wage rate. The use of a $500 maximum completion bonus for participants can also be considered, where deemed appropriate and where not detrimental to the social welfare of the participant. Overhead costs are not eligible when the contribution recipient is an employer placing youth within his own business, but are allowable when a contribution recipient is coordinating work experience activities with other employers. The maximum cost per participant is $25,000.

The typical duration is 52 weeks (and thus may be a participant’s sole intervention) but an intervention may be longer or shorter, where justified by the needs of the participant. Participation in this intervention should be full-time (i.e. 30 hours per week or more), but may be part-time where justified by the participant's circumstances.

5. Individual skills enhancement

This intervention enables youth to participate in short-term courses (a maximum of 12 weeks) that fill specific, identified gaps in their education and skill development, taking into consideration labour market needs.

The types of courses that can be supported under Individual Skills Enhancement are:

  • general employment readiness;
  • literacy and numeracy enhancement;
  • structured General Equivalency Diploma preparation and upgrading;
  • pre-employment courses; and,
  • occupation-specific courses.

The maximum contribution per participant is $10,000 per 12-week course which is comprised of a maximum of $5,000 for course-related costs including tuition, books, and mandatory student fees and a maximum of $5,000, where there is evidence of need for income support, transportation, travel and dependent care.

ISE may only be provided as part of a community coordinator agreement in which the agreement includes a work experience intervention.

Eligible participants

Participants are recruited by the funding recipients.

To participate in Skills Link projects, youth must be:

  • between 15 and 30 years of age (inclusive) at the time of intake/selection;
  • a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person on whom refugee status has been conferred Footnote 2 ;
  • legally entitled to work according to the relevant provincial/territorial legislation and regulations Footnote 3 ;
  • not in receipt of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits Footnote 4 ; and,
  • in need of assistance to overcome employment barriers.

Skills Link participants are youth who may be at risk of not making a successful transition to the workplace but for whom, nonetheless, a reasonable expectation exists that employment may be possible following an SL work experience. Examples of employment barriers include, but are not limited to:

  • high school non-completion;
  • person with a disability;
  • Aboriginal origin;
  • visible or ethnic minority;
  • residing in a rural or remote location;
  • single parent;
  • recent immigrant youth;
  • official language minority community language barriers (i.e. Francophone residing outside Québec or English-speaking resident of Québec);
  • other reasons (to be specified as part of the proposal approval process).

Hence, youth who are struggling with issues which require prolonged social support (e.g. substance abuse, homelessness) would be beyond the scope of the Program. For example, a person with untreated substance abuse issues and who is currently homeless would have to first seek help by way of other federal/provincial/municipal programming in order to become more ‘job-ready’ before being ready to participate in an SL intervention.

Note that in terms of the recruitment of participants, should recipients be encountering difficulties in finding sufficient eligible participants within a certain geographical region for a specific labour market need, costs for relocation (i.e. travel and living expenses) of eligible participants from further afield would be considered as being eligible budget items.

Eligible costs

Financial assistance may be provided to cover all or a portion of the costs associated with participation in approved activities. Costs may include:

  • income support to individuals (wages, allowances) based on the prevailing provincial/territorial minimum wage rate;
  • mandatory employment related costs;
  • additional support to cover all or part of the incremental costs for individuals to participate, such as dependent care, travel or transportation (including these costs related to relocation Footnote 5 );
  • completion bonuses Footnote 6 ;
  • other support to cover the cost of items associated with the youth's participation (to a maximum of $500);
Maximum cost per participant

For Skills Link projects, the maximum cost per participant, including all Employment Services and Interventions for Youth, is $25,000. Amounts needed to accommodate people with disabilities may be in addition to the maximum cost per participant. A rationale for these additional expenses, including a description of the supports needed, must be documented and retained on file.

4. Develop your application for funding

The Application has four parts:

In order for an application to be considered complete, it must be accompanied by all required documents as specified by the Program to which your organization is applying.

However, there is flexibility in the Application for Funding for situations where the information requested may not apply to all organizations or may be best provided through some other means. You may leave a section blank only where the following terms are present:

  • ‘if applicable’;
  • ‘if different’.

If you need additional space to answer any of the questions, please use the space provided in Appendix A.

Please Note: All items marked with an asterisk (*) in the Application for Funding are mandatory unless otherwise specified.

Additional Documents Required:

  • Budget Detail Template* (Appendix B)
  • If applicable, written union concurrence will be required.
  • Note: Proof of Workers’ Compensation coverage and/or liability insurance Footnote 7 will be required when negotiating an agreement.

How to fill out your application for funding.

Part 1 - Organization

Section 1a - organization identification

ESDC uses the information you provide in this section to establish your organization’s identity.

Question 1 - Legal Name

Please provide the legal name of your organization. This is the name associated with your registration with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This must be an exact match to what was captured when your organization registered with CRA. If there is a discrepancy between these two sets of information, the Department will be unable to validate your application. This could also be the name that appears on funding cheques.

Question 2 - Operating (Common) Name (if different from legal name)

Please provide the operating (or common) name of your organization if it is different from the legal name.

Question 3 - Business or Registration Number

Please provide your 15-digit CRA business number or, for registered charities and not-for-profit organizations, your registration number.

Example: 123456789 AB 1234

For more information, please visit the CRA website

Question 4 - Organization Type

Your answer to this question must be one of the following:

  • Not-for-Profit
  • Private
  • Public

Question 5 - Organization Category

Please select the appropriate category from the following:


  • Aboriginal Not-for-Profit Groups
  • Associations of Workers and/or Employers
  • International Non-governmental Organizations
  • Local community, charitable, voluntary organizations
  • Non-governmental Organizations with a focus to encourage employment
  • National Non-governmental Organizations
  • Not-for-Profit Band Councils
  • Provincial Non-governmental Organizations
  • Sector Councils
  • Unions


  • Banks
  • Businesses, bodies incorporated or unincorporated
  • Indian Band Corporations (profit basis)
  • International Sector
  • Private Band Councils
  • Private Universities and Colleges


  • Contributions to Provinces and Territories
  • International Government Organizations
  • Municipal Governments and Agencies
  • Provincial Governments and Agencies
  • Public Degree-Granting Colleges
  • Public Degree-Granting Universities
  • Public Community Colleges and vocational schools
  • Public Health
  • School Board/Other Educational Institution not classified elsewhere
  • Territorial Governments

Question 6 - Year Established

Please indicate the year your organization was established.

Questions 7 - 11 - Organization Address

Please indicate the address of your organization.

Only project activities that take place in Canada will be eligible for funding.

Questions 12 - 13 - Telephone and Fax

Please indicate the telephone and fax number of the organization.

Question 14 - E-Mail Address

Please indicate the e-mail address of the organization.

Questions 15 - 19 - Mailing Address

Please indicate the mailing address if different from your organization’s address.

Questions 20 - 21 - Telephone and Fax

Please indicate the telephone and fax number if different from your organization’s address.

Question 22 - Organization’s Mandate

Please describe the primary work of your organization, including your mission, mandate and objectives.

Section 1b - organization contact

Please provide a main contact for the purposes of communicating with your organization about this project. This could be a project manager or coordinator, an executive director or someone else. Typically, the person responsible for the project is identified here.

Please note that the individual listed as the organizational contact should be available to respond to questions or requests for additional information following the submission of your application.

Question 23 - Given Name / Surname

Please provide the name of the person in your organization who will be ESDC’s main contact for the project.

Question 24 - Position Title

Please provide the title of the organization contact identified in Question 23.

Example: Executive Director

Question 25 - Preferred Language of Communication

Please indicate the preferred language of the organization’s main contact for both written and spoken communication.

  • EN indicates English
  • FR indicates French

Question 26 - Organization Contact - Address

Please indicate whether the address for the Organization Contact is the same address as the Organization Address or the Organization Mailing Address given in Section 1A. If different, please indicate in the box.

Questions 27- 31 - Contact Address

If you selected ‘Different’ in Question 26, please provide the address for the Organization Contact here.

Questions 32- 33 -Telephone and Fax

Please indicate the telephone and fax numbers of the Organization Contact.

Question 34 - E-Mail Address

Please indicate the e-mail address of the Organization Contact.

Section 1c - organizational capacity

ESDC uses the information provided in this section to help assess the organization’s capacity to manage a project.

Question 35 - How many employees does your organization currently have?

Please indicate the number of people employed in your organization. The number of employees must be a whole number.

Question 36 - Has your organization undergone any important transformations in the past two years?

Important transformations refers to events such as a change in leadership in the board of directors or at the executive level, an important reduction, increase or turn-over in staff, a merger with or split from another organization, a change in mandate or main activities, etc.

If you answer yes, please provide a description of the changes.

Question 37 - Please describe how your Organization has the experience and expertise to carry out the proposed project activities? If applicable, please include any past experience(s) with ESDC and the results of the project(s).

Please provide a description of your organization’s experience and expertise in administering projects. This information will help ESDC to assess the extent to which your organization is capable of undertaking the proposed project activities and achieving the expected results. You may wish to highlight related past achievements in addition to describing current expertise and activities or projects.

Please include a description of:

  • previous experience in delivering youth-related projects funded by ESDC/SC and by other federal departments, municipal, provincial, or territorial governments (include department, responsible project officer, project name, date length, funding, proposed targets and outcomes); and,
  • previous Skills Link projects.

If you are applying for funding from other areas of ESDC/SC and/or other government departments under the Youth Employment Strategy, please indicate: the name of the government department, the amount of funding requested and/or approved, the number of participants and how the activities differ from the ones requested in the proposal for funding under ESDC/SC.

Question 38 - Does your organization owe any amounts to the Government of Canada?

If yes, please indicate the amounts owing in the spaces provided. See the following example:

Amount Owing Nature of Amount Owing Department or Agency to which money is owed
$10,000 Overpayment Employment and Social Development

Answering ‘yes’ to this question will not invalidate your application. However, you must provide details as to the type of debt owed and the arrangements that have been made for repayment.

Question 39 - Is a payment plan in place?

Please indicate whether or not payment arrangements have been made.

Part 2 - Project

Section 2a - project identification

Question 40 - Project Title

Please provide a brief, descriptive project title.

Questions 41 and 42 - Planned Project Start and End Dates

Please indicate the planned start and end dates of your project.

Please note that activities cannot begin before your project is approved and an agreement has been signed by both the recipient and ESDC.

You should not assume any commitment on the part of ESDC until funding has been approved and a formal agreement has been signed by a representative of ESDC. ESDC will notify you in writing of the outcome of the review of your application.

The maximum duration of a Skills Link agreement is 3 years.

Section 2b - project description

ESDC uses the information you provide in this section as part of the assessment in determining whether or not your proposed project is eligible for funding.

Question 43 - Project Objectives

Please outline the objectives of your project.

Project objectives should (but are not limited to):

  • be consistent with the funding program’s objectives;
  • identify a specific outcome(s) that the project is designed to accomplish (e.g. increase knowledge or skills);
  • ensure that these outcome(s) are measurable;
  • Identify who will benefit from the project; (e.g. Official Language Minority Communities {OLMC}); and,
  • show how meeting the project objectives will help to achieve the identified outcomes.

Project Objectives - provide a clear and measurable description of:

  • project objectives, activities, goals and measurable milestones;
  • expected outcomes, including how project activities will benefit the community and assist participants in acquiring employability skills, finding employment, becoming self-employed, or returning to school;
  • targets for the number of youth completing the project and the number of participants achieving the results listed above; and,
  • other positive outcomes related to proposed activities.

Question 44 - Project Activities

Please describe the proposed project activities.

Project activities are the steps that will be taken to meet the objectives of the project. Activities should be specific, measurable, realistic and relevant to the project objectives and demonstrate how the project outcome(s) will be achieved.

Your project should be broken down into various steps (milestones) that reliably show your expected progress and plans to complete the project on time and within budget.

Please include details about how the project will be delivered. For example, will there be third-party agreements, or will the organization deliver all aspects of the project?

There should be a clear link between the project activities and the project costs outlined in the project budget. The information you provide here will have a significant bearing on the assessment of your project and of your organization’s ability to undertake the project successfully.

Proposed Activities are key components of the proposal and should be clearly defined.

To be eligible for Skills Link funding, proposed projects must involve a minimum of 8 youth participants.

This section should include information about the participants you plan to recruit.

Participant information should describe the:

  • participants' recruitment method, (i.e. through interviews and/or information sessions, referrals from youth serving agencies, and other community organizations);
  • basis for selection of participants (i.e. eligibility criteria, interests, commitment, education and/or readiness for participation in a project);
  • participants targeted (i.e. youth facing barriers to employment and employment equity designated groups); and,
  • means by which participants' eligibility will be verified.

Question 45 - Expected Results of the Project

Please summarize the expected results of your project. The expected results of the project must be clearly linked to the project objectives. They must also be specific, concrete and measurable.

Expected results should be listed under the following Skills Link key performance indicators:

  • the targeted number of participants to be served;
  • the targeted number of participants who will become employed or self-employed; and,
  • the targeted number of participants who will return to school.


This project will have 20 participants and of these 20 participants:

  • 15 will have found employment
  • 3 will have returned to school
  • 2 will neither be employed nor return to school

Important - Under Skills Link, ESDC/Service Canada has established a minimum success rate of 70% of participants being employed or returning to school upon completion of their activities, with an expectation that the majority of successful participants will find employment.

Section 2c - project details

Question 46 - Does the project include results measurement indicators?

Please describe how you will meet and track the expected results of the project.

Having a clear strategy to measure results is the best way to ensure that you know how your project is progressing towards meeting the expected results. ESDC uses the information you provide in this section to assess the quality of your application and your capacity to demonstrate results.

Provide a description of how each participant's progress and achievements, and/or the overall success of the project will be measured, monitored and reported during and after the project.

Question 47 - Does the proposed project fit with your organization’s other activities?

Please describe how the project relates to the ongoing work of your organization. You may wish to highlight how past achievements and current activities and/or projects are related to your proposed project. This information helps ESDC to determine the extent to which your organization is able to undertake the proposed project and to achieve the expected results.

Question 48 - Will any of the project activities be delivered in a different location than where your organization is located?

Please indicate ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. If ‘yes’, please list the main address first, followed by each additional location.

If there are more than five locations, please include in Appendix A.

Question 49 - Is your project designed to benefit or involve people in English or French-language minority communities? If yes, please provide an explanation and any details on whether consultations will take place with these communities?

ESDC is committed to enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minorities in Canada by supporting and assisting their development and fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society. Official Language Minority Communities are English-speaking communities established within the province of Quebec and French-speaking communities established outside the province of Quebec.

If your proposed project will involve official language minority communities, you should answer ‘Yes’ to this question and ensure that this is listed and described in your answer to Question 43 - Project Objectives.

Please also identify the linguistic profile of the beneficiaries targeted by the project, document any special needs of the official language minority community and indicate whether or not they were consulted. The related budgetary items can be identified in Part 3 of the Application.

Answering ‘no’ to this question will not invalidate your application.

Question 50 - Will any other organizations, networks, or partners be involved in carrying out the project?

Some Programs require applicants to secure the involvement of other organizations, networks, or partners. If relevant, please describe the other group(s) or individual(s) as well as the role(s) and expertise they will bring to the project.

This information will help ESDC to assess the support base for your project.

This section should specify details concerning the:

  • employers' participation and other partners (i.e. type of organization, location, experience dealing with the target group, etc. );
  • proposed job descriptions outlining the roles and responsibilities of partners involved; and,
  • relationships between the various partners and the applicant, including monetary and/or in-kind contributions, and details concerning the specific involvement and relevant experience (if applicable) of each partner in the project.

Applicants and/or partners (including employers) may provide monetary and/or in-kind contributions that reflect a commitment to the success of the project. This funding could come from the private sector, not-for-profit organizations and/or other levels of government.

For example, the following template could be used as a starting point:


The organization is supported by several community partners who will act as host employers by offering work experiences to youth participants.

Cash contributions

Local employers will cover approximately 50% of the participants’ wages (or more, depending on the hourly rate) and will cover all of the employment-related costs during the work experience, which will last for 24 weeks.

In-kind contributions

RCM will deliver employability workshops and will organize employment-related activities throughout the project.

Note that although it is not a requirement of the Program to include cash or in-kind contributions from other sources (meaning other than the Department), a proposal which does so, preferably at a minimum amount of 20% of total project costs, will be given priority by the Program during assessment.

Question 51 - Does the proposed project address the Program’s priorities?

Please indicate ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. If ‘yes’, please select all that apply.

Program Priorities

  • work experience; and,
  • work experience within the private sector.

Question 52 - Does your project include activities that are listed in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s (CEAA) Regulations Designating Physical Activities established under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012?

Please Note: Applicants need to verify if their proposed activities are listed under the above Act - Please visit Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency website to access the list of Regulations Designating Physical Activities .

Please indicate ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

  • If the answer is NO - No Environmental Assessment will be required
  • If the answer is YES, then, as per the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, applicant must submit the project description electronically to the CEAA for further review. The CEAA will determine if an Environmental Assessment (EA) is required based on the project description.

Important: ESDC funding will be conditional upon receipt by ESDC of, as the case may be, CEAA confirmation that an EA is not required -or- a copy of the completed EA and confirmation that your organization is equipped to appropriately address the EA findings.

Part 3 - Funding

Section 3a - anticipated sources of contribution

ESDC’s funding programs generally encourage and/or require applicants to seek cash and/or in-kind contributions for their proposed project from other sources of funding. Each program has a ‘stacking limit’, that is, a maximum permitted amount of combined funding from federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments for any one project or initiative. Contributions to the project cannot exceed 100% of eligible expenditures.

ESDC uses the information provided in this section to verify that your funding request conforms to any stacking limit or requirement for funding from other sources.

‘Other sources of funding’ includes any source of funding (including from your organization) other than the program to which you are applying for funding.

Note that although leveraging other sources of funding is not mandatory, priority will be given to proposals which include, preferably at a minimum amount of 20% of total project costs, contributions from other sources, particularly from employers.

Question 53 - Source Name

Please include the name of the organization that will contribute funds and/or in-kind contributions to this project. ESDC should be listed as the first source name and any other sources listed below.

Question 54 - Source Type

Use the following list to identify the type of anticipated funding partner:

  1. Crown Corporation
  2. Federal Department or Agency
  3. Foreign Governments
  4. Not-for-Profit
  5. Private Sector
  6. Provincial/Territorial Government
  7. Regional or Municipal Government
  8. Sponsor/Organization/Contribution Recipient
  9. Union
  10. Other (please specify) (If employers are contributing please record this as ‘employer’)

Question 55 - Cash

Please include the amount of funding that will be provided.

Question 56 - In-kind ($ value)

In-kind contributions are non-monetary goods or services that may be contributed to the project by your organization or other organizations or partners for which your organization will not be requesting re-imbursement. In-kind support may include donated equipment, services or facilities necessary for the proposed project that would otherwise have to be purchased.

To be considered valid, in-kind contributions should contribute to the success of the project, and their monetary equivalent estimated at fair market value.

Question 57 - Confirmed Cash and In-Kind

Cash and In-kind contributions should be committed to in writing by the contributing party. Please check (x) if this has been confirmed.

When applicable, and if possible, written confirmation of partner involvement should be submitted prior to signing a contribution agreement.

Section 3b - project budget

ESDC uses the information provided in this section to assess the overall cost of the proposed project, as well as the general nature of the expenditures to be covered by all anticipated sources of funding.

Please find in Appendix B the Budget Detail Template which must be included as part of the application.

Question 58 - Cost Categories

Please summarize your project budget according to the Budget Detail Template attached in Appendix B.

Key elements to consider in determining the project budget are: contributions from other sources, duration of the project, occupations, prevailing wage rates and type of project activities. Please note that applicants must also detail monetary and/or in-kind contributions from other sources that reflect a commitment to the success of the project.

No costs are eligible as a contingency option. Costs must be foreseeable to be negotiated in the original agreement and will otherwise require a negotiation and amendment of the contribution agreement.

Costing Options for Skills Link

ESDC/SC has developed an approach whereby applicants to Skills Link can choose one of two costing options. One of these costing options includes a flat percentage rate developed to represent actual costs of delivering a project and/or operating a business. Contribution recipients must keep receipts and supporting documents that support the expenditures under the flat rate as they could be subject to an audit; and if asked must supply this supporting documentation. The options available to applicants are:

  1. Departmental Flat Percentage Rate: a flat percentage rate that is offered by the department for Projects Costs (type 3C in the eligible costs listing) and, if applicable, Administrative Costs (type 1A). The rates offered by ESDC/SC to applicants for Skills Link projects are:
    • 4% for Project Costs (3C) - (4% of {Staff Wages [3A] plus Participant Costs [3B]}); and
    • 10% for Administrative Costs (1A) - (10% of {Staff Wages [3A] plus Participant Costs [3B] plus Project Costs [3C]}); or,
  2. Reimbursement of Actual Costs: reimbursement is based on actual expenditures incurred.

The applicant will select a costing option and submit an application based on that chosen method. The costing option cannot be changed over the course of an agreement.

Also, choosing a costing option using a flat percentage rate requires that a flat percentage rate be used for cost type 3C as well as, if relevant, type 1A costs. In other words, applicants cannot choose a flat percentage rate for cost type 1A and request reimbursement for actual costs incurred for cost type 3C.

Cost Categories

Eligible expenditures are the expenses considered necessary to support the purpose of the funding. The following list of items consists of possible expenditures if they are related to the project’s activities and eligible under the program.

1. Administrative Costs

a) Administrative Costs

Means costs related to:

  • audit fees;
  • bank fees;
  • basic telephone fees (including fax lines);
  • contracting (if not contracted specifically to support the project), bookkeeping, janitorial services, Information Technology (IT), equipment maintenance services, security, translator, training fees, consultant fees, printing contracts fees (i.e. large job);
  • equipment repair and maintenance (includes photocopy meter charges);
  • insurance (fire, theft, liability);
  • IT maintenance;
  • legal fees;
  • materials and office supplies (e.g. pens, pencils, paper, envelopes, cleaning supplies, subscriptions);
  • monthly internet fees;
  • management and administrative staff wages not working on outcome of projects including Mandatory Employment Related Costs (MERCs), vacation pay and benefits;
  • operational printing contracted externally (business cards, letterhead, ad hoc unanticipated print jobs, minor updates and/or printing of organizational or program brochures, etc.);
  • other non-participant-based costs (e.g. water where public water is not safe for drinking, staff and volunteer recognition);
  • postage and courier fees; and,
  • staff and volunteer transportation (bus fare, taxi and parking required for delivery of project activities but not part of travel claims; does NOT include monthly parking fees nor bus pass).

Note: if using a flat rate option, include the total amount calculated for Type 1A costs. In that case, details by cost item are not required.

2. Capital Costs

a) Capital Assets

Any asset/expenditure requiring agreement of disposition, with a purchase cost exceeding $1,000 (before tax). For example:

  • computer;
  • furniture; and,
  • software.

All capital purchases require prior written approval from ESDC/SC and must include a plan for disposal upon completion of the project. Also, it is sound business practice to obtain more than one quote when purchasing capital assets.

3. Direct Costs

a) Staff Wages

Means wages, MERCs and benefits paid to or on behalf of staff working directly on the project. MERCs mean Mandatory Employment Related Costs and include Employment Insurance Premiums, Canada Pension Plan / Quebec Pension Plan contributions, vacation pay, etc.). Benefits means payments an employer is required to make by virtue of company policy or a collective agreement such as contributions to a group pension plan.

b) Participant Costs

Means participant wages and Mandatory Employment-Related Costs (MERCs); Completion bonuses; other employment-related benefit costs where warranted by current organizational Human Resources policies and/or provincial/territorial labour standards

General project participant costs:

  • adaptive-technology set-up;
  • dependent care;
  • disability-related incremental costs (i.e. additional per diems for fees for assistance provided, etc.);
  • disability-related supports (attendant care, note takers, sign language interpreters);
  • emergency assistance (financial assistance provided to a participant to cover accommodation, food, laundry, telephone calls {including these costs related to relocation});
  • living expenses (including these costs related to relocation);
  • materials and supplies, books and testing materials to be used by/for participants;
  • participation and completion recognition;
  • professional fees related to participants - sub-contracting (i.e. vocational assessments, needs assessments, guest speakers, etc.);
  • travel, transportation (including these costs related to relocation); and,
  • tuition fees.

c) Project Costs

If you have chosen the flat rate option, cost items do not need to be detailed or negotiated. However, for audit purposes, it is important to keep in mind that this category means:

  • advertising (newspaper ads, website ads, flyers, etc.);
  • conference attendance fees;
  • conference fees (meeting room rental, guest speakers, etc.);
  • equipment lease, rental or purchase (including computers, fax machines, etc.); Computer software (with a value that is less than the amount identified in the funding agreement under the disposition of capital assets clause or without lease to own);
  • furniture (with a value that is less than the amount identified in the funding agreement under the disposition of capital assets clause);
  • goods and services tax (GST) / Harmonized sales tax (HST) / Provincial sales tax (PST);
  • hospitality;
  • materials and office supplies (e.g. pens, pencils, paper, envelopes, cleaning supplies, subscriptions);
  • memberships fees (professional and organizational), affiliation fees and business licenses and permits;
  • professional fees related to project activities;
  • reference materials (books, periodicals, subscriptions, etc., which cannot be easily traced/tracked back to usage by project participants);
  • signage;
  • significant project costs associated with the following types of expenditures (non- standard/non-basic amounts over and above the regular, day-to-day operational costs):
    1. contracting (if contracted specifically to support the project) (e.g. bookkeeping, janitorial services, Information Technology (IT), equipment maintenance services, security, audit costs, legal fees, translator, training);
    2. internet (web page design, etc.) and other IT requirements (significant costs associated with project activities, which increase expected internet related costs beyond normal operating requirements);
    3. postage fees (significant costs associated with project activities, which increase expected costs of postage beyond normal operating requirements);
    4. printing fees (significant costs associated with project activities, which increase expected printing costs beyond normal operating requirements);
    5. telephone (installation and extraordinary costs related to telephones and/or fax lines required over and above regular operating requirements);
  • staff disability supports (duty to accommodate);
  • staff training for disability-related issues (e.g. sign language training);
  • utilities; and,
  • support to individuals.

d) Rent

Means rent, lease (including applicant owned premises), repairs and leasehold improvements.

Note: For each space rented detail the cost per square footage, monthly and for the length of the project in the Detailed Budget Description column. Detail all costs related to the rental (e.g. security, secretariat, parking, etc.) in that column as well. The rent must be in line with fair market value.

e) Travel

Means staff, consultant and volunteer travel (costs may include transportation costs, taxi, kilometric charges, per diems, accommodation, etc.) as per staff/volunteer travel claims.

Ineligible Cost

  • costs associated with fundraising activities;
  • Canada Revenue Agency or payroll penalties;
  • parking tickets;
  • fines or penalties;
  • entertainment costs;
  • depreciation on fixed assets;
  • board membership fees;
  • capital costs for the construction of a building (other than minor repairs or renovations) or the purchase of land or buildings;
  • purchase of motor vehicles;
  • legal fees and court awards for inappropriate dismissal or other inappropriate/illegal activity;
  • membership fees for privates clubs, etc. (golf clubs, gyms, etc.) unless part of existing (non-monetary) employment benefits package;
  • staff salary bonuses if not originally negotiated into agreement;
  • purchase of alcoholic beverages;
  • purchase of any illegal substances;
  • mentor and/or coach wages;
  • unreasonable gifts or unreasonable payments for recognition; and,
  • other costs ineligible as per program terms and conditions.

Applicants shall not request the payment of any charge or fee from participants for their participation in the project.

Costs can be based on historical data but they must also reflect current rates of similar costs in the geographical location of the project. Depending upon your organization's taxable status, you may be entitled to receive a portion of the GST paid on goods and services reimbursed by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). As such, it is important to declare your organization's GST reimbursement rate to ESDC/SC on the submission of your application for funding so that ESDC/SC does not reimburse a second time for the same cost. In your proposal, the budgeted amount of a cost item should include only the GST portion eligible to be claimed.

Contracting and Subcontracting

Clearly identify in your application any use of contribution funds that may result in a contract or subcontract of $25,000 or over. Contribution recipients must receive approval, in writing, from ESDC/SC for all such contracts. Contribution recipients must also receive approval in writing for the subcontracting of any part of the project activities. All contracts and subcontracts of $25,000 and over must involve a competitive process including at least three bids, otherwise, a justification for sole-sourcing must be provided in writing to ESDC and approved by the appropriate ESDC/SC official. Please note that contracting and subcontracting with non-arms-length organizations is not permitted.

For all cost categories where travel costs are requested, applicants must indicate, in the Detailed Budget Description column, who in the project will require travel, the reason, the destination, the period, the transportation method (including tokens or commute transportation passes), the meals and the accommodation, if applicable. An approximation of the mileage required must be included, if applicable. Travel rates cannot exceed National Joint Council rates.

Other Participant Costs

Financial assistance may be provided to individuals to cover all or a portion of living expenses. Assistance may also be provided to cover all or part of the incremental costs related to participation such as living expenses, disability-related supports and incremental costs, dependant care costs, transportation and accommodation costs. Provide a description of the type of assistance required and how many individuals it will benefit. Also indicate how it is related to the individual's participation in the project.

When completing questions 58-61 on the application please provide budget totals for categories 1, 2 and 3.

Any detail or additional information regarding the proposed budget that does not fit on the Budget Detail Template (Appendix B) can be included in Question 64.

Question 59 - 61 - ESDC/ Other - Cash/ Other - In-kind

Please provide the total planned expenditures.

Section 3c - budget details

Question 62 - Associated Businesses or Individuals.

Please check all statements that apply to your planned expenditures of ESDC funding.

In carrying-out projects, contribution recipients may have to purchase various goods or services needed to perform the project from contractors. Some recipients may also contract-out with third-parties (i.e. outside providers) to perform part of the project activities and aid the contribution recipient to achieve the objectives of the project.

‘Associated Businesses or Individuals’ means:

  • an officer, director or employee of your organization;
  • a member of the immediate family of an officer, director or employee of your organization;
  • a business in which an officer, director or employee of your Organization, or a member of their immediate family, has a financial interest; or,
  • a business which is related to, or associated or affiliated with, your organization.

Question 63 - Capital Assets: Are capital assets among your planned expenditures with ESDC funding? Please indicate Yes or No.

Explain how your project will benefit from the purchase of capital assets. A disposal plan for the capital assets should also be included.

A capital asset is any single or composite asset with a purchase value of more than $1,000 that is not physically incorporated into another product and that remains functional at the end of the project.

A composite asset is a collection of unique assets that form one identifiable functional unit, where all components are required for the asset to be functional. The collection of assets is treated as a single capital asset if the total cost of all individual items together is greater than $1,000 (before tax).

For example, a personal computer composed of a hard-drive, a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse and cabling is a composite capital asset. Four $300 chairs are not capital assets because each chair is functional on its own and, as single units, fall below the established threshold of $1,000 (before tax).

Capital Costs

Any asset with a purchase cost exceeding $1,000 (before tax) requires prior written approval from ESDC, and must include a plan for disposal upon completion of the project. Also, it is a sound business practice to obtain more than one quote when purchasing capital assets.

Question 64 - Further Budget Details

Part 4 - Declaration

Please ensure that your application is signed by an official, authorized representative of your organization. People with signing authority are normally one or more of the executive members of the board of directors (president, vice president, secretary or treasurer) and employees of the organization (chief executive officer, executive director, chiefs of finance or human resources).

The Application for Funding must be signed in accordance with the organization’s statutes, by-laws or other constituting documents. For example, the president and the chief financial officer may be required to sign all outgoing documents.

Appendix - A

Please use this section to complete questions from previous sections of the application; and specify the question or section meant to be continued.

Appendix - B

5. Submit your application

Employers and organizations may submit their completed applications online, in-person or by mail. Please consult the list to find out where to submit an application in your area.

6. Follow-up after you apply

Under normal conditions, we will acknowledge receipt of your proposal within 21 calendar days of receiving your application.

We will notify you, in writing whether or not your application has been approved.

Decisions are final; applicants have no right of appeal.

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