Apply for funding for National operating funding stream - Social Development Partnerships Program – Disability

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Application period

You can apply between March 28, 2022 and May 27, 2022 at 5 pm Eastern Time (EST). 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 May 27, 2022 at 3 pm Eastern Time (EST).

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will communicate decisions to applicants within 16 weeks from the closing of the application period.

For any questions, please contact us. Note that we will also be holding information sessions.

Description of the funding

The Social Development Partnerships Program - Disability Component (SDPP-D) is a grants and contributions program that seeks to improve the participation and social inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of Canadian society. SDPP-D provides operating and project funding to not-for-profit organizations.

The programs national operating funding stream was renewed in 2017 under the principles of a Performance and Accountability Framework (Framework).The collaboration of the disability community was essential to informing the direction of the program renewal. The Framework addresses the main objectives identified by the disability community:

  • fairness – ensure that eligible organizations can apply for operating funding through a competitive process
  • transparency – provide a more open and transparent process
  • predictability – bring greater stability and potential sustainability to funded recipients
  • accountability – implement reporting by recipients on performance, and expected outcomes to strengthen accountability for the use of public funds

SDPP-D National Operating Funding supports capacity building efforts of national not-for-profit disability organizations in 4 key capacity areas:

  1. governance and accountability
  2. effective leadership and operations
  3. developing and maintaining partnerships
  4. measurable impact

The funding envelope for this Call for Proposals (CFP) is $6,000,000 annually, for a total of $18,000,000 over 3 years.

Note that over this 3-year funding period, ESDC will work with organizations towards a more equitable and sustainable funding model. Following this transition period, any subsequent Calls for Proposals will seek to balance the needs of organizations within the available funding envelope, using levers such as a maximum funding ceiling applicable to all organizations.

The maximum funding available per agreement will be as follows:

Organizations currently funded under the SDPP-D national operating stream can apply for up to their current funding allocation or up to the maximum eligible amount of $200K annually ($600K over 3 years) – the higher of the 2.

Organizations not currently funded under the SDPP-D national operating stream can apply for up to $200K annually ($600K over 3 years).

It is estimated that 20 to 35 agreements could be funded through this process.

Agreements are expected to be in place beginning April 1, 2023.


The objective of this CFP is to support the capacity of national disability organizations to meaningfully and measurably increase the social inclusion of persons with disabilities in Canadian society.


To apply, your application must meet all of the following mandatory eligibility criteria.

Eligible applicants

In order to be eligible for funding, your organization must:

  1. be a national, not-for-profit organization, with a primary mandate that promotes the social inclusion of persons with disabilities across Canada
  2. have national reach through current activities that aim to advance social inclusion of persons with disabilities across Canada. National reach can be achieved through an active membership or network, regional and/or provincial/territorial offices and affiliates across Canada. Applicants must be able to demonstrate reach across 3 or more regions. Applicants will be required to provide information on the nature of their organization’s activities and the relationship with their affiliates (questions 9 and 24 of the applicant guide)
  3. be governed by a Board of Directors comprised of a majority (for example, minimum 51%) of persons with disabilities and/or disability-related lived experience (which can be self-identified) (question 9 in the application guide)
  4. demonstrate cash and/or in-kind contributions equal to or greater than 30% of total funding requested. (Letters from all contributing sources must confirm that the cash and/or in-kind contributions are readily available once funding is approved).This needs to be secured through sources other than the Government of Canada. This can include sources of funding provided by the applicant’s organization. In completing the application, the organization will be required to outline their total anticipated operating budget per year and provide detailed source(s) of funding, including potential funding from the Government of Canada. (Part 3: Funding in the application form)
  5. submit proof (with your application) of strategic partnerships through letters of support, from a minimum of 2 partnering organizations. (question 32 in the application guide). These letters must confirm the duration and expertise of the partnership. Partnerships should help improve the organization’s capacity during the course of the agreement. Note that priority will be given to partnerships that focus on collectively addressing existing and evolving social issues faced by persons with disabilities

Note to organizations located and operating in Québec

Act respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif, The Québec National Assembly adopted an Act respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif (RLRQ, chapter M-30). This Act provides, in particular, that all Québec public bodies must obtain the authorization of the Québec government before entering into any agreement with the federal government, one of its departments or government agencies, or with a federal public agency. Any entity that is subject to the Act is responsible for obtaining the necessary authorization prior to the conclusion of such an agreement. If your proposed project is successful, ESDC will allow a reasonable amount of time for you to obtain the authorization from the Government of Québec. If you are unable to obtain the required authorization in a reasonable amount of time, your application could be rejected.

Ineligible applicants

  • Individuals
  • For profit organizations
  • Provincial, territorial governments
  • Municipal governments
  • Crown corporations

Eligible activities

When applying, organizations will be expected to outline the activities they are proposing to undertake in the 4 key capacity areas, along with anticipated timelines and resources to be allocated accordingly.

Activities that build organizational capacity are listed below by key capacity areas. Please note that this list is not exclusive.

Governance and accountability

  • Develop and implement an organizational strategic plan
  • Develop and implement a sustainability plan
  • Evaluate and improve board effectiveness

Effective leadership and operations

  • Develop human resources products and tools informed by Gender-based analysis plus (GBA+)
  • Establish and implement recruitment and retention strategies
  • Develop and implement policies, programs and/or services informed by GBA+ considerations
  • Develop effective practices based on lessons learned from COVID-19 (for example, focus on emergency preparedness, reaching vulnerable populations, adapting delivery of workshops and conferences to an online audience; adapting service delivery and programming to include permanent online options)

Developing and maintaining partnerships

  • Develop and implement collaborative initiatives to strengthen the not-for-profit disability sector and increase sector sustainability (for example, working together to develop exchange and apply knowledge, tools and resources to collectively advance social inclusion)
  • Build and improve networks and coalitions to work together to address intersectional issues that impact diverse groups of persons with disabilities in Canada

Measurable impact

  • Implement results-based management processes and systems to improve performance measurement, risk management, and evaluation
  • Improve organizational capacity to conduct analyses of policies, programs and services
  • Conducting a GBA+ in order to identify the needs of diverse groups among persons with disabilities
  • Evaluating current activities based on GBA+ analysis to identify gaps in programming, research, partnerships, advocacy, etc.


Proposals must show how activities support the specific outcomes and outputs that have been developed for this funding process. Successful applicants will be required to report on performance indicators annually as part of their agreement. Consult question 25 in the application form for a list of immediate and intermediate outcomes, and outputs.

Monitoring progress is a way to ensure that you meet the expected results.

Performance indicators (required)

We have developed specific performance indicators for this funding process and successful applicants must report on them as part of their agreement. You must report on all immediate indicators annually, and report on all intermediate indicators in the final report.

Please show how your organization will collect, track and monitor data for each indicator. Common data collection approaches include:

  • surveys
  • key informant interviews
  • focus groups
  • attendance tracking and
  • verbal feedback

Immediate indicators (quarterly or annual reporting - TBD)

You may need to submit financial claims on a quarterly basis. With these claims, you may also need to include a report that provides a summary of activities that have taken place in that time period (we will provide you with a template).

A detailed annual report is required and must include the ways your organization increased its capacity in key areas during the reporting cycle (narrative).

Governance and accountability

  • Ways in which your strategic plan informs the operations, programming, etc. of your organization. For example:
    • frequency of discussions among the Board of Directors of the organization’s performance using a strategic plan that is aligned with the organization’s vision, mission and core values
    • frequency of meetings with senior level management and/or employees to discuss the implementation of the strategic plan or to evaluate its effectiveness, etc.

Effective leadership and operations

  • Organization develops new and/or operationalizes (for example, through training) existing policies and procedures covering a range of issues (for example, HR policies and practices for hiring and staff retention, diversity policies and planning, current financial practices, etc.)
  • Organization evaluates level of staff satisfaction with organizational culture (for example, communication, opportunity to work with management, engagement of employees, diversity of organization, etc.)

Developing and maintaining partnerships

  • Nature and Frequency of communication with partners (for example, monthly meetings, annual events, etc.)
  • Ways in which partnerships and collaborations were mobilized to address social issues and challenges for persons with disabilities over the reporting cycle

Measurable impact

  • Number and purpose of communications that are disseminated to partners, clients, membership organizations, etc. (for example, knowledge dissemination; advocacy; public awareness; activity updates)
  • Annual satisfaction rate of participants, consumers, members with organizations ongoing activities
  • Ways in which the organization used GBA+ analysis to identify and address the needs of diverse groups of persons with disabilities. For example:
    • the organization conducts a gender-based analysis+ in order to identify the needs of diverse groups among persons with disabilities
    • the organization evaluates current activities based on GBA+ analysis to identify gaps in programming, research, partnerships, advocacy, etc.

Intermediate outcome indicators (final reporting)

The intermediate outcome indicators are intended as a tool to gain insight related to the longer-term impact of SDPP-D National Operating Funding. These indicators are qualitative and organizations will be asked to provide a brief narrative for each in their final report:

  • ways in which increased capacity enabled your organization to more effectively advance the social inclusion of persons with disabilities (for example, increased opportunities for persons with disabilities to access services/programming; expanded reach through partnerships; diverse communities engaged)
  • ways in which this funding contributed to organizational and/or sector sustainability (how outputs and results will be sustained beyond SDPP-D funding – mechanism or approach for sustaining capacity resources – for example, formally integrating capacity resources in the operations of the organization, formalizing partnerships, etc.)
  • ways in which this funding contributed to collective action through collaborations and partnerships (for example, stakeholders coming together through a common agenda/mutually reinforcing activities/structured network or collaboration to collectively advance the social inclusion of persons with disabilities)
  • ways in which GBA+ considerations have informed the organizations approach (for example, GBA+ analysis considers the specific needs and diverse experiences of the key populations represented and/or served; GBA+ is used as an input into the design of programs/services/projects)

Eligible costs

Examples of eligible expenditures:

  • wages and mandatory employment costs
  • overhead costs include expenditures related to the recipient’s central administrative functions used to support activities, for example:
    • rent
    • postage
    • telephones
    • information technology (IT)
  • fees for professional services including:
    • consultants
    • research
    • translation
  • materials and supplies
  • staff training and professional development
  • printing and communications
  • computer and library services
  • research, evaluation, data collection and analysis
  • travel in accordance with the National Joint Council’s Travel Directive
  • other costs necessary to support the purpose of funding as approved by ESDC

Ineligible costs

Examples of ineligible costs:

  • the purchase of real property
  • consultant fees for individuals who are also receiving a salary from your organization or its partner
  • costs incurred to prepare the proposal
  • entertainment costs
  • costs incurred before an agreement is approved and signed by ESDC and after the end day of the agreement
  • fines or penalties
  • purchase of alcohol

How we assess your application

If your application is eligible, ESDC will assess your application based on the following criteria:

A - Relevance (total 35%)

A1. Reach and scope of the organization (15%)

Organizations with the greatest reach and scope will be prioritized for funding. For example:

  • organizations with extensive membership, affiliates, and/or offices across Canada
  • organizations that have a broad view of the Canadian disability landscape and contribute to advancing social inclusion for diverse persons with disabilities at the national level (for example, umbrella organizations that support and enhance the work of multiple, and diverse organizations at the local/regional/national level)

A2. Meeting the objectives of this CFP and overall relevance of the activities (20%)

The proposal must include a clear and detailed justification as to why the funding is needed and how it will add value to the organization. The objectives are clear, achievable, quantifiable and measurable. The proposal shows how it will meet the objective of the program, which seeks to improve the participation and social inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of Canadian society.

B – Agreement management (total 45%)

B1. Activities, timelines and feasibility (15%)

The proposal provides a clear description of each activity. Activities are relevant to the objectives and demonstrate how the outcomes will be achieved. Activities are detailed, measurable and realistic. Timelines are clearly established and feasible.

B2. Experience in delivering similar activities and demonstrating positive results (10%)

The proposal includes a description of previous funding (with ESDC/Service Canada or other funding partners) and their achievements in order to demonstrate that:

  • the applicant has previous experience in delivering national projects and achieving positive results for persons with disabilities through programming, partnership development, research and knowledge dissemination, service delivery and/or advocacy

B3. Results and Impact (10%)

The expected results (for example, outputs and outcomes) are clearly linked to the proposed objectives. The expected results are specific, concrete and measurable. Note that the proposal must include expected results and performance indicators identified under question 24 and question 25 of the application form. The proposal explains how it will share lessons learned.

B4. Partnerships (10%)

The extent to which the applicant demonstrates how its partnerships are strategic. Please refer to the definition of “strategic partnerships” in the glossary.

Note that priority will be given to partnerships that focus on collectively addressing existing and evolving social issues faced by persons with disabilities.

C - Budget (total 20%)

C1. Costs (20%)

The proposal includes costs that are eligible, reasonable, and support the activities.

Allocation of funding

Funding allocations will be subject to availability of funds. This is a competitive process, and there is no guarantee that organizations that have received National Operating Funding in the past will be awarded funding through this call for proposals.

Steps to apply

1. Gather your supporting documents and information

Before submitting your application for funding, ensure that you have included all of the required documents in your application package, in order for your application package to be complete. The following documents are required:

  1. completed application form (EMP5671) online or by hand
  2. authorization by a delegated authority for your organization
  3. proof of organization type and status
  4. letters of support showing proof of partnerships (minimum 2)

If your application is incomplete, your application may be deemed ineligible for funding.

2. Decide how to apply

Apply online

  1. Create your GCOS account. It may take up to 10 business days to finalize your GCOS account. You are strongly encouraged to initiate the one-time GCOS account creation process as soon as possible
  2. Read the applicant guide in its entirety as it describes specific information you need to provide for each question of the form
  3. Complete the Budget detail template (PDF Format, 496 KB) and upload it in GCOs

Apply by email or mail

  1. Read the applicant guide to complete your application form. This guide includes details for each question of the form
  2. Complete the application form (EMP5671) and the Budget detail template (PDF Format, 496 KB)
  3. Print and sign the signature pages
  4. Send your complete application package by email or by mail to:
      • Indicate the following information in the subject line of your email(s):
        • name of your organization
        • if you have to send your application package in multiple emails, specify if it is part 1 or part 2

      Note: Emails cannot exceed 13.5MB. Please confirm that your email including all supporting documents was sent properly. We will not accept cloud-based documents or applications submitted via USB key, CD or other storage devices. Applications sent using such means will be deemed ineligible.

    • mailing address
      SDPP-D National Operating Funding 2022 CFP (Submissions)
      Coordination Unit mailstop 402
      National Grants & Contributions Delivery Centre (ESDC)
      Phase IV, 4th floor
      140 Promenade du Portage
      Gatineau QC  K1A 0J9
PDF forms help

The application for funding form uses PDF technology.

To complete this form, you must download and save the document to your computer first.

Do not complete the form in your internet browser.

These forms require the latest version of Adobe Reader, version 8 or higher, including:

  • Acrobat Reader DC, or
  • Foxit Reader

They are only accessible through Mac or Windows computer systems. Mobile devices (smartphones or tablets) are not compatible with the form.

If you do not already have such a reader, there are several versions available on the Internet. The latest version of Adobe Reader and Foxit Reader can be downloaded for free.

If you are having technical issues or need to provide your proposal in an alternate format (such as in a Word document), please contact us.

After you have applied

We will review your application and decide if you will receive funding.

We expect to make funding decisions 16 weeks from the end date of the submission period.


You will receive an automatic confirmation of receipt

By email

You will receive an automatic confirmation of receipt by email.

By mail

You will receive a confirmation of receipt by email within 14 business days. We will use the email address you provided in your application.

Contact us

If you have questions or need accommodations, please email us at We will answer questions sent before May 27, 2022 at 3 pm, Eastern Time (EST).

Information sessions

We will hold information sessions, which will be voluntary for individuals who would like further information. You will be able to participate online or by teleconference.

An overview of the program will be provided during the session and we will be available to respond to your questions.

If you are interested in taking part in an information session, please send an email at In your email, please indicate the date and preferred language of the information session you wish to attend. We will provide you with the information and instructions on how to participate.

Please let us know if you require an accommodation to participate.

The dates for the sessions are as follows:

  • April 6, 2022 at 1 pm (EST)
  • April 20, 2022 at 1 pm (EST)

Sessions will be bilingual, with interpretation in both official languages. They will also be fully accessible and include American Sign Language (ASL), Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART).


Capacity building
The process by which organizations obtain, improve, and retain the skills, knowledge, tools, equipment, and other resources needed to perform at a greater capacity (for example, developing partnerships; enhancing performance measurement skills; reaching a larger audience).

The Accessible Canada Act defines disability as:

“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”.

This definition is based on the social model of disability.

Diverse populations of persons with disabilities
Persons with disabilities with diverse identities and experiences based on factors like gender, disability, race, ethnicity, indigenous identity, sexuality, age, income, education, and mental health.
Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+)

An analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and non-binary people may experience policies, programs and initiatives. The “plus” in GBA+ acknowledges that GBA+ goes beyond biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) differences to consider many other identity factors, such as race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.

Please visit the Gender-based Analysis Plus page to learn more about it.

In-kind contribution

Any contribution other than cash, like service and/or resources that are offered freely to an organization that would otherwise have a real market value and be considered an eligible cost under the SDPP-D program. These contributions could include (not limited to):

  • sharing of knowledge and expertise
  • use of office space
  • use of equipment (for example, computers, software, etc.)
  • sharing of staff (for example, certain hours of staff time offered to the organization by a partner, but for which the organization is not charged)

Intersectionality is defined as the understanding that people’s identities and social positions are uniquely shaped by several factors at the same time, creating unique experiences and perspectives (for example, race, age, gender, sexuality, income, education; citizenship status; living in a rural/remote vs. urban community).

An intersectional approach is important to understanding how diverse populations of persons with disabilities experience barriers to social inclusion (for example, the relationship between social exclusion and racism). Building partnerships and coalitions is important to advancing social inclusion from an intersectional perspective (for example, with organizations working with racialized communities; anti-poverty organizations; LGBTQ2+ persons/groups; youth with disabilities, etc.).

A process through which funded organizations use one source of funds to obtain cash/or and in-kind contributions from partners to assist in the development and implementation of their projects.
Lived experience, disability-related

People who self-identify with a disability and/or people with a family member with a disability and/or people who are providing caregiving to a person with a disability.

  • Caregiving refers to support required to facilitate full participation and inclusion for persons living with disabilities, beyond the care provided by professionals
  • Family members may include any family relative, whether or not related by marriage, common-law partnership, or any legal parent child relationship
Outcomes are the changes that are expected to occur as a result of activities and outputs, and answer the question: “How do the activities/outputs lead to improvements for the beneficiaries?” Outcomes are often not within the control of a single organization, but are within the area of an organization’s influence.
Outcome – Immediate
An outcome that is directly attributable to a policy, program or initiative’s outputs. In terms of timeframe and level, these are short-term outcomes and are often at the level of an increase in awareness of a target population.
Outcome – Intermediate
An outcome that is expected to logically occur once one or more immediate outcomes have been achieved. These are medium-term outcomes and are often at the change of behaviour level among a target population.
Outputs are direct products, services or partnerships that have been created to generate the desired outcomes. Several activities can contribute to one output. Outputs answer the question: “what will the funding produce?”.
Represent any collaboration or network that organizations engage in with individuals or other groups during the course of a funding agreement. Partners need to be active supporters, outside of the applicant organization that have an interest in the success of the organization’s activities. Partners can contribute resources, either in-cash and/or in-kind (for example, time, resources, expertise).
Strategic partnerships

Partnerships that are critical for an organization’s ability to carry out its mandate and deliver results. In the context of the National Operating Funding Social Development Partnership Program – Disability, key strategic partnerships are those that:

  • strengthen organizational capacity to achieve mandate (for example, sharing knowledge on evaluation and measurement; sharing best practices towards strategic objectives)
  • strengthen connections across the disability sector and promoting sector sustainability via collaborative initiatives (for example, pooling resources to develop, exchange and apply knowledge, tools and resources)
  • engage with diverse stakeholders (for example, private sector, different levels of government, other not-for-profit organizations working towards inclusion) to advance social inclusion for persons with disabilities; and
  • expand an organizations capacity to address barriers to social inclusion by seeking out partnerships that bring in a variety of perspectives and voices (for example, adopting an intersectional approach through partnerships with diverse organizations led by and working with diverse populations)
Social inclusion
Circumstances in which individuals have the opportunity to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from economic, social, political and cultural life. Promoting, or advancing social inclusion requires tackling social exclusion by removing barriers to people’s participation in society, as well as by taking active inclusionary measures to facilitate such participation.
Strategic plan
A document that clearly establishes the direction of an organization over the long term. It aligns the vision, mission, and core values that reflect the goals and objectives set by the organization. It provides actions needed to achieve these goals and objectives and ensures their assessment against the expected results.
Sustainability plan
A plan describing how an organization will sustain the capacity supports developed and implemented during the funding period beyond the funding term.

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