Who can apply


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


To be eligible for funding, your organization must:

  • be a not-for-profit organization
  • have a primary mandate that promotes the social inclusion of persons with disabilities across Canada
  • have national reach, determined through the ways in which current activities advance the social inclusion of persons with disabilities across three or more regions
  • 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)

Note: If your organization’s board of directors does not meet the majority target at the time of submitting a funding application due to a recent departure by a board member, your organization may still be considered eligible to receive funding. If this applies to your organization, please include a plan to achieve a majority target within 6 months of the start of this funding (for example, by April 30, 2024).

There are 2 streams within this CFP, applicants may submit only 1 proposal per stream; however, they can be included as a partner in more than one collaborative proposal. If more than 1 proposal is received per stream by the same applicant, only the first one will be considered.

Note to organizations located and operating in Québec
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.


Projects must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • be no longer than 24 months
  • request a minimum of $250,000
  • request no more than $500,000
  • build the organizational capacity of disability organizations
  • strengthen and sustain the sector’s capacity and expertise so that they can grow their organizations and fully participate in the spirit of ‘Nothing Without Us
  • have 4 major phases: initiation, planning, implementation, and evaluation

Projects must facilitate at least 1 of the following outcomes

Please note that the quality of the information you provide is more important than the number of outcomes you address. For example, meeting the minimum of 1 outcome fully explained and outlined will be scored higher than attempting to cover all 5 items but with reduced details.

  • Building stronger and more resilient organizations to attract resources, including reimagining mandate or strategic activities in a post COVID context
  • Reviewing and enhancing internal policy and governance infrastructure to adapt to changing needs
  • Developing the strategic leadership capacity within the organization(s) to facilitate the active engagement of persons with disabilities
  • Developing and implementing ways to measure and amplify impact
  • Building peer learning cohorts intended to enhance community capacity to meet the needs of organizations supporting social inclusion of persons with disabilities

Ineligible projects

  • Creating a new website, a new web page, or updating a website
    • A website could be mentioned in a project that is offered mainly online such as an online helpline. However, the website should not be the main component of the project and a plan on how to maintain the website post funding agreement needs to be included in the proposal
  • Creating mailing lists/database, distribution lists, and membership lists
  • Hiring a third party to conduct diversity, equity, and inclusion review of the organization’s internal capacity
  • Producing lists or compiling information that can already be found online such as an information guide


Example of eligible activities:

  • research and data collection: projects that facilitate evidence-based decision-making and help collect data on specific issues and emerging trends impacting persons with disabilities and the ways in which organizations can respond. An organization can partner with a research centre to explore issues such as service gaps, effective practices for accessibility and inclusivity and the effectiveness of organizational management and planning within the disability sector
  • leadership development skills: Projects that empower and train future leaders and professionals in the disability sector to enhance professional skills and growth. These initiatives could include:
    • leadership development:
      • building managerial capacity, for example, succession planning
      • advocacy and policy-related capacity development: strengthening collaboration among organizations, for example, establishing formalized networks, resource sharing
      • organizational management skills: ensuring long-term sustainability, for example, diversification of funding sources
      • effective communication: increasing access to evidence, data, information, and knowledge sources
  • strengthening internal capacity: Activities that contribute to the professional development of not-for-profit disability organizations. This could include:
    • strategic planning and board governance development
    • program development
    • financial management and sustainability: ensuring long-term sustainability for example, diversification of funding sources, fundraising strategies, developing knowledge and expertise in grant writing
  • peer-based performance improvement: These types of projects will support performance measurement by fostering a culture of learning, reflection and effective practice sharing. This could include:
    • a partnership between various disability organizations to create platforms or networks where organizations can compare their performance metrics, review processes and mechanisms, get feedback and share successful strategies, while identifying areas for improvement and learning

What the funding can be used to pay for (eligible expenditures)

The following lists what the funding from this opportunity can be used to pay for. This list is also known as eligible costs.

All costs must be tied directly to the financial requirements of the proposed project to be eligible.

Administration costs

Eligible cost items

Administrative costs are organizations’ fundamental operational expenses not directly related to undertaking the proposed project activities but necessary for the organization to successfully manage activities outlined in the work plan and to administer the reporting requirements, if necessary, of the grant agreement, including project management costs.

Administration costs will be calculated at a flat rate of 15% based on the total activity costs in the budget. This flat rate will cover costs of project management and administrative staff salaries (managing and reporting), use of office accommodations, use of office equipment and use of office materials.

The administration cost list (consult below) identifies costs that would be covered in the flat rate. Please ensure that salaries and benefits or other direct project related costs should be requested under “Project costs” and not “Administration costs”.

Note these costs include: management and administrative staff wages related to the project, but for staff not working directly on outcome of projects, including those who negotiate service contracts, pay the invoices, manage the project budget, monitor and/or prepare the claims and any financial progress/performance reports for the project.

  • Audit fees
  • Bank fees
  • Insurance (fire, theft, liability)
  • Legal fees
  • Overhead costs include expenditures related to the recipient’s central administrative functions used to support activities, for example:
    • office space (rent) and related utilities
    • basic telephone fees (including fax lines) and cell phones
    • materials and office supplies (for example, pens, pencils, paper, envelopes, cleaning supplies, subscriptions)
    • monthly internet fees
    • postage and courier fees
    • office equipment (for example, computers, printers, photocopiers)
    • accommodation-related supports for employees
    • administrative information technology (IT) products and services, including maintenance

Please note that to ease the burden of the application process, administrative items have been assigned a flat rate of 15% of the total project costs. For more information, consult the budget section.

Project costs

  • Salaries, Mandatory Employment Related Costs (MERCs), and benefits and/or contract services
  • Fees for professional services including:
    • consultants
    • research
    • translation
    • accommodations related to project delivery (American Sign Language (ASL), Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ), Communications access realtime translation (CART) etc.)
  • 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 DirectiveFootnote 1
  • Other costs necessary to support the purpose of funding as approved by ESDC

Example 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

Other eligibility requirements

To be eligible applications must:

  • be received by the deadline of December 21, 2023 at 5 p.m. EST
  • have the attestation checked
  • be complete and include all supporting documents

How we assess your application

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

We will review your application in 3 steps by:

  • Step 1: Screening for eligibility (questions 4, 5, 9, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 31 of the application)

    We will screen for eligibility based on whether the:

    • application is received by the deadline
    • application is complete
    • organization is eligible
    • project is eligible

    It is important to submit a complete application. We will assess your project only if all of the eligibility requirements are met.

    Things that may impact your eligibility

    • Your past performance or issues of default in projects with ESDC may impact the eligibility of your application.
    • When determining the eligibility of your application, ESDC may review information in the public domain including, but not limited to, materials on your website and media articles.
  • Step 2: Assessing on program objectives (questions 24, 25, 26, 30, 31, 32 of the application and the budget detail template)

    We will assess your application based on the following criteria:

    Describe the organizational capacity challenges encountered by your organization

    What capacity challenges have you identified for your organization? How will you propose to address these challenges in this project?

    Project outline

    Projects submitted must have four major phases: initiation, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

    • The initiation is the first phase of a project. In this phase, the project’s goals, stakeholders, and overall feasibility should be clearly described and demonstrated in your project. Your project must outline a clear plan that includes activities and timelines that demonstrate how and when the project will be achieved. You must also demonstrate that the project’s objectives and outcomes can be achieved
    • Planning is the second phase of a project. In this phase, milestones, activities/tasks, timelines, and responsibilities must clearly be defined and included in the development your project plan. Your project must demonstrate how each element will be implemented. You must provide clear details on the execution of the project and how the partner(s), if applicable, are involved.
    • The implementation is the third phase of a project. It involves the execution of the project’s planned activities and tasks. During this phase, progress is monitored to ensure that your objectives are being reached and changes can be made if necessary. This phase may also include analysis and reporting to better transition to the final phase of the project’s life cycle (evaluation). Your project must provide details on how you plan to assess your project’s (performance measurement, deliverables, outcomes, impact, etc.). You must demonstrate how the expected results (outputs and outcomes) of your project are clearly linked to the funding objectives
    • Evaluation is the fourth phase of your project. It can happen throughout the project’s duration (for example, after specific steps) to evaluate the processes, outcomes, and deliverables. The evaluation phase should provide insight to improve future activities or projects by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the project, as well as gathering feedback and measuring performance/impact
  • Step 3: Assessing on other criteria to select a diverse range of projects to fund (questions 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of the application)

    We will consider the following to select a diverse range of projects to fund:

    • geographical location
    • Indigenous organization

Page details

Date modified: