Apply for funding for the Women in the Skilled Trades Initiative under the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy

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Application period

You can apply between October 12, 2022 to December 1, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Description of the funding

In 2019, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy (CAS). This new framework aims to encourage Canadians to explore, prepare for, participate and succeed in apprenticeships and careers in the skilled trades. It supports Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) apprenticeship initiatives and programs and helps addressing ongoing challenges across apprenticeship systems. The Women in the Skilled Trades Initiative falls under this new framework.

The Women in Skilled Trades Initiative focuses on funding projects that recruit, retain, and help women apprentices succeed in the 39 eligible Red Seals trades found predominately in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

This funding process builds on the results of the Apprenticeship Service program which helps small and medium-sized employers hire first-year apprentices in the same 39 Red Seal trades.

Eligible organizations can apply for up to $3,000,000 for a project that is up to 48 months in duration.

Eligible organizations may submit only 1 application under this funding process.

We expect that successful projects will begin in summer 2023.

We reserve the right to accept a project for funding in whole or in part.

We may also give priority to factors such as geographic coverage and official languages requirements.

Note to eligible organizations

ESDC launched a funding process for the Innovation in Apprenticeship stream under the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) at the same time. If you apply to this funding opportunity, you cannot submit an application with the same project activities under the UTIP Innovation in Apprenticeship.


We will fund projects that aim to recruit, retain and help exclusively women apprentices succeed in at least 1 of the 39 eligible Red Seal trades by (but not limited to):

  • creating partnerships with women’s groups, community colleges, unions or employers to recruit women
  • organizing women-led events as an outreach tool to help attract women to the trades industry
  • offering mentorship by female role models, women-in-the-skilled-trades networks, and opportunities to share success stories
  • creating a welcoming space where women can feel comfortable and safe in the training and work sites


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

Eligible applicants

Your organization must be located in Canada and be 1 of the following types:

  • union representing workers in Red Seal trades or an organization managing training funds for Red Seal trades workers, for example:
    • a joint training fund set up by a union
    • a union and an employer association
  • not-for-profit organization
  • for-profit organization (provided that the nature and intent of the activity is non-commercial, not intended to generate profit, and supports program priorities and objectives)
  • municipal government
  • Indigenous organization including:
    • band council
    • tribal council
    • Self-government entity
  • provincial and territorial government including:
    • agency
    • institution
    • Crown corporation

Note to organizations located and operating in Quebec

Some applicants in the province of Quebec are subject to the Act respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif (R.S.Q. c. M-30) of the Government of Quebec (French only). These applicants are eligible to submit a proposal; however, if ESDC accepts your project, you will also need to obtain the approval of the Government of Quebec before ESDC can fund your project.

Please refer to Quebec’s Approval and Authorization Process page for more information.

Eligible projects

Your project must meet all of the following criteria:

  • target women apprentices in at least 1 of the 39 eligible Red Seal trades that are designated under the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program in the province(s) or territory(ies) in which proposed activities will be undertaken
  • have contributions from sources other than Employment and Social Development Canada:

Eligible activities

Eligible activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • organizing women-led events
  • creating partnerships with women’s groups, community colleges, unions or employers to promote the 39 eligible Red Seal trades
  • supporting women’s progression through a Red Seal apprenticeship in at least 1 of the 39 eligible Red Seal trades
  • offering mentorship by female role models, women-in-the-skilled-trades networks, and opportunities to share success stories
  • creating a welcoming workplace where women can feel comfortable and safe in work sites
  • providing wrap-around supports, such as guidance, tutoring, childcare support, flexible childcare arrangements

Screening for eligibility

We will assess your project only if you meet all of the following eligibility requirements and you provide the necessary documents:

  • complete application is received by December 1, 2022 at 3:00 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST)
  • applicant organization is eligible (questions 3 to 5)
  • the project meets:
    • the program objective and the eligible project activities (questions 55 and 56)
    • the leveraging requirement (question 66)
  • application is complete, including:
    • all questions are answered on the Application for funding form
    • completed Budget Detail Template
    • completed Attestation (Part 4 of the application form)

Note to eligible organizations

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

How we assess your application

We will assess your application based on the following criteria:

Project objectives (Question 55)

  • Describe how your project aims to recruit, retain and help exclusively women apprentices succeed in at least 1 of the 39 eligible Red Seal trades

Project activities, timelines and feasibility (Question 56)

  • Provide clear and relevant description of your project activities, that align with the project objectives
  • Provide timelines and milestones that are specific, detailed and realistic

Project impact and results (Questions 57 and 58)

  • Describe how this funding will contribute to improve the recruitment, retention and success of women apprentices in the 39 eligible Red Seal trades
  • Describe how the organization plans to collect, measure and report on the project’s results

Project cost (Questions 66 to 77)

  • Provide a brief and clear justification of how you intend to use the money
  • Demonstrate that the costs are reasonable, detailed and support the project activities

Additional funding priorities

We may give funding priority to projects that:

  • contribute to the objective of supporting women in a variety of regions across Canada
  • contribute to the objective of supporting approximately 10,900 women between 2023 to 2024 and 2026 to 2027
  • are submitted by eligible organizations who have 5 or more years of experience, in delivering projects that support women pre-apprentices or apprentices in the skilled trades

Steps to apply

Step 1. Read the applicant guide

Read the applicant guide to complete your application form. This guide includes details for each question of the form.

Step 2. Gather your supporting documents and information

A complete application package includes:

  • a complete Application for Funding form
  • a complete Budget Detail Template

If we select your project, we will ask you to submit a letter confirming the cash or in-kind contributions from a source other than us.

Step 3. Decide how to apply

Apply online

Grants and Contributions Online Services (GCOS) is the recommended option to submit your application.

If your organization has a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) business number, you can register for a GCOS account.

For instructions on how to create and register for a GCOS account, please refer to the User Guide.

After creating your account and validating the Organization by email, you can apply and submit a funding application immediately using the “Apply for Funding” feature.

  1. Access your GCOS account
  2. Answer all the application questions in GCOS
  3. Complete the budget detail template and upload it in GCOS
Apply by email or mail
  1. Download and complete the Application for Funding form (PDF format) and Budget detail template (PDF format)
  2. Complete the attestation (part 4 of the application form)
  3. Send your complete application package by email or mail to:
    • email address:
    • mailing address:
      Women in the Skilled Trades Initiative
      Coordination Unit Mailstop 402
      National Grants and Contributions Delivery Centre (NGCDC)
      140 Promenade du Portage
      Phase IV 4th Floor
      Gatineau QC K1A 0J9

If you are unable to scan the required sections or any other documents, you may mail these documents to the address above. If you send the other documents by mail, specify this in your email.

Note on PDFs

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

Downloading the application form

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

Forms that perform calculations

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

Beware that these issues will impact your form

  • Not using correct reader software. For example, old versions of Adobe, or Preview reader on a Mac
  • Completing the form in a browser

After you’ve applied

We will review and assess your application.


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 calendar days of the closing date of the call. We will use the email address you provided in your application.

How long it will take to get a funding decision

We expect to make funding decisions in spring 2023.

We will issue you a notification of funding decision by email within 12 to 22 weeks from the date the submission period has ended.


We will issue the first payment within 14 calendar days of a signed agreement by both parties. We will issue the other payments within 14 calendar days of the date we receive a completed claim package for contribution projects.

Contact us

You can reach us at to

Information sessions

We will hold 2 information sessions to provide an overview of this application process. You can participate online or by teleconference:

  • First information session on October 25, 2022
  • Second information session on November 17, 2022

If you are interested in participating, send an email to In your email, specify your preferred language (English or French). We will provide you with the instructions on how and when to attend. If you need special accommodations, let us know by October 18 for the first session and by November 10 for the second session.


Limited access to Infrastructure

A situation where accessing to resources and facilities are difficult and may limit employment and apprenticeship opportunities in the trades.

Limited partnership opportunities

A situation where establishing partnerships can be more difficult. This could happen because of a limited number of employers and training institutions, or agreement holders competing for available partners. Remote and isolated regions can have limited presence of partners such as:

  • large or major industries
  • colleges or polytechnics
  • non-governmental organizations
List of the 39 eligible Red Seal Trades:
  • Boilermaker
  • Bricklayer
  • Carpenter
  • Concrete Finisher
  • Construction Craft Worker
  • Construction Electrician
  • Drywall Finisher and Plasterer
  • Floorcovering Installer
  • Gasfitter - Class A
  • Gasfitter - Class B
  • Glazier
  • Heavy Equipment Operator (Excavator)
  • Heavy Equipment Operator (Dozer)
  • Heavy Equipment Operator (Tractor-Loader-Backhoe)
  • Insulator (Heat and Frost)
  • Ironworker (Generalist)
  • Ironworker (Reinforcing)
  • Ironworker (Structural/Ornamental)
  • Landscape Horticulturist
  • Lather (Interior Systems Mechanic)
  • Mobile Crane Operator
  • Painter and Decorator
  • Plumber
  • Powerline Technician
  • Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic
  • Roofer
  • Sheet Metal Worker
  • Sprinkler Fitter
  • Steamfitter/Pipefitter
  • Tilesetter
  • Tower Crane Operator
  • Welder
  • Cabinetmaker
  • Industrial Electrician
  • Industrial Mechanic (Millwright)
  • Instrumentation and Control Technician
  • Machinist
  • Metal Fabricator (Fitter)
  • Tool and Die Maker

A list of Red Seal trades, that are designated under the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program in the province(s) or territory(ies), is available on the Ellis Chart. The Ellis Chart is an online comparative database of apprenticeship programs.

Red Seal trades

A Red Seal endorsement on a journey person's Certificate of Qualification confirms:

  • the person has achieved a nationally recognized level of competency in the trade
  • the journey person is licensed to practise his/her trade in any province or territory of Canada
Remote location

A geographical area where a community is located over 350 km from the nearest service centre having year-round road access. This could include geographical areas that have scheduled flights and good telephone services, but are without year-round road access. For example:

  • small population, defined as an area with a population less than 1,000 or a population density of less than 400 persons per square kilometer
  • limited access to urban centres and training facilities, defined as areas without year-round road access
  • on-reserve

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