Apply for funding for the Women’s Employment Readiness pilot program

Application period

You can apply between June 2, 2021 to June 30, 2021 at 3:00 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Description of the funding

Women have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Inequalities that existed before the pandemic have been made worse. The pandemic has also greatly affected jobs in service sectors, which employ larger numbers of women.

The Women’s Employment Readiness (WER) pilot program will fund organizations to provide and test pre-employment and skills development supports for women. Projects will also include working with employers to reduce barriers to employing women. Four groups of women will be targeted:

  • racialized and/or Indigenous women
  • women with disabilities
  • women from the LGBTQ2 community
  • women who have been out of the workforce for a long time

Projects must be national in scope. That is, they must serve participants in 2 or more provinces/territories. Projects can be regional in scope if they will serve participants located in Official Language Minority Communities.

Eligible organizations can apply for funding up to $2.5M per project, per year. All projects must end by March 31, 2023.

Objectives

We will fund organizations that will:

  • test pre-employment and skills development supports. These supports include foundational and transferable skills training (including literacy and essential skills or the Skills for Success Model) and wrap-around supports. Projects serve 1 or more of the 4 identified target groups.
    • racialized women and/or Indigenous women
    • women with disabilities
    • women from the LGBTQ2 community
    • women with prolonged detachment from the labour force
  • test models to improve workplace inclusivity, where an employer is included in the project. For 1 or more of the target groups, projects would work with employers to improve:
    • access to employment, or
    • retention in the workplace

The pilot results will be used to improve programming for women in the target groups. We are committed to using Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) which considers how different people may experience government policies or initiatives differently. As an example, the factors considered in GBA+ can include:

  • gender
  • race
  • ethnic background
  • mental or physical disability

Using GBA+ to analyze the pilot results will help to provide better and more inclusive programming in the future. Better programming will help multi-barriered women find and keep good jobs as the labour market starts to recover.

Eligibility

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

Eligible applicants

  • Your organization must be 1 of the following:
    • not-for-profit organization
    • for-profit organization given 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, institution, agency or Crown Corporation

Experience requirements

Projects without employers:

  • you must meet experience requirements 1 and 2 below or must collaborate during the project with an organization that does meet the experience requirement
  • your organization must have, on its own, experience in at least one area from experience requirements 1 and 2 below, to be eligible

Projects with employers:

  • you must meet experience requirement 3 in addition to 1 and 2, if your project involves an employer, or must collaborate during the project with an organization that does
  • your organization must have, on its own, experience in at least 1 of the 3 areas to be eligible

1. Experience requirement providing pre-employment and skill development supports

  • You must have experience providing pre-employment and skills development supports or must collaborate with an organization that does meet the experience requirement
  • The experience must be in the last 5 years and amount to at least 1 cumulative year
  • Pre-employment and skills development supports are foundational and transferable skills training (including literacy and essential skills training or the Skills for Success Model) and wrap-around supports. Examples of wrap-around supports include:
    • childcare
    • living expenses
    • transportation
    • appropriate work clothing
    • mentorship
    • sponsorship etc.

2. Experience requirement serving the target group

  • You must have experience serving the target group, or must collaborate with an organization that does meet the requirement
  • The experience must be in the last 5 years and amount to at least 1 cumulative year. The target groups are:
    • racialized women and/or Indigenous women
    • women with disabilities
    • LGBTQ2 women, or
    • women with prolonged detachment from the labour force

3. Experience requirement – only applicable if the project includes an employer

  • If your project includes an employer, you must have experience working with employers to reduce barriers in the workplace or collaborate with an organization that does have experience working with an employer
  • The experience must be in the last 5 years and amount to at least 1 cumulative year
  • The work with employers to reduce barriers must be specific to 1 or more of the 4 target groups of women

Note to organizations located and operating in Quebec

Ministère du Conseil Exécutif (M-30)

The Quebec National Assembly adopted An Act respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif (M-30). The provisions of this Act include certain conditions on Quebec government bodies and certain other entities wanting to contract with the federal government. You may wish to consult the provisions of M-30 prior to submitting your application for funding to ensure compliance with the Act respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif (M-30). Any entity that is subject to the Act is responsible for obtaining such authorization before signing any agreement with the Government of Canada.

Eligible projects

Your project must meet all of the following criteria:

  • run no longer than 64 weeks
  • end by March 31, 2023
  • be national in scope (that is serve participants in 2 or more provinces/territories) or regional in scope if serving participants located in Official Language Minority Communities
  • test and provide foundational and transferable skills training models (including literacy and essential skills or the Skills for Success Model) and wrap-around supports to target groups:
    • racialized women and/or Indigenous women
    • women with disabilities
    • LGBTQ2 women, or
    • Women with prolonged detachment from the labour force
  • if an employer will be part of the project, the project must also test methods to improve workplace inclusivity for at least 1 of the target groups to improve their:
    • access to employment, and/or
    • retention in the workplace

How we assess your application

We will review your application in 3 steps listed below:

  1. screening for eligibility against the mandatory eligibility requirements and using the responses to questions 3 to 9, 22, and 49 in the applicant guide
  2. assessing how the project meets the program objectives and using the responses to questions 49, and 55 to 58 and in the Applicant Guide and the Budget Detail Template
  3. additional funding considerations may be taken into account

Note: It is important to submit a complete application. Make sure you have all the documents you need before you apply. If your application is incomplete, we will notify you by email. You will have 5 business days to submit the missing information. If your application is not complete by that time, we will reject it from the process.

Screening for eligibility

We will be screening for eligibility based on all 4 considerations below:

  1. the application is received by the deadline
  2. the organization is eligible as listed under Eligible Applicants
  3. the application package is complete, including:
    • all mandatory information (questions [Q3 to 9, 22 and 49] Applicant Guide)
    • completed Budget Detail Template and Part 3 of the Application Form
    • completed attestation (part 4 of the application form)
  4. project activities are eligible

Project Assessment

We will assess your application based on the following criteria:

Organization’s capacity

  • Describe in detail how your organization has the relevant experience in the areas (at least 1 area) identified under Eligible Applicants
  • Describe your plan to collaborate with other organizations for areas where your organization may be lacking experience

Project objectives

Describe in detail how your project will meet the program objectives identified under the Objectives section.

Project activities

  • Describe how your organization will test and provide foundational and transferable skills (including literacy and essential skills or the Skills for Success Model), as well as wrap-around supports, for the target groups identified
  • Describe, if an employer is involved, how you will test methods to improve workplace inclusivity. These activities must be for 1 or more of the target groups to improve their access to employment and/or retention in the workplace
  • Provide clear and relevant description of the project activities
  • Provide clear and feasible timelines to complete the project activities
  • Describe, if you are collaborating with an organization, what activities they will carry out. If the collaboration is occurring to meet the experience requirement in Applicant Eligibility, explain how they meet the requirement for the activity
  • Submit an evaluation plan. Your plan must describe how you will evaluate the project, and collect data over the course of the funding agreement
  • Describe how you intend to deliver your project so that it addresses the needs of participants in both official languages, if applicable. If not applicable, please explain

Project results

  • Describe the expected results of your project. They must be:
    • specific
    • concrete, and
    • measurable
  • List the indicators that you will use to measure the progress towards your project results
  • Describe how you plan to gather, measure and report on results achieved by your project

Project costs

  • 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
  • Your administrative costs can be no more than 15% of the total funding by us

Note: If your request for the administrative cost is more than 15% to meet data collection standards, we may provide up to 20% of total funding. However, please note that this is subject to you providing an acceptable rationale to ESDC.

Additional funding considerations

We reserve the right to assess the projects comparatively and collectively to meet overall objectives in the 4 areas:

  • balance of activities among potential projects overall across provinces and territories
  • balance among the 4 target groups among potential projects overall
  • provision of services in official language of choice of participants, where applicable
  • type of projects: based on the type of project applications received, we intend to allocate about:
    • 25% of the budget to projects without an employer, that focus on pre-employment and skills development for participants
    • 75% of the budget to projects of the same type, but with employers included. In these cases, activities to improve employer inclusivity are required

Steps to apply

Gather your supporting documents and information

  • Completed application form
  • Budget detail template

Decide how to apply

Apply online

  1. To apply online, you will need to create a Grants and Contributions Online services account. It may take up to 10 business days to create your account
  2. Read the applicant guide to complete your application form. This guide includes details for each question of the form
  3. Complete the budget detail template (PDF Format) and upload it in GCOS
  4. Apply online using 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 online or by hand
  3. Complete the budget detail template (PDF Format)
  4. Send your complete your application package by email or by mail to:
    • edsc.pfe-wer.esdc@servicecanada.gc.ca
    • mailing address:

      Women’s Employment Readiness pilot program
      Coordination Unit Mailstop 402
      National Grants & Contributions Delivery Centre (ESDC)
      140 Promenade du Portage Phase IV 4th Floor
      Gatineau QC K1A 0J9

Note: If you cannot email the documents, you can send them by mail to the address above. In your email, tell us if you are sending other documents by mail.

After you have applied

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

We expect to make funding decisions by late Fall 2021.

Online

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 21 calendar days. We will use the email address you provided in your application.

Contact us

If you have questions, email us at edsc.pfe-wer.esdc@servicecanada.gc.ca. We will answer questions sent before June 25, 2021 at 12:00 pm EST.

Information sessions

We will hold information sessions in June 15th, 2021. You can participate online or by teleconference.

If you are interested, send an email to edsc.pfe-wer.esdc@servicecanada.gc.ca. We will give the instructions on how to participate.

In your email, let us know if you would like to attend an information session in English or French. Also, let us know if you need accommodation to attend.

Glossary

Collaborative relationships
These may include consultation, direction, the provision of advice on proposed project activities, delivery of some project activities, etc. Collaboration is needed when the applicant does not meet the experience requirements. Collaboration does not require a legal partnership.
Experience
“Experience” is defined as at least 1 year of cumulative experience. Experience includes having directly provided or engaged in the required activity. “Recent” experience is in the last 5 years. The term is used in the following cases in the Applicant Guide, where “recent experience” is required in 3cases. These 3 cases are:
  • providing pre-employment and skill development supports and wrap-around supports
  • serving the target group
  • working with employers to improve inclusivity (where applicable)
Foundational and transferable skills
Refers to skills that are building blocks needed to develop more precise, occupation-specific skills, including literacy and essential skills or the Skills for Success Model. They are applicable, to different extents, to most if not all occupations in the Canadian labour market and learning and life contexts.
Gender identity
Refers to a person’s internal and individual experience of gender. It is not necessarily visible to others and it may or may not align with what society expects based on assigned sex. A person’s relationship to their own gender is not always fixed and can change over time.
Inclusion
Refers to fostering conditions in which all individuals in a given environment are valued, welcomed, respected and represented. These conditions support all individuals to participate fully and equally regardless of aspects of their identities that differ from the dominant norm. The work of creating inclusive environments must be an active and continuous process. Recognition and consideration of historical and ongoing systems of oppression must also be included. In this pilot program, inclusion is applied to the workplace.
Indigenous women
Refer to those who self-identify as a woman and belong to any of these groups as defined in the Constitution Act, 1982, Section 35 (2):
  • First Nations (North American Indian)
  • Indian, Inuk (Inuit), and
  • Métis peoples of Canada
LGBTQ2 women
Refers to individuals who self-identify as a woman and belong to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Questioning, and Two Spirit community (LGBTQ2).
National scope
Projects that are “national in scope” are those that serve participants in 2 or more provinces/territories.
Partnership
Involves the participation of or collaboration between organizations. This can include legal partnerships or non-legal partnerships. Each organization may play a specific role in carrying out the activities of the project, for example delivering activities or advising on them. Put together, these contribute to the success of the model being tested.
Prolonged detachment from the labour force
Refers to an absence, whether for several months or several years due to caretaking responsibilities, for example.
Pre-employment and skill development supports
Refers to transferable and foundational skills training (including literacy and essential skills or the Skills for Success Model) and wrap-around supports. Examples include:
  • childcare
  • transportation
  • appropriate work clothing
  • mentorship or sponsorship etc.
These transferable and foundational skills can be gained through various means, ranging from formal training, projects, work experience or placements, etc.
Racialized women
Refers to women who have been categorized or differentiated on the basis of a membership of a racial group. “Racial group” is defined using the Statistics Canada list of “visible minorities”. See the definition for “visible minority”.
Target groups
Refers to the following groups of women:
  • racialized women and/or Indigenous women
  • women with disabilities
  • LGBTQ2 women
  • women with prolonged detachment from the labour force
Visible minority women
Refers to those who self-identify as a woman and who belong to a visible minority group as defined by the Employment Equity Act: "persons, other than Aboriginal [Indigenous] peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour." More specifically, “visible minority” includes:
  • South Asian
  • Chinese
  • Black
  • Filipino
  • Latin American
  • Arab
  • Southeast Asian
  • West Asian
  • Korean, Japanese
  • visible minority not included elsewhere, and
  • multiple visible minorities (Statistics Canada)
Women
Refers to those individuals who self-identify as the gender “woman”, regardless of assigned sex at birth.
Women with disabilities
Refers to a person who self-identifies as a woman and who is “limited in her daily activities according to a prescribed level of difficulty with particular tasks due to a long-term condition or health problem lasting, or expecting to last, for a specified period of time” (Statistics Canada).
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