Funding WORBE: Workplace opportunities: Removing barriers to equity

Grants and Contributions projects affected by COVID-19

Please contact your funding representative if your project is affected by COVID-19.

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Application period

Description of the funding

Workplace Opportunities: Removing Barriers to Equity (WORBE) is a grants and contributions program. WORBE is designed to support employers subject to the Employment Equity Act (the Act) in their efforts to improve designated group representation in areas of low representation through partnerships and industry-tailored strategies.

Through a competitive call for concepts process, WORBE will provide funding through grants or contributions to eligible recipients to develop tailored solutions to support the four (4) designated groups under the Act (women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities).

This Call for Concepts (CFC) is the first step of a 2-step intake process for the funding of WORBE projects. The second step is a targeted Call for Proposals, the Department will ask organizations that submitted successful project concepts to provide a detailed project proposal for further consideration for funding.

Funding of up to a total of $3 million per year is available to distribute to eligible organizations. Eligible organizations can apply for up to $500,000 per year. Eligible projects must be completed within 36 months of the project’s start date. The maximum total funding that can be provided for a project is $1.5 million.


  • Improved representation of one (1) or more of the four (4) designated groups within workplaces, occupational groups or sectors with low representation
  • Increasing understanding among stakeholders of industry-specific barriers to diversity and inclusion and effective human resources practices to address them
  • Development of new inclusion tools and guides tailored to industry specific needs


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

Eligible applicants

Your organization must be one (1) of the following types:

  • federally regulated private-sector employers
  • employers associations (unionized or non-unionized)
  • non-governmental organizations
  • not-for-profit organizations
  • academic institutions

Note to organizations located and operating in Quebec

If we accept your application for funding, you will need to get approval from the Quebec government before you can accept our contribution.

Consult the Act respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif

Eligible projects

Your project must meet all of the following criteria:

  • be no longer than 36 months
  • request no more than $500,000 per year
  • meet at least one (1) program objective and developing at least one (1) of the types of eligible activities
  • primary results must be achieved within a 12 month time period
  • projects must focus on at least one (1) of the designated groups in the Employment Equity Act (women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities)
  • project must aim to improve designated group representation in areas of low representation through effective partnerships and targeted industry strategies
  • develop targeted solutions to support sectors or occupational groups experiencing low representation
  • projects must focus on at least one (1) of the four (4) sectors (banking and financial services, communications, transportation and ‘other’) and increase diversity in one (1) or more of the 14 Employment Equity Occupational Groups:
    • senior managers
    • middle and other managers
    • professionals
    • semi-Professionals and technicians
    • supervisors
    • supervisors: crafts and trades
    • administrative and senior clerical personnel
    • skilled sales and service personnel
    • skilled crafts and trades workers
    • clerical personnel
    • intermediate sales and service personnel
    • semi-skilled manual workers
    • other sales and service personnel, and
    • other manual workers
  • all project proposals must be partnership-based and industry participation is mandatory. Applicants are expected to create or build partnerships that strengthen project outcomes through their reach, expertise, and financial or in-kind support
  • recipient(s) must contribute financially (no minimum) or in-kind to the project

Eligible activities

Eligible activities may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • engaging in effective partnership(s) to work with and support federally regulated private-sector employers through the creation of inclusive workplaces by identifying industry-specific barriers and solutions in order to improve the representation of designated groups in workplaces, occupational groups or sectors experiencing low representation
  • enabling employers to take action by facilitating the creation of industry-specific strategies to address identified challenges
  • increasing the capacity of employers to fulfil their obligations under the Act by leveraging the potential for industry to work together to develop targeted solutions

How we assess your application

The application and review process consists of two steps. We will assess it using the following criteria:

Step 1:

  • the completed Application for Funding Form was received within the allowed timelines (please note that not all questions are required at this time; those questions are clearly identified in the Applicant Guide)
  • concept application was submitted by an eligible recipient
  • concept submissions must be partnership-based and industry participation is mandatory. Applicants are expected to create or build on partnerships that strengthen project outcomes through their reach, expertise, and financial or in-kind support
  • concept must contribute to achieve the WORBE’s objectives and expected results by meeting at least one (1) of the WORBE’S objectives and developing at least one (1) of the types of eligible activities
  • concept must also focus on at least one (1) of the four (4) sectors, the four (4) designated groups, and at least one (1) of the 14 occupational groups experiencing under-representation, and
  • concept will be reviewed and evaluated based on the clarity and adequacy of the information presented in the application form

Step 2:

In step 2 of the intake process, the Department will invite only organizations that submitted successful concept applications to apply for a targeted call for proposals. These organizations will have three (3) weeks to submit a full project proposal. Further instructions will only be provided to the selected organizations. The invitation to submit a full proposal does not guarantee funding.

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 for Funding Form. Applicants are not required to fill out every question; however, responses to the mandatory questions must be provided. If you need additional space to answer any of the questions on the form, please use the space provided in Appendix A of the Application for Funding Form.

    Please note that all items marked with an asterisk (*) in the Application for Funding Form are mandatory, including the title of the organization contact identified in Section B Question 23. However, 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:

    • “not requested at this time”
    • “if applicable”
    • “if different”
  3. Send your completed and signed application by email to: before February 15, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time.
  4. If you are unable to send all the required sections or any other documents by email, you may mail them with a date stamp no later than February 15, 2022 to the following address:

    Labour Funding Program – WORBE Submissions
    Coordination Unit
    Mailstop: 402
    National Grants & Contributions Delivery Center (ESDC)
    140 Promenade du Portage
    Phase IV. 4th Floor
    Gatineau, QC K1A 0J9

In your email, clearly indicate if further documentation will be forthcoming by mail. For any documents mailed, clearly indicate the organization name and project title.

Note: You cannot submit applications through other means, including cloud storage service providers such as Dropbox or Google Drive. We will reject applications sent using such means. If you submit you application after February 15, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time, your application will consider screen-out.

After you’ve applied

All applicants will be notified of the status of their application within 90 days of the Call for Concepts (CFC) closing date of February 15, 2022.

ESDC will notify you in writing of the outcome of the review of your application.

Decisions are final and there is no appeal process.

By email

You will receive an automatic confirmation of receipt by email within 24 hours.

By mail

You will receive a confirmation of receipt by email within 14 calendar days following the closing date of the Call for Concepts. We will use the email address you provided in your application.

Contact us

If you have questions or need help with this application process, contact EDSC.PMTEOE‑

Information sessions

Information sessions to provide an overview of this application process took place on February 2, 2022 (in French) and February 3, 2022 (in English). Participation was online or by teleconference.

Those interested sent an email to specifying their preferred language (English or French) and if they required accommodations in order to participate.


Employment equity
Encourages the establishment of working conditions that are free from barriers, seeks to correct conditions of disadvantage in employment, and promotes the principle that it requires special measures to accommodate differences for the four (4) designated groups in Canada.
Banking and financial services
Include all major Canadian banks.
Included radio and television broadcasting, telecommunications and postal and courier services.
Includes employers in the air, rail, bus and water transportation industries; inter-provincial trucking; pipelines; and investigation and security services.
Includes a diverse group of employers working in industries such as grain elevators, feed and seed mills, and uranium mining and processing.

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