Apply for funding under the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program: National or Regional

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Application period

Current status: Closed

Learn more about other funding opportunities

The application period is open from June 3 to July 26, 2019, at 11:59 am Pacific Time.

Projects may start as early as April 1, 2020.

Description of the funding

The Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) is a new, integrated strategy, which aims to provide flexible and holistic services to support all young Canadians develop the skills and gain paid work experience to successfully transition in the labour market. The YESS has been redesigned to respond to a range of labour market challenges faced by youth, particularly for those facing barriers to employment. The Skills Link, Career Focus, and Summer Work Experience (excluding Canada Summer Jobs) programs that were previously under the Youth Employment Strategy umbrella have been merged into one integrated strategy.

The Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) program will provide up to $600M in funding to organizations to deliver a range of activities that help youth overcome barriers to employment and develop a broad range of skills and knowledge in order to participate in the current and future labour market. Support will be tailored to the needs of youth that are facing barriers to employments. Youth who face barriers often include youth who are early leavers from high school, recent immigrant youth, youth from visible minority groups, youth living with disabilities, single parent youth, youth living in low-income households, youth experiencing homelessness or precarious housing, and youth living in rural or remote areas. For these youth, barriers often intersect and they are more likely to be among the youth population who are involuntarily not in employment, education or training (NEET). Acknowledging that some Indigenous youth face unique circumstances, the YESS is designed to maximize opportunities for them, including more culturally-specific supports and services.

The YESS program also encourages collaborations and innovation to increase capacity across the youth service provider network (e.g. employers, service delivery organizations and educational institutions), to better support youth, and to help employers hire and retain youth, in particular those who face barriers.

Proposals could include the following:

  • Activities designed to enable stakeholders to develop and plan eligible projects
  • Activities that support the development and use of tools and products for learning, skills development, career planning and career development
  • Service activities, which include but are not limited to outreach, client assessment, case management, career development information, and job search and job retention assistance
  • Activities designed to enable youth to acquire and enhance skills, which include but are not limited to pre-employability skills, employability skills and advanced employability skills
  • Activities designed to provide work experiences
  • Activities designed to provide mentoring and coaching
  • Activities designed to support youth entrepreneurs gain self-employment
  • Activities that support youth in making informed career decisions, promote the value of education, and promote youth as the labour force of the future
  • Activities designed to support research and innovative projects to identify better ways of helping youth prepare for, return to, and keep employment and to be productive participants in the labour force
  • Activities related to measuring and articulating the impact of the program, including experimentation
  • Activities to support employers in hiring or retaining youth facing barriers
  • Activities designed to build better linkages between organizations (e.g., by linking employers, service providers, unions, industry associations, educational institutions, and other levels of government) for the benefit of youth
  • Culturally-appropriate Indigenous supports such as access and networks to Indigenous social services (e.g. healing centers, counselling, healthcare, shelters, resource centers, restorative justice)
  • Activities associated with meeting the reporting requirements of the YESS program
  • Other activities that support the objectives of the YESS program

As this is a competitive process, not all applications submitted under this Call for Proposals will be selected; funding is limited and subject to ESDC’s yearly budget considerations and allocation of funds by Parliament.

The Government of Canada reserves the right to accept a proposal, completely or in part, and to consider factors such as geographic coverage, and official language requirements.

There are two streams for this Call for Proposals (CFP):

National Stream: Project activities take place in three (3) or more province or territories.

Regional Stream: Project activities can be provincial, territorial, or local in scope. Activities must only take place in one province or territory.

The CFP identifiers for the two streams are as follows:

  • National - CFP-NAT-YESS-SCEJ-2019-87 Stream One – National Projects
  • Regional - CFP-REG-YESS-SCEJ-2019-88 Stream Two – Regional Projects

Please select the appropriate Call for Proposals (CFP) identifier when applying through the online system, as well, indicate in Question 43 in the Application for Funding, the stream that you are applying under.

When possible, submit only one proposal (per stream).


This section describes how your application will be assessed to determine its eligibility. Your application must meet the eligibility criteria listed below to apply for this program. Otherwise, your application will be deemed ineligible.

For the purpose of this Call for Proposals, funding will be provided to successful applicants whose projects are designed to deliver a range of activities to support youth to overcome barriers to employment, and to help youth develop a broad range of skills and knowledge in order to participate in the current and future labour market.

Eligible contribution recipients

Eligible recipients for this Call for Proposals are:

  • not-for-profit organizations
  • municipal governments
  • Indigenous organizations (including: incorporated for-profit and not-for-profit Indigenous controlled organizations, Indigenous controlled unincorporated associations, Indian Act bands, tribal councils and Indigenous self-government entities
  • for-profit organizations
  • provincial and territorial governments, institutions, agencies and Crown Corporations

Note to organizations established in Quebec

Quebec organizations are able to apply on the national stream; however, the regional stream is not open to Quebec organizations at this time. Additional information will be forthcoming.

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 impose 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 at the following website 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 participants

For projects that are offering direct services to youth, the contribution recipients will recruit participants.

To participate in the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program, individuals must be:

  • between the ages of 15 and 30 (inclusive) at the time of intake/selection
  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or persons who have been granted refugee status in Canada
  • legally entitled to work according to the relevant provincial/territorial legislation and regulations
  • in need of assistance to overcome employment barriers

Other requirements:

  • Projects can be from 1 to 3 years in duration (12 months to 36 months) starting as early as April 1, 2020.
  • The amount requested from ESDC should not exceed $5M per year per national project or $3M per year for regional project.
  • All required documents must be submitted with the Application for Funding. For a list of required documentation, please see the list of supporting documents and information in the Steps to Apply section below.

Ineligible projects and activities:

  • Projects consisting of activities that take place outside of Canada;
  • Partisan political activities;
  • Fundraising activities to cover salary costs for the youth participant; or
  • Projects or activities that:
    • restrict access to programs, services, or employment, or otherwise discriminate, contrary to applicable laws, on the basis of prohibited grounds, including sex, genetic characteristics, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression
    • advocate intolerance, discrimination and/or prejudice; or
    • actively work to undermine or restrict a woman’s access to sexual and reproductive health services

How we assess your application

1. Organizational capacity to manage the project (refer to Question 37) (10%)

  • Applications should include a detailed description that outlines the organization’s structure, including governance, administration, human resources policies and financial controls.
  • If applicable, a description of previous projects (with ESDC/Service Canada or other sources of funding), including past results, in order to demonstrate the applicant’s experience managing similar projects and/or activities.

2. Project objectives (refer to Question 43) (15%)

  • Applications must clearly outline how the project will support the objectives of the Program.

3. Project activities (refer to Question 44) (30%)

  • Applications must provide a clear description of each activity.
  • Activities must be relevant to the project objectives, in support of the expected project results and impact, and demonstrate how they will support the achievement of the project outcomes.
  • Activities must be specific, detailed, and realistic.
  • Timelines must be clear and feasible.

4. Project results and impact (refer to Questions 45 and 46) (35%)

  • The new YESS will focus on measuring outcomes and reporting back on results.
  • Organizations will need to articulate how they meet at least 2 out the outcomes below, including, but not limited to new approaches:
    1. Job readiness: Whether the youth has the gained skills, knowledge and supports necessary to get a job
    2. Sustained employment or return to further study: Whether the youth returns to school or attains and retains a quality job after participating in the project
    3. Career advancement: Whether the youth has gained skills and experience to continue to advance in career of their choice
    4. Employer readiness: Whether employers have improved their ability to hire and retain youth talent
    5. Number of youth served who are facing barriers to employmentFootnote 1
      • # of First Nations, Inuit, Métis and/or urban or non-affiliated youth
      • # of visible minority youth
      • # of youth with a disability
    6. If you are including partnerships in your project, please add how the results of your partnerships will strengthened connections across the youth employment ecosystem

5. Project budget (refer to Section B, Part 3) (10%)

  • Project costs must be reasonable and detailed and must support the project activities. In addition, the budget details should demonstrate and explain how the costs are good value-for-money

Priority may be given to projects that:

  • are submitted by youth-led organizations (with at least 50% of governance made up of young people between 15 and 30)
  • are submitted by Indigenous-led organizations (with at least 50% of governance made up of people who have self-identified as Indigenous)
  • support First Nations, Métis, Inuit and/or urban or non-affiliated Indigenous youth
  • support youth with disabilities
  • support visible minority youth
  • support youth who are involuntary NEET (not in Education, Employment, Training) for at least 6 months
  • support youth in Official Languages Minority Communities
  • ensure regional coverage across Canada (rural, remote and urban settings)
  • create partnerships model
  • test/scale social innovations

Steps to apply

Create a Grants and Contributions Online Services (GCOS) account to apply online

To apply on line, you will need to create a Grants and Contributions Online Services account. It may take up to two weeks to finalize your GCOS account; you are strongly encouraged to initiate the one time GCOS account creation process as soon as possible.

GCOS allows you to:

  • apply for funding opportunities
  • submit claims and supporting documents
  • track the status of you applications
  • manage all your ESDC funding applications and approved active projects in one single GCOS account

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. Not doing so could result in your application being deemed ineligible. The following documents are required:

  • Application for Funding filled out in its entirety
  • Proof of Strategic Collaborations and Partnerships (if applicable)
  • Proof of contributions from sources other than the Government of Canada (if applicable)
  • Budget Detail Template: PDF or Excel format
  • For first time applicants: a copy of document from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that includes the applicant’s valid business number (e.g. tax-related document, CRA correspondence) is required
  • For work experience interventions: a list of potential employers, including information on the sector of the employers, with whom participants could be placed
  • For projects selected for funding: proof of Workers’ Compensation coverage and/or liability insurance, if applicable, will be required before an agreement is signed
  • Identify the type of evidence to be gathered to demonstrate that outcomes have been achieved (e.g. post-program survey, output metrics, point-in-time study, randomized control study etc…)

Apply, submit and track the status of your application online using GCOS

  1. Read this Applicant Guide in its entirety as it describes specific information you need to provide for each question of the form.
  2. Complete the Budget Detail Template (Excel Format, 293 KB or PDF Format, 47 KB).
  3. Apply online using GCOS

Apply by email

  1. Read this Applicant Guide in its entirety as it describes specific information you need to provide for each question of the form.
  2. Complete the Application for Funding (EMP5523) and the Budget Detail Template (Excel Format, 68 KB or PDF Format, 47 KB) on your computer or by hand.
  3. Ensure that the appropriate section(s) of the Application for Funding form are signed by the authorized representative(s) and provide a scanned copy of the signed page(s) only, and be sure to send the complete application and signed pages in an email to If you are unable to scan all the required sections, or any other documents, you can mail them to the address below. Clearly indicate in your email if further documentation will be forthcoming by mail.
  4. Applications cannot be submitted by a USB key, CD or other storage device (e.g. dropbox or cloud storage). Applications sent using such means will be deemed ineligible.

Apply by mail

  1. Read this Applicant Guide in its entirety as it describes specific information you need to provide for each question of the form.
  2. Complete the Application for Funding (EMP5523) and the Budget Detail Template (Excel Format, 68 KB or PDF Format, 47 KB) on your computer or by hand.
  3. Applications cannot be submitted by a USB key, CD or other storage device (e.g. dropbox or cloud storage). Applications sent using such means will be deemed ineligible.
  4. Print, sign, (by Authorized Representative(s) of the organization)and mail the documents to the address below:

Mailing addresses

National Projects

Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program submissions
Coordination Unit, Mailstop: 402
National Grants & Contributions Delivery Centre (ESDC)
140 Promenade du Portage Phase IV 4th Floor
Gatineau QC  K1A 0J9

Regional Projects


Edmonton (serves north of Red Deer)

Service Canada, Program Delivery Branch
Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program
1440-9700 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton AB  T5J 4C1


Calgary (Southern Alberta including Red Deer)

Service Canada, Program Delivery Branch
Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program
220 4th Ave SE room 270,
Calgary AB  T2G 4X3

Atlantic Region (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island)

Service Canada, Program Delivery Unit
Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program
PO Box 1800 Station Central
Halifax NS  B3J 3V1

British Columbia

Service Canada Kelowna (serves Vancouver Island/Northern BC/Southern Interior)

Service Canada, Program Delivery Branch
Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program
471 Queensway Room 306
Kelowna BC  V1Y 6S5


Service Canada Vancouver (serves the Lower Mainland)

Service Canada, Program Delivery Branch
Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program
125 10th Ave E
Vancouver BC  V5T 1Z3


Service Canada, Program Delivery Branch
Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program
6th Floor 111 Lombard Ave
Winnipeg MB  R3B 0T4

Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon

Service Canada, Program Delivery
Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program
300 Main Street suite 125
Whitehorse YK  Y1A 2B5


Service Canada, Program Delivery
Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program
P.O. Box 538
STN Don Mills
North York  M3C 0N9


Service Canada Saskatoon (serves Northern SK)
Service Canada, Program Delivery
Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program
101-22nd Street East
Saskatoon SK  S7K 0E2


Service Canada Regina (serves Southern SK)
Service Canada, Program Delivery
Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program
200 - 1783 Hamilton Street
Regina SK  S4P 2B6

After you’ve applied

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt of your application.

  • If you submit your application through Grants and Contributions Online Services (GCOS), you will receive an acknowledgment immediately and a tracking number
  • If you submit your application by email, you will receive an automatic email acknowledgment to the email address you used to submit the application
  • If you submit your application by mail, you will receive an acknowledgment by email within 21 days of its receipt. The acknowledgment will be sent to the email address provided in your application

Contact us

If you have questions about this application process, send an email to Enquiries sent before July 25, 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time will be answered.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Canada Summer Jobs and the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy program?

The Youth Employment and Skills Strategy program is different from Canada Summer Jobs as it is intended to provide services and supports to youth, particularly those facing barriers, so that they can be better prepared to transition into the labour market. The Canada Summer Jobs program provides funding to employers to create quality summer work experiences so that youth can get the information, gain the skills, work experience and abilities they need to transition successfully into the labour market.

The Call for Proposals under the new Youth Employment and Skills Strategy is a separate process and will not affect projects currently under the Canada Summer Jobs program.

What are the objectives and outcomes of the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program?

The objectives of the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) are to help youth overcome barriers to employment, develop a broad range of skills and knowledge in order to participate in the current and future labour market, and to promote education and skills acquisition as being key to labour market participation.

The outcome of the program is for youth to have access to programs that allow them to acquire the skills, learning experiences and opportunities they need to find and maintain employment or return to school.

Is it possible to submit more than one application under this Call for Proposals?

When possible, we are encouraging that applicants submit only one application (per stream). We are expecting projects to include a variety of activities that can be incorporated into one application. It is quite common for one application to have many activities or even more than one project within the larger project.

Can an organization submit an application and partner with another organization who is also submitting an application?

Organizations can submit an application and also partner with other organizations, applications will be assessed separately from one another. Each application should demonstrate that, on its own merit, it meets all the requirements for the program as outlined in the applicant guide.

What is the definition of a quality job placement?

Through the YESS program, the contribution recipient provides employers with funding for wage subsidies to create quality job placements for youth in safe, inclusive and healthy work environments.

The quality of the job placement(s) can be measured in a number of ways. For example:

  • The job placement invests in youth by paying above the minimum wage of the province or territory,
  • The work placement employer commits  to retain the youth as an employee beyond the period of the wage subsidy,
  • Supervision and mentoring plans are developed and maintained and demonstrate both short and long-term support for the success of the youth by:
    • observing, evaluating, and providing feedback on performance
    • providing guidance related to the professional and career-development goals of the youth
    • providing an opportunity for the youth to develop the skills needed for current and future employment
  • The quality job occurs in a safe, inclusive, and healthy work environment
What is the best way to design a project in terms of timeframes and costs?

As there is more than one way to design a project to assist youth, the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy program does not prescribe the type and sequence of interventions required. Enhanced supports should be holistic and tailored to the individual needs of youth and the type and sequence of interventions required can vary. The design of a project is up to the contribution recipient.

No maximum timeframe has been identified for participation in a project. A participant can have as much time as needed to complete their interventions or activities and they can return to the program as many times as needed to complete another set of interventions or activities. Please also note that the maximum cost per participant in a lifetime is $50,000.

What does the $50,000 per participant per lifetime include and how is calculated?

The $50,000 is for the lifetime of a participant and includes all project costs.  For example:

This is calculated by dividing the ESDC/Service Canada contributions (minus any participant disability supports) by the number of participants.

If the ESDC/Service Canada contribution is $5,000,000 and there are 120 participants and no disability supports, the calculation is as follows:

$5,000,000 ÷ 120   = cost per participant $41,666

If the same agreement has $140,000 budgeted for disability supports the calculation is as follows:

($5,000,000 - $140,000) ÷ 120   = cost per participant $40,500

Can an organization receive a telephone call to discuss and ask questions regarding the Call for Proposals?

In order to ensure a fair and transparent process, we can only respond to questions via email that are specific to the Call for Proposals process and cannot engage in questions about the concept or the design of a project.

Please feel free to ask specific questions related to this Call for Proposals and we will do our best to respond in a timely fashion by sending an email to Service Canada.

Can a project support a student as a participant and are part-time work placements eligible?

If the youth requires assistance because they are a youth facing barriers (for example, risk of homelessness or risk of quitting High School) they are eligible to receive supports and participate in a project. It is important to note that the intention of the program is not to serve youth in high school who are simply looking for part-time work or summer employment.

Furthermore, the program does not prescribe the type and sequence of interventions required, it does however encourage participants to be placed in full-time work placements unless the youth faces a barrier or multiple barriers that prevents them from acquiring full time work. That being said, part-time work combined with skills advancement etc. is also eligible.

Do applications need to reference the interventions that are included in the applicant guide glossary?

Interventions for youth are designed to resolve an employment barrier experienced by a person which prevents them from finding, obtaining and maintaining suitable employment and which requires a service provider to arrange for the acquisition or transfer of the desired skills, knowledge, or attitudinal change.  The plan for the youth to return to work and interventions included therein are focused and intended to enhance the employability of the youth and ultimately enable the them to overcome the barriers and obtain employment.

The list of terms from the glossary provided below are examples of interventions that can be incorporated into a project that will help the youth reach their employment goals. The design of a project is up to the applicant and can be in many different shapes and forms. It is encouraged that applicants include some or all of these concepts in their applications. 

  • Employment Sessions
  • Employability Skills Sessions
  • Employability Skills through Work Experience
  • Individual Skills Enhancement
  • Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship
  • Work Experience
If our project intends to address one or more of the priorities in the Applicant Guide, what information is needed?

You should provide any relevant information that supports the priorities of the Call for Proposals that has been incorporated into your project. This can include Labour Market information or demographic statistics for the locations of activities. Additionally, provide information on why there is a need for the project in the area that is being proposed and demonstrate that there is a reasonable expectation of success for any priorities being addressed. Simply listing the priorities you are addressing is not enough information to assess.

Our project intends to target more than one group of youth facing barriers  - what information is required?

Whether the project targets one specific group of youth or many, the information that you provide about the youth you are serving that will participate in your project should describe the following:

  • participants' recruitment method, (for example, through interviews and/or information sessions, referrals from youth serving agencies, and other community organizations)
  • basis for selection of participants (for example, eligibility criteria, interests, commitment, education and/or readiness for participation in a project)
  • participants targeted; (for example, Indigenous youth, youth with disabilities, visible minority youth, recent immigrant youth, and refugee youth)
  • means by which participants' eligibility will be verified
  • fields or sectors in which participants will conduct their work experience


Apprenticeship – A system of training a new generation of practitioners of a trade or profession with on-the-job training and often some accompanying study (classroom work and reading). Apprenticeship also enables practitioners to gain a license to practice in a regulated profession. Most of their training is done while working for an employer who helps the apprentices learn their trade or profession, in exchange for their continued labor for an agreed period after they have achieved measurable competencies

Case management - Case management can involve a process of assessment, planning, assistance and advocacy for options and services to meet an individual's holistic needs through available supports, services and resources to promote a positive result. The emphasis on case management is to allow for greater flexibility and coordination. For example, a homeless youth may need to suspend a placement based on housing needs or a youth experiencing a mental health crisis may need to take a break from work placement to seek care. In such cases, the youth should be allowed to return to the intervention. Throughout the life of the project, contribution recipients will be expected to maintain relationships with youth and ensure that there is program coordination and flexibility to allow youth to easily return to programming. Case management should be provided to the youth throughout all interventions and include follow-up support after they have either found employment or returned to school.

Completion bonus – A completion bonus is a payment (maximum $750) that can be paid to participants on all interventions, except Individual Skills Enhancement, where deemed appropriate and where not detrimental to the social welfare of the participant. These bonuses are paid through the contribution agreement, and are in addition to any allowances/wages that are paid. The completion bonus can be paid incrementally throughout the project as a youth progresses or as a lump sum, paid upon completion of the intervention(s). Determining eligibility of the completion bonus can include such factors as: attendance, completion of multiple interventions or number of hours completed.

Culturally-specific supports for Indigenous youth – These could include holistic interventions that integrate Indigenous culture and history and connect youth with Elders for teachings and mentorship. Please note that the delivery of these supports should be limited to Indigenous peoples and not people outside of the community delivering them on their behalf. Examples of eligible supports under this category could include:

  • access and networks to Indigenous social services (e.g. healing centers, counselling, healthcare, shelters, resource centers, restorative justice)
  • Indigenous skills development (e.g. drumming, weaving, beading, fishing, hunting, land-based learning, dancing, oral story telling)
  • Indigenous language training
  • access to Indigenous Elders to perform ceremonies and cultural practices that assist in the provision of eligible enhanced supports (e.g. honorariums, non-monetary gifts, hiring Elders as staff in service delivery to provide on-going support to Indigenous youth on a part-time or full-time basis as part of administrative costs of the organization)
  • other supports approved by ESDC/Service Canada on a case-by-case basis

Employment sessions - Employment Sessions are short-term activities designed to assist youth in searching for and obtaining work. Youth are given an opportunity to acquire information and skills, and to apply these skills within a supported environment and may be provided to groups or individuals. Sessions must include employment-oriented subject matter (e.g., career and occupational information, career decision-making processes, job search techniques, job application processes, résumé and cover letter preparation, job interview preparation and conduct, how to accept, start and maintain employment.

Employability Skills sessions- Pre-employment activity for youth who need some additional development before advancing to a work experience. This can be offered in a group or individual setting to offer youth the opportunity to participate in workshops to learn or enhance skills transferable to the workplace, such as leadership, teamwork, people management skills and communication skills. (Refer to

Employability Skills through Work Experience

The Employability Skills through Work Experience intervention combines employability skills and an activity focused on the exposure of participants to the labour market. Workshops that help build participants’ employability skills are blended with periods where participants work directly with employers. This intervention is more advanced and is used when participants are closer to being job-ready and have worked through other interventions, or in certain cases, a youth was previously homeless but is now in a more stable situation and ready to enter or return to employment. A balance of exposure to the employability skills and work experience will vary. For example, participants may spend three days per week in a work experience and the remaining two days in employability skills workshops.

Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship

Employability Skills through Entrepreneurship provides entrepreneurial skills within an activity where youth are given exposure to the world of self-employment. Through experiences focused on entrepreneurship, youth develop skills that will equip them to establish an enterprise and become capable business people, thereby helping them make a successful transition into the labour market. Participants in this intervention should be youth who have the interest, ambition and aptitude (an assessment of each individual’s aptitude for entrepreneurship should be included in the participant selection process) for starting their own business.

Enhanced support – interventions that occur pre-, during and post-employment. Youth facing barriers, especially those who have experienced trauma may require significant supports to gain skills or employment whereas youth that are more job-ready may need only minimal support to gain employment. The service delivery model is based on flexibility and adaptability to better meet the needs of individual youth, whatever their circumstances with supports being holistic and tailored to the individual needs of youth.

Essential Skills – Essential Skills provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to better prepare for, obtain and maintain/retain employment, and adapt and succeed at work.Projects may incorporate Essential Skills into the interventions. The Nine Workplace Essential Skills are:

  • Reading
  • Document Use
  • Numeracy
  • Writing
  • Oral Communication
  • Working with Others
  • Thinking
  • Digital Technology
  • Continuous Learning

See more information on Essential Skills profiles.

Health support for youth – Health supports for youth can be provided for those who either do not have coverage (e.g. for youth who are not covered by provincial/territorial or private insurance plans) or whose coverage falls under federal jurisdiction (e.g. Indigenous youth, veterans). Some examples of eligible supports are:

  • services (individual and family counselling with a psychologist, day treatment programs, residential programs, rehabilitation programs, support groups or self-help groups) to assist youth affected by substance abuse that will allow youth to become more job-ready
  • incentives for employers who agree to continue with a mental health program for a participant
  • reimbursement for unpaid sick leave on a case-by-case basis
  • prescribed drug benefits
  • other approved by ESDC/Service Canada on a case by case basis

Individual Skills Enhancement - Individual Skills Enhancement (ISE) enables youth to participate in courses that fill specific, identified gaps in their education and skill development, taking into consideration labour market needs. ISE is to be used when there is no other means of support available to meet identified skill requirements. Courses supported under ISE will likely be pre-employment in nature. The ISE intervention must clearly further participants’ progression toward employment.

Intervention – An activity in which a young person participates in order to significantly advance toward an employment goal. The young person usually receives income support (allowance or wage) while participating in an intervention.

Job coaching - Job coaching refers to the training of an employee by a specialist, who uses structured intervention techniques to help the employee learn to perform job tasks to the employer's specifications and to learn the interpersonal skills necessary to be accepted as a worker at the job site. In addition to job-site training, job coaching can include: related assessment, job development, counseling, advocacy, travel to work training and other services needed by the participant in order to maintain the employment. Job coaching can include all youth facing barriers as needed.

Mentorship - Mentorship is an employee training system under which a senior or more experienced individual (the mentor) is assigned to act as an advisor, counselor, or guide to a junior or new employee (the mentee). The relationship promotes personal and professional development. It inspires respect and admiration, the mentee typically identifies with the mentor and objectives are mainly focused on personal growth. The mentor is responsible for providing support to, and feedback on, the individual in their charge. Typically mentoring is done over a longer period and is not as intensive as on the job training or job coaching.

MERCs – Employers are required by law to pay the Mandatory Employment Related Costs (MERCs) for their employees. These costs include Employment Insurance premiums, Canada or Quebec Pension Plan contributions, vacation pay, Workers’ Compensation premiums or equivalent liability insurance (if applicable), health insurance and parental insurance premiums in Quebec and Ontario, the Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Health and Education Levy in Manitoba.

For your information, payroll deductions tables can be found on the CRA website. Check with the appropriate provincial or territorial authorities to ensure that you have the most updated rate information.

On the job training – Employee training at the place of work while the youth is doing the actual job. The training is typically conducted by an experienced employee who provides hands-on-training and can often be supported by formal classroom training by the employee.

Outreach - Outreach involves taking a proactive approach to working with youth. Rather than waiting for youth to visit an employment services office or youth centre, the contribution recipient can identify effective means to locate and connect with youth (e.g. through special events, such as job fairs, or through drop-in centres). These events would provide an opportunity for the organization to contact the targeted group and provide information such as available services, labour market information, job listings and job search tips/aids. The organization may also offer services off-site to youth who are unable or reluctant to visit a youth centre to encourage them to consider their future, options, and available services.

Social Innovation - Refers to a response to a social or environmental problem (including everything from a program or a service to different ways of structuring organizations) which, once adopted, results in better outcomes than existing approaches. Social innovations have a transformative impact, delivering improvements across organizations, communities, regions or systems. Social Innovation Projects can include innovative dimensions that may be found in various aspects of a project, such as new actors, organizational forms, business models, intervention approaches, economic model/funding sources, services offered, enhancing programming to respond to new client groups, social needs and/or labour market needs/trends, etc.

Strategic Collaborations and Partnerships projects – Projects that have a social purpose and involve third party organizations that represent skills and labour force development in socio-economic sectors (e.g. linking employers, service providers, unions, industry associations, educational institutions, and other levels of government) to increase capacity across the youth service provider network. Coalition and partnership models include but are not limited to service delivery organizations that partner together in order to provide a broader range of enhanced supports to youth; and, industry, sector, and/or educational organizations that partner to support youth in the acquisition of in-demand skills.

Work Experience - Work Experience interventions provide youth with opportunities to develop and enhance employability and occupational skills through practical on-the-job experience. These interventions can be supported by workplace coaching/on the job training to maximize the benefit gained by the participant. Before commencing a work experience, there must be a determination that the participant is ready to work with an employer.

Definitions of youth facing barriers

Youth who experience employment barriers include but are not limited to those who self-identify as:

  • Affected by substance use
  • Currently in, coming out of, or who have had involvement in the justice system
    • the individual indicates, or the service provider reasonably believes that the youth has been involved with the justice system
  • Early leavers from high school
  • Homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
    • the individual has indicated, or the service provider/employer reasonably believes that the individual lacks stable, permanent, appropriate housing or the immediate prospect of acquiring it; lives on the streets, in emergency or overnight shelters or in provisional temporary accommodations; is at risk of homelessness due to a precarious economic or housing situation
  • “In or aging out of care”
    • the individual is either in or leaving care of the child welfare system
  • Involuntary NEET (not in Education, Employment, Training) for at least 6 months
  • LGBTQ2+
    • Self identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, queer , two-spirit and others
  • Living in a low-income household
    • the individual indicates that they reside in a household with a low-income, or has identified their source of income as one of the following:
      • Crown Ward extended care and maintenance
      • Dependent of Employment Insurance or welfare assistance (i.e. Social Assistance, Income Supports, Income Assistance)
  • Living with family care responsibilities
    • the individual acts as primary caregiver or lone head of household (e.g., lone parent, caregiver of dependents)
  • Living with a disability
    • self-identifies as having a disability which includes: agility, hearing, mental health, developmental, intellectual, visual, motor skills, speaking, learning
  • Living with low levels of literacy and numeracy
  • Recent immigrant and/or refugee
    • a recent immigrant has lived in Canada less than 60 months (5 years)
    • a refugee is person on whom refugee status has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act)
  • Residing in a rural or remote location - defined as a population of less than 1,000 {core population} and where no, or very little, access to the services of the closest municipality with a population of 1,000 or more exists.
  • Youth who belong to a visible minority group
    • Visible minority - refers to whether a person belongs to a visible minority group as defined by the Employment Equity Act and, if so, the visible minority group to which the person belongs. The Employment Equity Act defines visible minorities as "persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour".

Definition of Indigenous youth

Youth who self-identifies as First Nations, Métis, Inuit and/or urban or non-affiliated Indigenous youth.

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