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The Developmental Services Employment and Modernization Fund (EMF) was launched in 2014, as part of the Ontario government's $810 million investment strategy for community and developmental services. The fund is intended to promote greater inclusion and independence for adults with developmental disabilities.

This past March, the Honourable Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services, announced that the fund would go beyond the original two phases in order to continue to build on the successes of the first two rounds of funding by seeking projects that promote creative approaches to delivering services, creating person-centred approaches and knowledge sharing.

This fund supports the ongoing transformation of the developmental services system into one that promotes greater inclusion and independence for individuals, and delivers person-centered supports through a collaborative and efficient service delivery network.

The intent of the fund is to support the ministry’s strategic objective of moving toward individualized supports by replicating successful initiatives, sharing best practices and resources, as well as providing evidence-based innovative approaches for individualized community-based supports.

Preference will be given to projects with transformative potential that have a long-term impact beyond the end of the fund.

The fund consists of the following two streams:

Employment: The purpose of the employment stream is to improve employment outcomes for and facilitate the shift towards competitive employment for individuals with developmental disabilities through a coordinated system that addresses a broad range of employment support needs. This stream supports collaborative initiatives to improve the quality and effectiveness of employment support programs, and enable individuals to pursue real work for real pay in mainstream workplaces in the community.

Modernization: Projects that promote collaboration and new delivery models within the developmental services sector, and that build linkages with other sectors, in order to make services and supports more person-centred and responsive to the needs of individuals and families.

The province has already invested nearly $15 million in 76 creative proposals through the first two phases in 2014/15 and 2016/17.

Descriptions of the funded projects can be found on the ministry’s website.

The current call for proposals will provide funding for projects starting in the fiscal year 2018/19 and ending in 2019/20. Projects will not be funded beyond March 31, 2020. Applicants may submit proposals for onetime projects, one or two-year funding. Two-year funding will be contingent upon reporting back on project milestones and stated outcomes.


The objectives of this fund are to:

  • Advance the developmental services transformation through initiatives promoting person-centred approaches to support individuals in inclusive, community-based settings
  • Build community capacity by developing better linkages with existing services, resources, and infrastructure in local communities
  • Encourage the replication of best practices and innovative approaches through knowledge sharing across the sector
  • Encourage collaboration within the sector, and develop partnerships with other sectors
  • Promote efficiency and flexibility through responsive service delivery models and organizational structures
  • Promote better performance measurement and accountability to ensure activities and supports are directly linked to individual outcomes


All proposed projects must be related to services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Any individuals directly served through these projects must be deemed eligible for adult developmental services by Developmental Services Ontario (DSO).

Ministry-funded transfer payment agencies that serve adults with developmental disabilities must be the lead applicant. However, we strongly encourage regional and cross-sectoral partnerships. The lead applicant is the single point of contact for the ministry and accepts responsibility for meeting the terms and conditions of the funding.

Agencies may submit only one proposal for funding as the lead applicant, and one where they are involved as a partner.

Proposal Submission Instructions

Applicants must submit proposals for either the employment or the modernization stream using the attached application form. Proposals should not exceed 10 pages. Should you wish to provide additional information about your proposal, teleconference sessions with the ministry will be held in November to discuss proposals in more detail and to respond to questions.

Applicants should only submit proposals in the region where the project is to be implemented. If a project involves multiple regions or sites it should be submitted as a single integrated proposal to the regional office where the lead applicant’s head office is located, instead of separate proposals to each regional office.

If two or more applicants collaborate on the development of a proposal it is expected that they submit one joint proposal instead of submitting the same proposal twice. Promoting collaboration and partnerships is a key objective of this fund and the review panel will take this into due consideration when reviewing and scoring proposals.

Letters of reference are not required and will not receive any additional points in the evaluation process, although applicants may submit partnership letters or memoranda of understanding to indicate formal collaboration on a project. Such letters and memoranda can supplement the 10-page proposal.

Applicants should submit their completed application form to their regional office no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 12, 2017.

Submissions received after the designated date/time will not be reviewed. All applicants will receive an acknowledgement of receipt of their proposal. Key contact information must be provided in the event the applicant needs to be contacted to clarify any part of their proposal.

Proposal Evaluation Criteria

A review team from the Ministry of Community and Social Services will evaluate project proposals, using the criteria listed below:

Alignment with purpose and objectives of the fund: The proposal aligns with the purpose and objectives of the fund and there is a clear rationale or need identified for the project.

Use of community resources and partnerships: The proposed project leverages existing services, resources and infrastructure in the community. The project improves collaboration within the sector or builds partnerships with other sectors, municipalities, community groups, etc.

Knowledge transfer: The proposal includes the development of resources and/or materials to support knowledge sharing and replication of best practices from the project with other agencies in the sector.

Innovation and replication: The proposal aims to improve the quality or efficiency of services and supports by building upon best practices and evidence-based approaches.

Innovative projects that proved to have positive outcomes and demonstrated sustainability can be replicated to validate proof of concept in other geographies, to reach larger numbers, different organization models or with different programs.    

Value for money: The proposed budget represents good value for money, and expenditures identified are directly related to the project. The budget provides sufficient details and a clear breakdown of expenditures for the full duration of the project.

Long-term impact: The proposed project is expected to have an impact beyond its completion. The proposal demonstrates a clear link between activities and expected outcomes, and indicates how key indicators of success will be measured.

Feasibility and sustainability: Show it is possible to carry out the project within the proposed timelines and budget. If the project is expected to continue beyond the end date of this fund, there is a clear sustainability plan that is not dependent on additional ministry funding.

Examples of Potential Projects

The following list provides examples of potential projects that may be suitable for funding. Proposals will be judged based on how well they meet the fund’s objectives and evaluation criteria. The list is meant to be illustrative and not exhaustive.


Enhancing employment supports by:

  • Developing or replicating evidence-based practices to support individuals in obtaining competitive employment in the community
  • Transitioning from training and skills development programs to supported employment

Organizing training and networking initiatives:

  • Professional development and training for staff on evidence-based supported employment models and approaches

Developing partnerships and linkages between employment programs and providers:

  • Collaborating with other DS agencies and employment service providers in the community (e.g. Ontario Disability Support Program Employment Supports providers)
  • Developing collaborative models to address the range of employment support needs for individuals in the community

Promoting youth employment:

  • Collaborating with school boards and post-secondary institutions
  • Developing co-op, summer and part-time employment opportunities

Supporting service providers to develop or replicate person-centred and inclusive supports by:

  • Shifting toward individualized supports
  • Helping individuals integrate in their communities by supporting them to access existing community-based programs such as recreation, volunteering, literacy, etc

Promoting community development and collaboration with other sectors:

  • Developing partnerships with existing programs, services and providers in the community and utilizing existing community infrastructure

Supporting life transitions and coordinating services and supports for individuals:

  • Developing resources and approaches to support transitions such as youth to adulthood, graduation from high school, aging, etc.

Consolidation or enhancement of organizational functions to increase efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery:

  • Sharing administrative costs, employees or third-party contractors across organizations

You may wish to consult the EMF section of the ministry’s website for a list of past successful proposals.

Ineligible Projects and Expenses

The following expenditures and activities are not eligible for funding under this fund:

  • Wage subsidies, wages and stipends for individuals supported
  • Renovations, furniture, vehicles, appliances, leases and facility rentals and minor or major capital
  • Housing-related projects or expenses (rent, mortgages, etc.)
  • Equipment or technology-related purchases such as computers, tablets, phones, software etc.*
  • Start-up or operating funding for agency-owned businesses, co-ops or social enterprises
  • Activities requiring additional ongoing ministry funding beyond the end of the project
  • Administrative costs exceeding 10% of the total project budget (including all administrative costs such as overhead, administrative staff, supplies, etc.)
  • Existing services and initiatives already being funded through developmental services programs, ODSP Employment Supports, or other government programs
  • General public awareness campaigns (targeted initiatives may be eligible if they are part of a broader project and there is a demonstrated need)

*These purchases may be considered only where there is a clear demonstrated need for a particular purchase, and where the project meets the overall objectives and evaluation criteria of the fund.

Proposals will have to clearly indicate why these purchases are required.

Review and Selection Process

Project proposals will undergo a two-part review process. Proposals will initially be reviewed by ministry regional offices followed by a selection panel of corporate ministry staff.

Projects will be evaluated using the criteria outlined, and all budgets will be reviewed to ensure expenses and deliverables are consistent with the parameters outlined in these guidelines.

Where the review panel identifies similar proposals or opportunities for collaboration, the ministry may encourage applicants to collaborate and develop a joint proposal or partnership.

Due to the limited funding available, not all proposals submitted to the ministry can be selected for funding. The ministry’s decisions will be final and there will be no appeals process.

Performance Accountability and Financial Reporting

All projects that are selected for funding will be required to track and report on performance indicators identified in a reporting template that will be provided to successful applicants with their offer of funding.

As noted in the application form, each proposal must also include a list of measurable outcomes that the project seeks to achieve and the indicators that will be used to measure these outcomes. Where proposed projects are being implemented over more than one fiscal year, additional year funding will be contingent on a satisfactory report-back on project milestones and performance indicators.

Knowledge Transfer

In order to encourage best practices and highlight innovative approaches, agencies will be required to provide resources and materials developed as part of their project to the ministry to be compiled and shared with the sector.

Additional Information

If you have any questions about this fund, please contact your ministry regional office.

Information sessions will be held for agencies interested in submitting proposals. The information sessions will be conducted using teleconference and agencies will be invited to submit questions ahead of time.

More information on these sessions, including dates and times, will be provided soon.