September 2016

5.2 - Employment Projects Funding

Summary of Directive

Regional offices may provide funding to projects that demonstrate innovative approaches to providing employment supports for people with disabilities.

Legislative Authority

Sections 32 (1), 48 (1), 48 (2) of the ODSP Act

Intent of Policy

To outline the criteria for selecting, funding and reporting on projects that complement employment supports while demonstrating a link to expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Application of Policy

Employment Projects

An Employment Project is an initiative that complements employment supports program delivery by creating access to job opportunities for people with disabilities who traditionally experience more challenges than others in accessing employment.

Eligible projects may include:

  • awareness events or community dialogues that are intended to increase an understanding of the talent that exists among people with disabilities as a whole or for a specific disability type;
  • networking forums that serve as forums where employers and people with disabilities can interact for the purpose of filling job vacancies; or
  • sector-based training sessions for groups of people with disabilities that can enhance their employability in the labour market.

The regions may also consider supporting projects that do not fit in the categories listed above provided that the applicant provides a strong business case that demonstrates a clear link to employment that is not otherwise available through conventional job development. In addition, a rationale for why Employment Projects funding is needed to support the initiative must be provided. Regional offices may define these criteria within the context of their community and the availability of employment supports service providers in their area.

Funding for Employment Projects is managed through each regional office's ODSP employment supports allotment.
Regional offices may provide funding for project development, a time-limited project or a one-time event provided that it demonstrates a direct link to employment. The regional office will use standard contracting procedures for employment project funding. The amount of funding and number of projects funded are determined by the regional office.

Each regional office will determine the number of projects to support their geographic area with the total expenditure for the fiscal year not exceeding ten percent of their annual employment supports budget.

Selection Criteria

To be eligible for funding, projects must be intended to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities and/or enhance delivery of ODSP employment supports in a manner that is not funded through the placement and retention payments under ODSP employment supports. This may include (but is not limited to) projects that provide sector-based training or use innovative approaches to helping a specific population (e.g. clients with mental Illness, etc.) become employed.

All projects selected to receive financial support must:

  • provide a description of the linkages to employment for people with disabilities;
  • outline the project budget that described all funding sources and its use;
  • summarize the accountabilities and milestones;
  • describe how the project complements employment supports delivery in the region; and
  • show, if applicable, client involvement in the planning, management and implementation of the project.

In addition to the criteria listed above, proposals must satisfy project specific assessment criteria and reporting metrics according to project type as listed below.

Awareness Events

Awareness event projects focus on bringing employers together for the purpose of building awareness related to integrating the talent of people with disabilities within the workforce or about ODSP employment supports benefits.

To be eligible for funding, applications for hosting an awareness event must describe the:

  • primary audience for the event;
  • goals and objectives;
  • outreach strategy for attracting registrations; and
  • activities that will lead to the achieving the mandatory targets.

Networking Forums

Networking forum projects must bring employers and jobseekers with disabilities together for the purpose of creating employment opportunities in the short or long-term. This may take the form of job fairs, career path awareness fairs, employer-jobseeker mentoring or other innovative approaches that lead to employment opportunities.

To receive funding, applications for networking forums must describe the:

  • short and long-term goals and objectives of the forum;
  • approach that will be used to attract employers, outreach strategy to recruit jobseekers with disabilities;
  • strategy used to ensure an accessible, barrier-free environment; and
  • activities that will lead to the achieving the mandatory targets.

Sector-based Training

Sector-based training projects are those that provide short-term skills training to people with disabilities as a route to employment in an occupation within an identified industry (i.e., hospitality, food service, retail operations, etc.)

To be eligible for Employment Projects funding, sector-based training projects will have no less than five participants receiving instruction on a topic using a common curriculum.

Proposal for group training projects must describe:

  • intended audience;
  • skill(s) that will be enhanced;
  • training approach/curriculum;
  • training location;
  • disability-related supports that will be provided to ensure accessibility; and
  • activities that will lead to the achieving the mandatory targets.

If applicable, proposals must outline any employment involvement and the process that training graduates will be placed into jobs.

General Employment Projects

Projects that are not aligned with the categories listed above may receive funding from the regional offices provided that the proposals include the following:

  • Strong business case that demonstrates a clear link to employment that is not otherwise available through conventional job development.
  • Rationale for why Employment Projects funding is needed to support the initiative.
  • Clear metrics that will be used to assess project outcomes.

Regional offices may define these criteria within the context of their community and the availability of employment supports service providers in their area.


Funding for Employment Projects follows the government’s fiscal year (April 1 - March 31). To ensure that projects have a sufficient amount of time for implementation, application to Employment Projects should be submitted between January 1 and March 31 of the fiscal year preceding the project year; however, regional offices may choose to accept applications at any time during the year.

To be eligible to receive Employment Projects funding, organizations must be:

  • legal entities that have been established by or under legislation, such as the federal or provincial corporation acts or the federal Indian Act; and
  • providing services to people with disabilities.

Applications must include a description of the project. In addition, the proponent should also provide:

  1. A description of the proponent’s experience and ability to manage the project and effectively provide services to the targeted client group, as well as demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the labour market and the community resources available.
  2. A detailed project plan including a description of the activities, timelines for each activity, clients to be served, any one-time events being organized and the results to be achieved through the project.
  3. A detailed budget that identifies the funds needed, funding received from other sources and any in-kind contributions, details of project administration and staffing. In addition, proposals for funding to support the start-up of ongoing Employment Projects must also include a plan for achieving financial self-sufficiency within a specific project timeframe.
  4. A description of the client group or groups that the organization will provide services for.
  5. Any collaborations or partnerships with employers, service providers and other community organizations as related to the project being proposed.
  6. Description of project evaluation metrics, including service performance measures, achievement of outcomes and client satisfaction with services provided.

Employment Projects will be funded for one fiscal year. However, the regional office may approve extended funding for up to a maximum of three years.

Accessing Services Provided Through Employment Projects

When a person applies for ODSP employment supports, the ODSP caseworker’s role is to inform them of projects being funded by the region that may be appropriate in meeting the client's needs.

Clients may have an employment goal that fits with a project receiving funding through Employment Projects. Where appropriate, the ODSP caseworker will inform clients that there may be hiring opportunities through that project.

ODSP employment supports clients may participate in an Employment Project after signing a Welcome to ODSP Employment Supports form.

Regional offices may approve client run businesses or self-employment initiatives provided that project activities are coordinated in partnership with an eligible organization and the client(s) participating in a self-employment project sign a Welcome to ODSP Employment Supports form.

Program Reporting

Employment Projects will allow ODSP employment supports to achieve the following objectives:

  • identify best practices;
  • provide information for ongoing policy development; and
  • meet the government's commitment to community stakeholders.

Although funds pay be provided to projects that test new approaches for expanding employment opportunities, clear performance measures are required to ensure ongoing accountability to consumers and the general public. To this end, regional offices will be required to provide the following information on an annual basis for each funded project:

  • number of participants;
  • number of participants who achieve the objectives of the project;
  • number of participants who start a job (waged employees); and
  • number of participants that achieve 13 weeks of employment.

If applicable, reports must also include the number of clients that start a business (self-employment) and number of self-employed clients who generate $800 net business income.

Additional information may be requested by the ministry to identify effective practices that expand employment for people with disabilities.

Employment Projects and Job Placement Targets

Where an employment project accomplishes successful job placements (i.e. a client obtains competitive employment and is employed for 13 cumulative weeks), the placements may contribute towards regional targets.

Related Directives

5.1 Employment Supports Funding