Funding: Child and Family Social Development Projects

Through the Social Development Partnerships Program (SDPP), funding is provided to eligible not-for-profit organizations for projects that help to improve the lives of children and families.

Funding is also provided under the Disability component of this program.

Application Information

We are not accepting applications at this time.


To ensure your organization and proposed project are eligible for funding, review the following criteria before you apply.

Who can apply?

Individuals and provincial/territorial departments and agencies are not eligible for funding.

In order to be eligible to receive contribution or grant funding the recipient must be:

  • A not-for-profit organization, including registered charities and social enterprises; and
  • Actively pursuing activities in line with the SDPP’s objectives.

Calls for Proposals and/or guides for applicants will be consistent with the list of eligible Recipients, but may be more restrictive. Proof and determination of an organization’s not-for-profit status will be explicitly defined in Calls for Proposals.

Funding Amounts

The duration of the Program’s funding support will be up to a maximum of five years, subject to review.

For Contributions

The maximum level of multi-year financial support per contribution agreement is $3,000,000 per fiscal year. Support will be negotiated and where possible and appropriate, costs will be shared by recipients or other stakeholders.

Contribution funding amounts will be determined based on an assessment of the recipient’s budget submission, previous financial performance, capacity of the recipient to achieve results, and previous experience with contribution agreement management. An assessment tool will be used to evaluate the reasonableness of costs. The availability of Program funds and the number of successful applicants will also be used to determine the amount the recipient is eligible to receive.

For Grants

Multi-year grants to organizations to help strengthen services and programs may be provided to a maximum of $2,000,000 per fiscal year, subject to annual reports on progress toward achieving results.

Grant funding amounts will be determined based on an assessment of the recipient’s budget submission and the organization’s historical budget capacity along with a review of the organization’s annual statement of accounts. An assessment tool will be used to evaluate the reasonableness of costs. The availability of Program funds and the number of successful applicants will also be used to determine the amount the recipient is eligible to receive.

Stacking Limit

The maximum level (stacking limit) of total Canadian government funding (federal, provincial and municipal assistance for the same eligible expenditures) for this Program will not exceed 100% of eligible expenditures. This stacking limit must be respected when funding is provided. In the event that actual total Canadian government funding to a recipient exceeds the stacking limit, it will be necessary for the department to adjust its level of funding (and seek reimbursement, if necessary) so that the stacking limit is not exceeded. Employment and Skills Development Canada(ESDC) will require all potential recipients to disclose all sources of funding for a proposed project before the start and at the end of a project.

Eligible Projects

Eligible projects must be consistent with SDPP objectives and respond to the priorities set by the Minister of ESDC.

Funding may be provided to support community-based or pan-Canadian projects related to social development that:

  • explore, test and develop innovative solutions, best practices, tools and methodologies (e.g. toolkits, resources, information management and retrieval systems, etc.);
  • disseminate information and knowledge (e.g. share best practices, tools, resources, training guides, newsletters, Websites, public education materials, symposia, etc.);
  • establish and maintain sustainable partnerships, alliances, networks and collaboration (e.g. through workshops, information sharing, joint initiatives, protocols, Memoranda of Understanding, etc.);
  • foster participation in consultations on social policies and programs (e.g. consultations with communities, stakeholders, individuals, etc.); or
  • help increase not-for-profit organizations’ capacity in the areas of governance, policy and program development, community outreach, organizations administration and management.

Eligible Costs

The purchase of real property is not an eligible expense for funding support.

For Contributions

Expenditures may be reimbursed on the basis of eligible costs incurred. In order to be eligible, expenditures must be project-related and must be incurred during the agreement period. Financial assistance may be provided to cover expenditures such as:

  • wages and employment-related costs for staff;
  • fees for professional service;
  • disability supports for staff of the recipient;
  • materials and supplies;
  • printing and communication;
  • travel costs;
  • utilities;
  • insurance;
  • rental of premises;
  • lease, purchase and maintenance of equipment;
  • costs of project audits;
  • evaluations and assessments;
  • performance monitoring and reporting costs;
  • data collection;
  • knowledge development activities; and
  • other administrative costs associated with the project based on approved methodology.

The costs related to accommodating the special needs of project participants will be approved on a case by case basis.

For Grants

The type and nature of expenditures that will be considered in determining the amount of grant funding provided to recipients are determined during the assessment phase. Financial assistance may be provided to cover expenditures such as:

  • wages and benefits;
  • professional fees;
  • travel and accommodations;
  • materials and supplies;
  • printing and communication;
  • equipment rental/lease/maintenance;
  • administration costs;
  • capital costs; and
  • disability supports for staff of the recipient.

Objectives and Performance Indicators

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The objectives of the Program are to:

  • support the development and utilization of effective approaches to address social issues and challenges;
  • develop, exchange and apply knowledge, tools and resources that address social needs of individuals, families and communities;
  • foster partnerships and networks to address existing and emerging social issues;
  • recognize and support the ability of not-for-profit organizations to identify and address social development priorities; and,
  • recognize and promote community engagement initiatives (e.g. volunteerism, corporate social responsibility, innovation by not-for-profit organizations, partnerships, coalitions) that mobilize community assets and develop capacities and resources for action.

Outcomes and Performance Indicators

The SDPP contributes to the achievement of the following direct outcomes.

Partnerships and Networks are Fostered

Partnerships and networks will be fostered to build knowledge and understanding of the social issues and challenges facing target populations. Activities may include identifying current gaps in knowledge and approaches, and providing input during the design, piloting and implementation of project tools, information and resources, and program development.

Performance indicators:

  • number of working groups and sector-wide networks;
  • number of funded projects where the recipient organization had funding partners (by type); and
  • number of organizations that have reported the development of new networks and partnerships.
Approaches to Respond to Existing and Emerging Social Issues are Developed and Identified

SDPP will enhance the development and recognition of approaches that address the social needs of individuals, families and communities. Approaches could include programs, services and resources that are designed to identify and meet the needs of target populations.

Performance indicators:

  • estimated number of approaches developed (e.g. tools, pilot projects, best practices and training guides);
  • number of grants;
  • financial value of grants;
  • number of contributions;
  • financial value of contributions; and
  • number and percentage of proposals that address each priority.
Knowledge of Existing and Emerging Social Issues is Developed and Shared

Understanding the social needs of target populations will be enhanced through the development of best practices and innovative solutions. SDPP funding will help disseminate, promote and share this knowledge to better serve target populations. Examples include community engagement through volunteerism, corporate social responsibility and innovation by not-for-profit organizations.

Performance indicators:

  • estimated number of approaches developed (e.g. tools, pilot projects, best practices and training guides);
  • number of grants;
  • financial value of grants;
  • number of contributions; and
  • financial value of contributions.

Application Review Process

All application processes will assure fairness and transparency. All proposals and applications must include all required information as set out in the specific Guide to Applicants. Application guidelines, outlining application requirements, will be publicly available.

Applications will be assessed against the requirements outlined in the Guide to Applicants and/or Call for Proposals documentation. Project proposals and grant applications will be accepted through regular, transparent and fair intake processes. Applications for funding must be compatible with SDPP objectives, priorities and funding criteria.

Applications for funding must be supported by proposals that:

  1. state the project objectives, describe the activities to be funded, outline a timeframe, and expected results;
  2. demonstrate how the project fills a gap or meets an identified need;
  3. demonstrate how project outcomes will benefit the community;
  4. outline how the project will be evaluated and success will be determined;
  5. include financial information on costs to be incurred and other sources of funding;
  6. provide basic organizational data;
  7. declare Amounts Owing to the Government of Canada; and
  8. disclose the involvement of former public servants who are subject to the Post-employment Measures of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service, the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders, the Conflict of Interest Act, the Parliament of Canada Act and the Lobbying Act.

In the case of contribution agreements specifically, some or all of the following may also be required in the application:

  • lobbyists’ information;
  • information regarding the capacity and/or expertise of the organization; and
  • other information as may be required.


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Successful candidates will receive payments in accordance with the Policy on Transfer Payments.

For Contributions

Payments to contribution recipients will be made, as appropriate, based on expenditure claims, or via advance payments based on a cash-flow forecast in accordance with Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments, and a final payment of any sums due following receipt of the final claim. Employment and Skills Development will withhold up to 10 percent of the contribution until after the recipient’s final claim has been received and approved. Only eligible expenditures will be reimbursed.

Progress payments will be provided to recipients on the basis of written claims supported by substantiating documentation as may be required by ESDC.

For advance payments, an initial payment will be made to recipients based on a cash-flow forecast for a specific period. Subsequent advance payments will be calculated by taking the planned amount for the next period minus any excess amount the recipient has on hand from previous payments.

Any payments that exceed the amount to which the contribution recipient is entitled are debts to the Crown and must be repaid. An overpayment will be established in the Departmental Accounts Receivable System (DARS).

Notwithstanding the approved duration of funding, payments will be linked to financial and/or performance reviews as appropriate. Pre-determined performance expectations will be met by the recipient through reports submitted on a regular basis, which include a description of activities and progress towards achieving results. Milestones for reporting will be outlined in the contribution agreement. Results of such reviews may lead to the early termination of the project.

For Grants

Payments to grant recipients will be made in instalments, as appropriate, in accordance with the Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments, subject to verification of continued eligibility of the recipient.


Where other sources of funding are anticipated, a provision for repayment is to be included in the agreements covering the grant or contribution in case more funding than was anticipated is provided from federal, provincial and municipal sources.

Employment Canada will negotiate specific terms of repayment to suit the particular capacities and concerns of the prospective recipient within the context of the Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments. Employment and Skills Development Canada is accountable for ensuring that reasonable recoveries are made and that the Government’s interests are visible in contribution agreements.

Contributions will not be made to businesses and/or will not be intended to allow recipients to generate profits.

Redistribution of Contributions

In carrying out projects, contribution recipients may have to procure goods and services needed to perform the project. When contracting or subcontracting, principles of accountability for results and fairness, and best value for money must be respected. Within these principles of accountability, full disclosure on the intended use of contribution funds must be respected. The goal is to promote greater rigour in assessing the proposed use of contribution funds before signing contribution agreements, as well as in the monitoring and approval of claims during contribution agreement administration.

In projects involving the further distribution of the contribution by the Recipient to one or more persons or entities, the agreement will make clear, either expressly or by implication, that the Recipient has independence in the choice of those persons or entities, with minimal guidance from ESDC, and will not be acting as the agent for the government in making the distributions.

Financial and Performance Reporting

For Contributions

Recipients will be required to submit a financial claim supported by general ledger or equivalent. Recipients will also be required to submit regular progress reports that outline activities completed and progress towards achieving results. The frequency of financial and performance reporting will be based on assigned risk, using the department’s Risk Assessment Management and Mitigation (RAMM) approach.

A final report will be submitted by recipients and will include information on results achieved, which will be recorded in the Program’s evaluation database. Information on project results will be used to support the Program’s performance management strategy and departmental reporting.

For Grants

Recipients will be required to submit a report on progress towards achieving results on an annual basis. Information on grant results will be captured in the template provided by the Program and will be used to support the Program’s performance management strategy and departmental reporting. Grant recipients will also be required to submit their annual statements of accounts and activities.