Ottawa looks for proposals for equal opportunity

WORBE program aims to break down barriers in federally regulated workplaces

Ottawa looks for proposals for equal opportunity

The federal government is looking for ideas on how to provide equal opportunity to employment.

Ottawa has launched the 2022 Open Call for Concepts for the Workplace Opportunities: Removing Barriers to Equity (WORBE) program, which aims to break down barriers in federally regulated workplaces.

"Every Canadian deserves a fair chance to succeed. The Workplace Opportunities program is breaking down barriers for Canadians that are traditionally under-represented in the workforce,” says Seamus O'Regan Jr., minister of labour. “Creating a more vibrant and diverse workforce will help build a better future for all Canadians, empowering them to be part of Canada's recovery and stability. Because when you include everyone, you get the best."

Through the program, Ottawa provides up to $3 million annually in funding for projects that help federally regulated employers across the country become more representative and inclusive.

This year, the call for concepts requires projects to focus on one or more of the four equity-seeking groups within federally regulated sectors with low representation: women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.

Several companies are coming up with solutions to address barriers to employment for people with disabilities, according to a previous report.

The federal government’s call for concepts is open to:

  • federally regulated private sector employers and industries
  • employer associations or councils
  • sector associations or councils
  • unions
  • non-governmental organizations
  • not-for-profit organizations
  • academic institutions

Applicants have until Feb. 15, 2022 to submit their project concepts through this website:

Successful applicants will be invited to submit detailed project proposals that will be considered for single or multi-year agreements (up to three years), beginning in 2022-23.

The federal government launched the WORBE program in 2014. Past projects include Abilities at Work, a project by the BC Centre for Ability Association aimed at connecting persons with disabilities with employment opportunities in the transportation sector. The Best Practices for Retaining Indigenous Apprentices, a project by the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum aimed at identifying successful workplace practices to hire and retain Indigenous apprentices, was also funded through the program.

Recently, Google Canada announced a $600,000 commitment to provide free digital skills training to Indigenous job seekers across Canada.

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