Call for Proposals

The Future Skills Centre is focused on advancing evidence-driven innovation in Canada’s skills and training ecosystem. The majority of the Centre’s funding is devoted to action- and community-based innovation projects that help diverse Canadians gain the skills they need to adapt and succeed in the workforce. The Centre works with successful project proponents to support efforts to generate forward-looking, responsive, and evidence-informed solutions to better meet the needs of Canadians facing a rapidly changing labour market.

The Centre will continue to launch open calls for proposals to invite applications from stakeholders across the country with projects that develop, test, and evaluate innovative approaches to skills development.  All projects will be rigorously evaluated and the evidence generated will contribute to a growing research base of what works in skills development, for whom, and under what conditions.

If you have questions about our call for proposals process, please email

Current Call for Proposals

Canada’s competitiveness and prosperity relies on a skilled and competent workforce. There is mounting evidence, however, that in a time of rapid economic and labour market change, we need to act collectively to ensure our skills development ecosystem keeps pace with the scale of disruption we are facing. There is an urgent need to better understand what skills Canadians require to prosper and how Canada can leverage its skills development infrastructure to meet the needs of workers and employers across the country today and into the future. 

The objective of this Call for Proposals is to identify, test and evaluate innovative projects that have the potential to generate actionable evidence about how to better equip Canadians with the skills required to navigate a fast-changing labour market. 

In August 2019, the Future Skills Centre invited proposals to address one of these three questions: 

  1. How can we best support Canadians facing labour market disruption to transition to new jobs or industries?
  2. How can employers be more effectively engaged in developing and delivering demand-driven solutions to skills gap challenges?
  3. How can skills development systems be optimized, building up the capacity of service providers and encouraging collaboration between organizations?  

Application Process

The application process for this Call for Proposals involves three stages.

  • Stage 1: In September 2019, 360 Letters of Interest were submitted and assessed by an adjudication panel, subject matter experts, and staff. Decisions were communicated to all applicants mid November.
  • Stage 2: Successful Stage 1 applicants are now being invited to submit a full application using the application form by 5pm EST on January 13, 2020.
  • Stage 3: Interviews with Stage 2 shortlisted projects will take place in February 2020. Final decisions will be communicated by the end of February.

Successful projects will be announced in March 2020.

Application Resources

Application Form

Projects Supporting Mid-Career Workers

Canada’s current skills development infrastructure offers few training opportunities for mid-career workers, yet this group will increasingly be impacted by labour market disruptions that will displace existing jobs, create new jobs that demand different skills, and change the trajectory of many Canadians’ working lives. In many sectors and regions, labour market disruption is already occurring, leaving many Canadians in precarious economic positions without the support they need to build new skills, increase their capacity, and navigate an increasingly complex world of work.

On April 2, 2019, the Future Skills Centre launched this open call for proposals for innovative projects that help fill gaps in training opportunities for mid-career workers.

The call closed on May 2, 2019 and we received over 100 submissions from across the country. Ten projects were selected following an adjudication process by the Centre’s interim project sub-committee. The adjudication was based on an established set of evaluation criteria, including:

  • Relevance and need – Projects must be designed to address a clearly defined and well specified need related to skills development challenges faced by mid-career workers as outlined in this call.
  • Equity, diversity and inclusion – Projects should align with the Centre’s goals to create opportunities for under-represented, marginalized and vulnerable groups and incorporate diverse knowledge, worldviews, and experiences.
  • Innovation – Projects will use new approaches and ideas to answer questions that have not been previously answered. This could include:
    • testing promising approaches from outside of Canada;
    • using new tools or approaches that have not been widely applied in skills training;
    • using new platforms or approaches for consulting with target populations;
    • piloting an established approach with a new target population; and,
    • scaling a small-scale approach to rigorously assess its impact.
  • Impact and evidence – Projects must be positioned to add to the knowledge base and generate actionable evidence that contributes to a better understanding of how to strengthen Canada’s skills development ecosystem.
  • Capacity to deliver – Project proponents must have proven organizational capacity to implement innovative skills development approaches at the scale and scope required and to participate in research and evaluation activities.
  • Aligns scale and budget – The budget of pilot projects will reflect their scale and complexity.

For more information on the Support for Mid-Career Workers Call:

On July 9, 2019, we were delighted to announce an investment of $7.65M over two years in ten innovation projects supporting mid-career workers.

Inaugural Projects

Employment and Social Development Canada’s original call for proposals to establish the Future Skills Centre encouraged proponents to identify an initial suite of ready-to-launch projects. The consortium partners identified 12 projects through targeted stakeholder engagement. Six projects were eventually selected following an adjudication process by the Centre’s interim project sub-committee. The adjudication was based on an established set of evaluation criteria, including:

  • Addressing a clearly defined and well-specified need related to skills development;
  • Alignment with the Centre’s Goals to create opportunities for under-represented and vulnerable groups;
  • Demonstration that the projects use new and innovative approaches and ideas to answer questions that have not been previously answered about skills development challenges; and,
  • Generating useful and actionable evidence on what works in skills development.

On April 2, 2019, Future Skills Centre announced $11.58M in funding over two years for six inaugural innovation projects.