Women’s Futures Program​: $6.9M to Help Women in Ontario

As outlined in the plans of Ontario’s Budget 2022, which focuses on investing in jobs, infrastructure, and healthcare, the Investing in Women’s Futures (IWF) Program is allocating additional funding via new business grants in Ontario to support women. This program provides resources to those that are struggling through issues and barriers such as immigration, domestic abuse, and isolation to assist them in developing in-demand skills and enter the labour market.

The Government of Ontario is investing $6.9 million into the Women’s Futures Program during the next three years to ensure support for women facing barriers in enhancing their emotional and physical wellbeing, including skills training. Eligible businesses can receive up to $150K per year in funding support.

This additional funding adds to the existing $18 million in government funding that Ontario has invested into women-specific opportunities available until 2025. With this added government funding support, the IWF program will be expanded to build up to 10 new support centres and part of the initiative will be to increase support towards the 23 existing centres currently offering resources and training opportunities.

About the Investing in Women’s Futures (IWF) Program

The Investing in Women’s Futures (IWF) Program is in place to provide support for women-led organizations in Ontario to deliver a range of social and economic programs and services to help women overcome challenges, foster well-being, and promote skills training to confidently enter the labour market.

In 2021 and into 2022, the IWF program helped more than 1,300 women in Ontario gain employment, start their own business, or pursue further training and/or education.

“Many women face additional challenges participating in the workforce, such as childcare and caregiving responsibilities. We are expanding the Investing in Women’s Futures program to ensure that women have the supports and in-demand skills they need to pursue good-paying jobs or pursue further education that can help lead to financial independence.”
– Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity

Funding Amount

Eligible applicants may apply to receive up to $150,000 per year in government funding.

Eligible Applicants

To be eligible for IWF program funding, businesses must:

  • Be Ontario-based entities since January 1, 2020, or before, including those that are:
  • established by or under legislation.
  • are federally or provincially incorporated.
  • are band councils as defined under the Indian Act, Canada.
  • Be a community-based, non-profit organization or Indigenous groups including band councils, tribal council, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis organizations providing services and programs to women as a main priority.
  • Currently receive or have previously received funding from the government or can demonstrate other sources of funding to support the organizations on-going operations.
  • Provide a range of accessible services in the community it serves to promote prevention of violence against women and women’s economic security (such as supportive counselling, legal rights workshops, and entrepreneurship skills development).

Eligible Projects

Eligible projects must include eligible costs directly related to the project; such costs may include, but are not limited to:

  • Overhead and project administration;
  • Staff salaries and benefits for positions necessary for the project;
  • Research, planning, and development;
  • Production costs for resources (i.e., graphic design, printing, etc.);
  • Consulting fees and expenses;
  • Marketing and outreach;
  • Legal/audit fees;
  • Costs related to accommodating women with disabilities to partake in program-based activities; and
  • Assistance to remove barriers for services for low-income women (food on-site, course materials, training costs, public transit, childminding, mental health support, etc.).

Program Timeline

The application deadline for the Investing in Women’s Futures Program is November 8, 2022, at 5pm (EST).

Other Ontario Government Funding Programs for Hiring, Training, and Skills Development

With an assortment of challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic such as a labour market shortage and ongoing sicknesses, it is vastly important now to focus on opening doors for opportunities for people across Canada to know that there are options in moving forward.

“Anytime that we invest in skills and education, we are investing in both, including people in the labour market now, but also ensuring that we have a successful future labour market.”
– Pedro Barata, Executive Director of Future Skills Centre

There are other programs currently offering government funding support to bridge the gap between employers looking for skilled staff and employees looking for skills training or applicable jobs that are available on the market. One of these is the Skills Development Fund (SDF) Programwhich prioritizes such projects and has no minimum or maximum funding amount per eligible applicant.

Learn more about how to effectively plan your business funding strategy with help from the Mentor Works team. Get in touch today.

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