Removing barriers to equity in federally regulated workplaces

Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan Jr

Diversity is Canada’s strength. The Government of Canada celebrates all cultures and all people, and by removing barriers to employment, helps create work environments where every Canadian has a fair and equal chance to reach their full potential.

Last Tuesday, Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr., announced the launch of the 2022 Open Call for Concepts for the Workplace Opportunities: Removing Barriers to Equity (WORBE) program, which aims to break down barriers to employment in federally regulated workplaces. Through the WORBE program, the Government provides up to $3 million annually in funding to projects that support federally regulated employers in their efforts to make workplaces across the country more representative and inclusive.

Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr, in his announcement said: “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. 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.”

The WORBE program provides funding through a competitive process to eligible recipients to help them develop tailored solutions to support the four equity-seeking groups designated under the Employment Equity Act. 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, and 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.

The 2022 Open Call for Concepts requires projects to focus on one or more of the four equity-seeking groups — women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities — within federally regulated sectors with low representation.

Eligible applicants have until February 15, 2022, to submit their project concepts by visiting the application webpage. 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. Those interested are encouraged to contact Service Canada at for more information.