Addressing the Economic Security and Prosperity of Indigenous Women

Status of Women Canada (SWC) has opened a new call for proposals for projects to address the economic security and prosperity of Indigenous women in Canada.

The Indigenous population is growing at four times the rate of non-Indigenous Canadians and represents an enormous pool of talent. As part of this cohort, Indigenous women play a vital role in our economy and have outstanding potential for growth.

The 2011 National Household Survey indicated that there were 718,500 Indigenous women and girls in Canada. These women were more likely than Indigenous men to have a university degree. They were also the majority owners of more than one quarter of all Indigenous SMEs in Canada according to the 2014 Survey on Financing and Growth of Small and Medium Enterprises.

By creating the conditions for Indigenous women to succeed, we are giving them the opportunity to improve their economic well-being and strengthen Canada's economy.

Call Description

With this call for proposals, Indigenous organizations and governments will implement projects designed to advance economic security and prosperity for Indigenous women by engaging them, their communities* and the private sector to build on their strengths, identify opportunities and address issues affecting their economic security or limiting their economic success.

Proposed projects will engage women and a range of community partners in working together to create lasting change to improve economic conditions for Indigenous women. Projects will:

  • Identify issues, strengths and opportunities affecting Indigenous women's economic security and prosperity;
  • Expand community understanding of these issues, strengths and opportunities;
  • Take action, together with partners, to identify effective, community-specific mechanisms and solutions; and
  • Implement these solutions

Examples of activities could include, but are not limited to:

  • Developing and implementing an economic community plan to increase the economic security of Indigenous communities;
  • Developing and testing culturally relevant training programs to increase Indigenous women's financial preparedness;
  • Addressing workplace violence and harassment against Indigenous women;
  • Assisting in the coordination of better transportation and accessibility services; and,
  • Other activities that foster lasting change to support Indigenous women's success now and into the future.

The following activities will not be considered under this call for proposals:

  • Delivering training (occupational or otherwise) to women as the main activity of the project, unless the training is to facilitate their participation in the project (e.g. facilitation skills);
  • Recruiting and/or awareness activities about employment opportunities (e.g. job fairs or mentoring activities that provide direct informal/personal mentorship to assist women with job readiness);
  • Recruitment and/or awareness activities related to business expansion. For example:
    • Assisting women to either establish new businesses or expand existing businesses through the development of business growth plans);
    • Providing financial literacy training to women to assist them in expanding existing businesses; and
    • Mentoring women business owners to either establish new businesses or expand existing businesses).
  • Supporting existing and/or ongoing activities or programs, providing direct services or direct access to existing services/supports.

* A community can be on or off reserve and can be defined by a geographic location (local, regional, national), a treaty, a band, a tribal council, and/or a regional government.

Is Your Organization the Right Fit?

*To be eligible, organizations must have experience working on gender equality issues within the areas of focus of the Women's Program — increasing women's economic security and prosperity, encouraging women's leadership and democratic participation and ending violence against women and girls.

Proposed projects must reflect your organization's areas of expertise in gender equality issues. Applicants will be assessed on organizational capacity, experience, expertise, and ability to work in partnership.

Potential applicants should read the document Is the Women's Program the right match for me? and the Eligibility Requirements for additional criteria and information.


Indigenous organizations and governments (including band councils, tribal councils and self-government entities) and their agencies are eligible.

Individuals are not eligible for funding.

What Your Project Must Do

  • Developing and maintaining active and effective partnerships;
  • Describing the factors (social/institutional/economic barriers) that affect Indigenous women's economic security and prosperity and addressing these factors; and
  • Designing and implementing activities and/or approaches that align with existing strategies or action plans to address the economic security and prosperity of Indigenous women (e.g. a call to action identifying and/or revising a policy, for example creating a provincial policy that defines culturally specific criteria to facilitate admission for Indigenous women and girls in educational institutions to improve their skills and further their economic stability).

*Please consult with SWC Women's Program staff to determine if a proposed project corresponds with the focus of the Women's Program and the call for proposals.


Up to 36 months

Funding Available

Up to $350,000 (regional projects)

Up to $500,000 (national projects)

Planned Call Results

  • Indigenous women and communities have an increased understanding of issues and opportunities that have an impact on Indigenous women's economic security and prosperity.
  • Indigenous women and communities identify effective solutions to advance Indigenous women's economic security and prosperity.
  • Action-oriented projects are implemented in support of the economic security and prosperity of Indigenous women.


The following deliverables will be required for projects (post approval):

  • Planning tools
  • Progress reports
  • Final Reports

Performance reporting and specific timelines will be determined after the initial application has been approved. Depending on the nature of the proposed projects, additional requirements may apply.

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