Social Innovation

The Social Innovation stream expands the scope of the Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) program to support innovative projects that address social challenges beyond unemployment.

Through the Social Innovation stream, funding will be provided to:

  • Assist with local projects and provide useful work experience and skill enhancement opportunities to eligible job seekers, to help them obtain sustainable employment. Projects should benefit the job seeker, community and the local economy.
  • Supply a combination of on and off the job training, in a group environment, to assist eligible individuals obtain the skills they need for employment. 
  • Provide funding for eligible projects to research and test untried and untested methods of delivering programming to help individuals find or return to work as quickly as possible. This can be done through research or the development and implementation of innovative projects (e.g. pilots), processes, practices and/or applications that strengthen the understanding of the labour market.
Socially innovative projects might also do one or more of the following:
  • Provide experience to a group of job seekers who face a specific barrier to finding employment.
  • Address social or environmental challenges, as a planned outcome.
  • Support social enterprise to provide on the job training to participants.
  • Provide training and experience to a specialized population that faces barriers to employment.
  • Develop new methods to support CEP priority groups in the labour market while enhancing social and environmental outcomes for communities.  
Examples of socially innovative projects:
  • The “Nation’s Creations” project supports a Sto:lo Nation social enterprise to provide work experience and enhance participants’ skills in manufacturing, retail, shipping and receiving, while increasing revenue that First Nations artists receive for their work through a royalty-based system. Fine copies of the artwork will be manufactured by the project participants and sold through the social enterprise, generating an innovative royalty revenue stream for the artists. It is anticipated that this innovative project will provide First Nations artists with sustainable revenues, leading to greater independence, while also increasing the employability of participants. 
  • The “Powell River Society for the Advancement of Local Sustainable Agriculture (SALSA)” project built the foundation for SALSA’s development of a community farm initiative for the Powell River Region. Its goal is to increase local agricultural production and the resilience of the regional food system.
  • The “Pages Bookstore” project helped The New Page Human Services Society implement a new e-commerce strategy for the Pages Bookstore, a social enterprise that helps the Society provide literacy programs in their community. The project provided a participant with work experience and skill enhancement in web development and marketing.
  • The “Employment Mentorship Support” project in the downtown eastside of Vancouver is researching whether or not labour market attachments can be improved for people with disabilities when they are paired with volunteer mentors. The project will develop an extensive orientation program for current and future volunteer mentors that provide them with necessary tools to aid and guide people with disabilities through various aspects of the labour market.
  • The “Innovating for Employment Success” project works with unemployed internationally-trained professionals who are newcomers and seeking work in Canada. The workshop series “Innovation Program” is orienting participants to “Design Thinking” and is applying design thinking concepts to group based work on solutions for a “real-world” business problem presented by a sponsor employer.
    Enquiries can be sent to a CEP Social Innovation Expert at:
    ****Please include Social Innovation in the Subject Line of the Email