The Catapult Access Innovation Fund is designed to support youth-serving organizations in Canada to design, build, scale up and evaluate the impact of initiatives to better support Canadian youth, especially youth underserved by the education system and disengaged from education and/or career pathways.

Young adults with lower levels of education are more likely not to be in the labour force. “The unemployment rate for men and women with lower levels of education has historically been higher than that of individuals with higher levels of education. Among men, for example, the unemployment rate of those without a high school diploma never reached single digits over the years 1990 to 2016, hovering between 12% and 22%. In comparison, the highest unemployment rate ever for those with a high school diploma was 13% (in 1993), and never went over 7% for those with a university degree (in 1992). In 2016, the unemployment rate for men with less than a high school diploma was three times higher than that of men with a university degree (15% versus 5%)”. Similar patterns are true for women.

While high school completion and PSE attainment rates in Canada are quite good compared with other countries, there are disparities across the country, across regions and across demographic characteristics. Not all youth have the same access to education and employment. Furthermore, not all youth have the same access to supports when they are struggling with engagement in their educational and career pathways.

Average on-time high school graduation rate across Canada is about 79%. High school completion across Canada is 77%, however according to a leading youth serving organization, in many low-income communities’ high school non-completion and dropout rates can be as high as 50%. Sometimes higher. Organizations across the country are working directly with youth, especially opportunity youth, to support their learner pathways, educational attachment and career goals.

To address these inequities at scale the Rideau Hall Foundation is launching the Access Innovation Fund. The purpose of the fund is to invest directly into the non-profit, community and grassroots groups that are eliminating barriers and connecting Canadian youth to learning opportunities.

The objectives of the fund are to:

The Rideau Hall Foundation’s first round of Catapult Canada Access Innovation Fund grants invites Expressions of Interest through an open call process. Expressions of Interest should clearly identify which funding stream the applicant seeks funding for. Expressions of Interest should focus on project description, including alignment with the Catapult Canada mandate; what the project will do and the impact it will have. The funding streams, EOI application and assessment questions are detailed below.

We recognize the importance of national learning and local context, as well as promoting strong coordination and partnership across government, funders, delivery organizations and educational systems.

The Access Innovation Fund will prioritize initiatives that:

The first round of funding through the Access Innovation Fund was awarded to 12 community-based organizations from across Canada. Learn more here.


All complete Expressions of Interest will be reviewed by a combination of an internal committee of RHF staff and an external committee of volunteers from RHFs networks across Canada. Shortlisted Expressions of interest will be invited to provide additional information about their project as well as a detailed budget. This full application may be completed in consultation with the Catapult Canada team as appropriate.

Catapult Canada expects to fund multiple projects in both funding streams, and organizations with funded projects will become part of a community dedicated to sharing project progress, findings and practices with a view to a wider knowledge dissemination strategy to inform the broader sector.

Successful applications will be notified directly by RHF Staff.

In keeping with our commitment to capacity building we will make best efforts to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants upon request.

Follow the View Details and Apply now links to begin your Expression of Interest.

About the Rideau Hall Foundation

The Rideau Hall Foundation is a national registered charity established in 2012 to focus on amplifying the values and initiatives which serve to further unite us as a country. We collaborate on projects that span four key areas: (1) learning initiatives that strive for excellence and equity; (2) strengthening Canada’s culture of innovation, (3) widening the circle of giving and volunteering; and (4) investing in Canadian leaders with transformative potential. You can learn more about the nation-building work of the RHF by visiting our website at

Connect with us via @RideauHallFdn on twitter or subscribe to the RHF newsletter for updates and announcements of key dates for subsequent open calls.

Joining the Catapult Community

Catapult is committed to building a sustainable and dynamic eco-system of youth-serving organizations in Canada that facilitates peer-to-peer learning and problem solving; the sharing of resources, promising practices and innovative ideas; and providing community support and partnership. To that end, all grantees will be part of a community of practice, facilitated by Catapult and co-developed by grantees to meet their evolving needs.