Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)

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Formerly Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
Website: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development.html

223 Churchill Avenue
St. John’s, NL
A1A 1N3

General Inquiries: 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232)


To improve the standard of living and quality of life for all Canadians. This is accomplished through promoting a labour force that is highly skilled, and an efficient and inclusive labour market.

Target Population:


Highlight of Programs / Services Offered:

ESDC is split into four main branches:

  • Income Security and Social Development Branch is the focal point for social policy and programs designed to ensure that children, families, seniors, people with disabilities, the homeless and those at risk of homelessness, communities and others who are facing social challenges have the support, knowledge, and information they need to maintain their well-being and facilitate their participation in society.
    • The Office of Disability Issues (ODI) is a focal point within the Government of Canada for key partners working to promote the full inclusion and participation of Canadians with disabilities in all aspects of society and community life. ODI strives to provide leadership and foster excellence within the Government of Canada in this area of shared responsibilities.
  • The Learning Branch helps Canadians attend college, university and trade schools by providing advice, loans, assistance, grants to students, by encouraging individuals and organizations to save for a child’s post-secondary education, and by assisting children from low-income families through grants. It is responsible for programs and services related to learning, including student financial assistance, savings incentives for post-secondary education, and literacy.
  • Program Operations Branch handles the operation and coordination of the Grant and Contributions programs across the Department.
  • Skills and Employment Branch provides programs and initiatives that promote skills development, labour market participation and inclusiveness, as well as ensuring labour market efficiency. These programs seek to address the employment and skills needs of those facing employment barriers, and contribute to life long learning and building a skilled inclusive labour force. Other programs that support an efficient labour market include the labour market integration of recent immigrants, the entry of temporary foreign workers, the mobility of workers across Canada and the dissemination of labour market information. This branch is also responsible for programs that provide temporary income support to eligible unemployed workers.
    • The Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) is focused on improving the literacy and essential skills of adult Canadians. OLES provides expertise, project funding, and a wide range of learning tools and other resources. Through its activities, OLES aims to help Canadians get the skills they need to get a job, stay in the job market, and contribute to their communities and families.