The Religious Freedom Fund

The Religious Freedom Fund funds projects outside Canada to help religious communities that are facing intolerance or persecution in their country.

More specifically, the Fund is aimed at projects that will accomplish the following objectives:

  • Raise awareness about issues related to freedom of religion or belief by providing financial support to organizations for their activities, including interreligious dialogue and education on freedom of religion or belief and pluralism;
  • Conduct research on freedom of religion or belief that provides governments and decision-makers around the world with sources of information and analysis related to freedom of religion or belief;
  • Support dialogue among different religious groups leading to clearly identified outcomes in countries where religious issues are principal factors of tension between communities;
  • Provide legal and legislative or related forms of support on issues of freedom of religion or belief in order to build local capacity and help protect communities that are targeted because of their faith.

Please note: The Fund only funds projects that take place abroad. Canada-based activities are not eligible. Presently, funding is available for projects with an end date no later than March 2016.

Supported activities

  • Awareness activities that provide education on freedom of religion or belief
    The Fund may support organizations that work directly or indirectly on freedom of religion or belief and/or on tolerance and dialogue among different religious groups.
  • Research on freedom of religion to support foreign governments’ engagement in the area of respect for religious diversity and pluralism
    The Fund may support academics or research groups that study freedom of religion or belief and develop tools to help foreign governments understand freedom of religion or belief and discrimination against religious communities.
  • Conferences and seminars on promoting interreligious dialogue
    The Fund may support the development of networks and the creation of meeting opportunities at conferences or seminars to bring together stakeholders directly involved in studying freedom of religion or belief.
  • Legal support or specialized services to support freedom of religion or belief and respect for pluralism on behalf of persecuted groups or individuals
    The Fund may support activities associated with providing training on freedom of religion or belief and assistance to individuals or communities through legal, legislative and regulatory frameworks.

Eligible recipients

Grants and contributions are available for projects administered by the following types of organizations:

  • Non-governmental, community, religious, academic and not-for-profit organizations based outside Canada;
  • International, intergovernmental, multilateral and regional organizations; and
  • Canadian non-governmental, community, religious, academic and not-for-profit organizations operating abroad.

How to apply for support from the Religious Freedom Fund

If you are contemplating submitting a proposal to obtain funding from the Religious Freedom Fund, you can:

  • Consult current Calls for Proposals for projects.
    • Calls for Proposals are posted on the Religious Freedom Fund webpage and always include a specific Application Form posted for submissions. Please use the appropriate Application Form when responding to a call, following the included guidelines.
  • Submit an Unsolicited Proposal. To be considered, proposals must meet eligibility and other funding criteria as defined in the Application Form.

In all circumstances, the Office of Religious Freedom (ORF) will review your application using its published Assessment Criteria. Make sure your application responds fully to all of the criteria and includes all of the elements.

Completing an application package

Ensure to complete and submit all of the following forms together for the ORF to process your application. If information requirements are missing, the ORF will not assess the proposal. Guidance on how to fill out the Application Form is included within the form. If you have any difficulty downloading the form, please consult About the Forms.

The ORF updates the Application Form periodically to reflect changes in policies and regulations governing departmental operations. Please be sure to check this website as you develop your application to ensure that you are using the most up-to-date version. The ORF could reject applications received using previous versions of the form.

The submission to the ORF of an application for funding does not mean that the ORF will undertake a full review of your application. The ORF will consider applications that are consistent with strategic programming directions, complement its existing programming portfolio, and for which specific financial resources are available. Following review of your application, the ORF will inform you of its decision in writing via e-mail.

The ORF may reject an application for funding because of:

  • ineligibility based on legal restrictions or criteria within a call for proposals;
  • an incomplete application package;
  • a lack of funding available within the specific program budget;
  • expected results, as outlined in the proposal, that are not fully aligned with Religious Freedom Fund objectives;
  • elements in the proposal that are assessed as weak or unacceptable.

Verifying whether you have included all necessary forms and information in your application

Use the following information to help ensure that your application is complete:

Submitting your application package

Applications should be submitted directly to the Office of Religious Freedom at or by mail:

Office of Religious Freedom
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0G2