SpeakUp Projects is one of the student engagement programs funded by the Ministry of Education. 

SpeakUp Projects are intended to provide students with an opportunity to lead and/or participate in a project in order to: 

  • Empower students to take action and support student engagement, equity, achievement, and well-being through an experience within the school community; and,
  • Make connections/partnerships within the classroom, school and wider community. 


Use of Project Funds for travel, meal and hospitality. In the spirit of the current fiscal constraints, the Ministry strongly discourages incurring expenses for travel, meal and hospitality. Where the Project requires travel, meal and hospitality expenses, the Recipient shall: 

  • (a)  ensure that any travel, meal or hospitality expenses are incurred prudently and responsibly; 
  • (b)  ensure that the incurred expenses are necessary, practical and economical; 
  • (c)  upon the Province’s request, show that other options for meetings such as audio or video conferencing were considered; and 
  • (d)  keep receipts for all travel, meal or hospitality expenses incurred. 


The funding shall be used to enhance student experience in schools. SpeakUp Projects should achieve one or more of the following goals: 

  • Increasing academic achievement, teaching valuable skills, and fostering good citizenship through student engagement. 
  • Supporting the development of learning environments that are safe, inclusive and responsive to student learning needs. 
  • Promoting cognitive, emotional, social, and physical well-being of students through improving their sense of self and belonging and teaching them skills to make positive life choices. 
  • Establishing or improving practices or processes in school communities that increase public confidence in the education system. 

SpeakUp Projects can take many different forms (see project examples for more information). Students in grades 7-12 at publicly funded schools are supported in developing project ideas with the potential to have a significant impact on their school community. Each project should be student-led and should identify a student lead, teacher advisor, and the school’s principal. 

Past project examples include:

  • Project Example #1: Aimed to improve mental health and school engagement among students struggling with poverty and addiction through teaching skills like teamwork, cooperation, fitness, resilience, and critical-thinking at an after-school hockey program. Varsity hockey coaches led bi-weekly workshops for students at a local arena. Through providing equipment and a neutral space to learn, students of various socio-economic backgrounds were able to participate in training and hockey games. This program helped students reduce stress and develop healthy strategies to address mental health issues. After the introduction of the hockey program, several students were much more engaged at school through developing new networks and improving class attendance. 
  • Project Example #2: Aimed to inform students and staff about issues that Indigenous people have faced and are facing in Canada to promote a more understanding relationship between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people. The project team focused their project on students in grades 4-8, with specific learning topics for different grade levels. A day of cultural events was also run to include the whole school. As a result of the project, there is more sharing among students about their cultures and they are gaining a better understanding of the struggles Indigenous people have faced in the past and present. 
  • Project Example #3: Focused on showing character by making the community stronger. The project team sought students in grades 5-8 to get engaged in the community to make a difference. The project team arranged for a guest speaker to visit the school to discuss community, inclusion and making a difference. They also met with the director of the anti-poverty movement in Dufferin County and collaborated with community partners to provide experiential learning opportunities for students. After participating in the discussions and learning opportunities, students reported feeling more knowledgeable about local issues and empowered to take action on them. Notably, the team was able to get a group of 30 students out into the community to do projects, including running a food drive for one of the local food banks and painting planters to put around town with messages of inclusion and diversity. 

Ineligible project expenses include:

  • Activities that have already taken place
  • Payment to staff including teachers, coordinators, consultants, administrative staff
  • Purchase of goods and services for which the ministry currently provides funding (e.g., textbooks, library books, school furniture, computers, cameras, projectors, student transportation)
  • Purchase of student supplies for home use (e.g., markers, paper, glue, scissors, prizes, student agendas, calendars, arts and crafts supplies, scrapbooks)
  • Online subscriptions, voice messaging systems, website maintenance
  • Capital costs (e.g., equipment, signs)
  • Portable/handheld devices such as tablets or laptops
  • Refreshments exceeding 10% of the funding
  • Advertising and promotion costs exceeding 10% of the funding or Facilitator or speaker fees exceeding 40% of the funding (including speakers’ travel costs)
  • Operational costs (e.g., leasing of offices, administrative costs, financial commitments that last longer than the term of the project, utilities including internet and telephone)
  • Purchase of items that would be given to parents (e.g., books and resources) which are not directly related to the project o Prizes, incentives, or payment to parents, volunteers, or students
  • Out-of-province travel
  • Debts or financial losses that result from a project 

The Recipient will also be responsible for adhering to the following terms and conditions: 

  • If the grant does not cover the entire cost of the project, the school is responsible for raising the balance of funding from other sources. The ministry will not be responsible for any cost overruns for the project. 
  • Funding will be granted on a one-time basis only, to be used within the 2018-2019 grant cycle.  
  • The recipient must abide by the Provincial Code of Conduct and uphold respect, civility and responsible citizenship as it collaborates with all individuals involved in the publicly funded education system. 


Project teams are responsible for carrying out their SpeakUp Project as directed by each district school board and school. Full or partial approval of project costs will be dependant on how many projects submissions are approved.  Projects must be completed by April 30, 2019

Project evaluations can be done through written staff and student feedback as well as pre- and post-surveys administered to students, partners, etc.
Projects should measure the overall number of students and community partners that participated in the project. 

To apply for a Speak Up Grant please click the link below: