Building Capacity

Breaking the cycle Memorial Bursaries | Scholarships

At CAEFS, we are working to build the capacity of the non-profit and legal sector to better serve criminalized and incarcerated women and gender-diverse people.


We work with our local member societies to coordinate the sharing of resources and knowledge, build partnerships, and bring our network together to convene on key advocacy issues. 

We also consult with organizations and stakeholders outside of local societies to help reduce barriers to accessing services for criminalized women and gender diverse people and raise awareness about the issues impacting criminalized and incarcerated people.  

Essential to our work is also building the capacity of currently and formerly incarcerated women and gender-diverse people to advocate for themselves and attain their goals. We offer regular trainings inside the federal prisons designated for women, and facilitate an annual bursary program. 

Learn more about our capacity building initiatives below.



Breaking the Cycle


Launched in late 2019, Breaking the Cycle (BTC) is a four-year project rooted in the decarceration of women in Canada.

BTC aims to both facilitate the long term reintegration of women exciting incarceration and curb the number of women being sentenced to prison time in the first place. This work centers on helping to build the capacity of our communities to offer the resources that criminalized women need, and ensure that women are aware of and can access these supports.

This project will result in two key deliverables:

  1. a National Legal Resource Network of firms, lawyers, and clinics willing to provide pro bono legal services, and;

  2. a companion handbook to our 'Human Rights in Action' guide, specifically designed for women and gender exiting situations of incarceration.


This work is supported by four regional coordinators and three expert consultants who – in addition to building CAEFS legal network and developing the handbook – work closely with local EFrys, criminalized women and gender-diverse people, and other stakeholders to strengthen our network and advocacy efforts.​

This project is funded through a capacity building grant from Women and Gender Equality Canada (formerly the Status of Women Canada).

Memorial Bursaries​

The Memorial Bursary is an annual bursary distributed by CAEFS that seeks to help criminalized women in reaching their educational and employment goals. For education the bursary can go towards: tuition / course fees, required books, and required materials. For employment to bursary can go towards: start-up costs for a small business, certification courses, required clothing, or required equipment/ materials.

Who can apply?

The bursary is open to women who are currently incarcerated (provincially or federally), or who have been incarcerated in the past.

How much is the bursary for and how many are available?

CAEFS awards up to three bursaries of $500.00 each to each of the five regions in Canada (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies, Pacific). The number of bursaries is subject to the availability of funds.

How do I apply?

Applications are closed for this year and bursaries have been granted. Check back in 2021! 

How will the bursaries by reviewed and awarded?

  1. Your local Elizabeth Fry Society will review all applications submitted to them based on financial need and the strength of the employment / education plan.

  2. Each region will review applications based on financial need and the strength of the employment/ education plan. Each region will then select up to three applicants to be nominated.

  3. A designate from a local EFry Society in that region (either a staff member or regional advocate) will write a letter to CAEFS for each of the three nominated candidates and submit along with the applications to CAEFS

  4. Successful applicants will be notified and sent a cheque for the bursary amount.



We provide a total of $10,000 in scholarships to reduce the barriers for women with lived experience of incarceration or criminalization who are interested in attending our annual conference.


Scholarships include:

  • airport transportation,

  • airfare (or appropriate alternative)

  • hotel accommodation for up to 2 nights 

  • conference registration and a small per diem 

  • financial support for childcare at home while attending the conference is available on a case by case basis.



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Phone: 1-800-637-4606

Registered Charity: 108074980RR0001

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© 2020 by Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies