Government of Canada helps to address health and social inequities in Alberta

Press Release

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

The Intersectoral Action Fund addresses complex public health challenges

May 12, 2022   |  Calgary, Alberta   |  Public Health Agency of Canada

Canada is one of the healthiest countries in the world, and everyone in Canada deserves opportunities to thrive and lead a healthy life. The Government of Canada recognizes that every individual should have the resources and opportunities for health and wellbeing and is taking action to address systemic health challenges and barriers.

Health inequities are the systematic, unfair and avoidable differences in health outcomes. Health inequities have long existed in Canada, but have been even more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic disproportionately affected the mental and physical wellbeing of many groups in society, including Indigenous peoples, Black and racialized communities, as well as people from lower income households, children, youth, and seniors.

Today, Adam van Koeverden, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, on behalf of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced an investment of more than $635,000 through the new Intersectoral Action Fund (ISAF) for three Alberta-based organizations to address the complex public health challenges that affect people’s health and wellbeing and how health is experienced by certain groups of people.

Children First Canada (CFC), based in Calgary, will receive $250,000 in funding towards a project that targets the wellbeing of children and youth across the country. This new funding will help CFC develop a national strategy to better understand the issues facing kids and how to tackle the top 10 threats to children’s health.

The Red Deer Urban Aboriginal Voices Society will receive $141,300 in funding to develop a community health impact assessment tool based on Indigenous social determinants of health. The tool will inform future community development projects led by the Urban Aboriginal Voices Society and partner agencies seeking to develop more effective programs and services for Indigenous peoples.

The Ribbon Rouge Foundation, based in Edmonton, will receive $243,940 in funding to help address health inequities within the African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) communities in Alberta. By establishing a coalition of partners from diverse sectors and increasing data capacity, this project will help improve health equity for ACB communities.

The Public Health Agency of Canada, through the ISAF, is funding projects across the country to improve the conditions for health and the systems and structures that shape them, and to help everyone in Canada reach their full health potential.


“Our government is committed to addressing health inequities and ensure access to health services free of racism or discrimination. To do so, we must take action that is informed by lived experiences. Together, with the support of community organizations across the country, we can work towards ensuring that our health care system works for everyone.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“All three organizations play an important role in helping the Government of Canada strengthen its efforts to address our country’s complex public health challenges. These projects will help build a healthier future for communities in Alberta.”

Adam van Koeverden
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

“We are incredibly grateful for the Government of Canada’s support to better track and analyze the challenges that are facing children and youth across the country and reveal the inequities that many face. The Measuring What Matters program will enable us to develop a strategy that prioritizes the survival and development of 8 million children and youth, and ensure that Canada becomes the best place in the world for kids to grow up.”

Sara Austin
Founder and CEO, Children First Canada

“Urban Aboriginal Voices Society is grateful to the Public Health Agency of Canada for its support in the Indigenous led creation of an Indigenous assessment toolkit. It will become a guide for future community development projects led by UAVS and partner agencies seeking to develop more effective programs and services for Indigenous peoples. Training will be provided to intersectoral partners to facilitate assessment of projects, programs, and policies using Indigenous social determinants of health and increase inter-agency collaboration.”

Tanya Ward-Schur
Community Facilitator, Urban Aboriginal Voices Society

“This grant supports Ribbon Rouge Foundation’s journey towards achieving health equity between African, Caribbean, Black communities, and others by supporting the creation of a multidisciplinary and multifaceted ecosystem of key stakeholders vested in promoting this cause across Alberta”

Funke Olokude
Executive Director, Ribbon Rouge Foundation

Quick facts

  • The ISAF launched in May 2021 to support action on social determinants of health. The Fund helps build capacity in communities to advance intersectoral action on social determinants of health, particularly as they move towards the difficult work of recovering from the pandemic.
  • Social determinants of health refer to the broad range of social, economic and environmental factors that relate to an individual’s place in society (such as gender, race, income, education, or employment) and that determine individual and population health. These determinants are shaped by the distribution of wealth, power, and opportunities within and between populations.
  • Intersectoral action refers to the ways that different groups and sectors of society work together to enhance the health of our communities. The ISAF supports communities to build capacity for such action, and helps ensure that the social determinants of health and health inequities are understood and addressed.
  • A health impact assessment tool is a practical approach used to judge the potential health effects of a policy, program or project on a population, particularly for vulnerable or disadvantaged groups. Recommendations are then produced for decision-makers and stakeholders, with the aim of maximizing the proposal’s positive health effects and minimizing its negative health effects.
  • Fourteen projects were selected for funding through the ISAF. These projects will address the root causes of long-standing community health challenges or those heightened by COVID-19, or proposed activities that build on or advance intersectoral initiatives to expand their reach or impact.

Associated links


Marie-France Proulx
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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