Open call for applications for the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative

Press Release

From: Infrastructure Canada

Ottawa, Ontario, September 11, 2020—As Canadians continue to adapt to the realities of COVID-19, local governments and community partners across the country are discovering new ways to keep residents safe and healthy, support economic recovery and build pandemic-resilient communities.Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, launched an open call to non-governmental not-for-profit organizations who will work directly with municipalities, local governments, Indigenous communities and not-for-profit community partners to identify and fund local projects through the Canada Healthy

Communities Initiative.

The Initiative, announced by Minister McKenna on August 13, 2020, is providing up to $31 million over the next two years to support community-led projects that respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19.

Recognizing the strengths and capacities of non-governmental not-for-profit organizations to work directly with communities in ways that add value beyond what Infrastructure Canada can do itself, the department is engaging the expertise of organizations that are already at work helping communities adapt to this pandemic. This approach ensures the initiative can be delivered quickly and cost-effectively while responding to the distinct needs of communities across the country. The selected organization(s) will make funding available for local applicants and encourage idea sharing so that communities can quickly put into place solutions that will improve the lives of residents.

The goal of the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative is to support projects that help communities of all sizes and compositions adapt to COVID-19 under three main themes: creating safe and vibrant public spaces, improving mobility options, and digital solutions.  Potential projects could include: supporting main street business associations to adapt seating arrangements, modifying recreational facilities to accommodate for physical distancing, building pop-up passage ways for bikes, scooters, and personal mobility devices to allow citizens to move around their communities safely, or developing apps or other digital tools to allow residents to access services remotely.

Organizations are encouraged to review the open Call for Applications and consult the Applicant Guide for full details on eligibility and how to apply. Organizations will have until October 16, 2020 to submit their applications.

A call for proposals for specific projects under the Healthy Communities Initiative will come at a later date.


“We are launching a fair and open process for non-governmental not-for-profit organizations to help bring the Healthy Communities Initiative to life. You will work with communities to identify and fund projects that can be put into place quickly to improve the lives of residents as they adapt to the realities of COVID-19. This will ensure Canadians and their families can enjoy safer, more vibrant and inclusive communities now and into the future. The Healthy Communities Initiatives is just another example of how our government’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country and builds stronger communities.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Today’s launch of the application process for the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative marks an important step toward putting projects in place in communities across the country that will greatly improve the lives of Canadians as they face the unique challenges of COVID-19. Canada’s not-for-profits have played a key role in helping communities adapt to the reality of this pandemic, and through the Initiative they will further help communities adopt solutions that allow Canadians to safely return to daily social and economic activities.”

Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“The recession of 2008 taught us much about economic recovery in small and rural communities. We are keenly aware that COVID-19 has been felt deeply in these communities and we are inspired by the resilience and hard work of community leaders and organisations finding innovative ways to adapt to the new reality and unprecedented challenges. This open call for applications will provide the selected organization(s) an excellent opportunity to leverage such expertise and help create healthier communities and stronger economies.”

The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

Quick facts

  • The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative was first announced on August 13, 2020 by the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.
  • Organizations with existing capacity and reach can participate in this open call for applications. Eligibility requirements include having national reach, experience with the delivery of programs and/or community grants, a mandate that aligns with advancing, strengthening and supporting communities, and established networks and expertise working at the community level in Canada.
  • Intake for local projects will begin only after the organization(s) is/are selected and their Canada Healthy Communities Initiative funding program is established. Municipalities, local governments, Indigenous communities and not-for-profit community partners will be eligible to apply for funding from the selected organization(s).
  • The Initiative will complement other measures being taken by the Government of Canada and other orders of government by supporting projects that have clear benefits to local communities but limited opportunities for funding under other programs.
  • As a separate measure to support Canada’s communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new COVID-19 Resilience Stream has been added to the over $33-billion Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to help fund pandemic-resilient infrastructure. Existing program streams have also been adapted to include more eligible project categories, and some administrative requirements have been streamlined to accommodate faster approvals.

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Chantalle Aubertin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154


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