News release

Ottawa, Ontario, February 9, 2021—Canadians continue to do their part to protect the most vulnerable during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local governments and community partners across the country are adapting their spaces and services to keep residents safe and healthy, support economic recovery, create jobs and build vibrant, resilient communities.

Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister and Member of Parliament for Halifax, joined Andrea Dicks, President of Community Foundations of Canada and Mary W. Rowe, President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute, to launch the first application intake for projects under the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative.

The Government of Canada will fund eligible projects that fall under three main themes: creating safe and vibrant public spaces, improving mobility options, and digital solutions. The goal is to fund projects that can quickly help communities adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19 as they continue to navigate the pandemic.

Projects could include widening sidewalks and adding signage to support physical distancing in busy areas, expanding community gardens and farmers’ markets to increase access to healthy and affordable food, building pop-up lanes for bikes, scooters, and personal mobility devices to allow people to move around their communities safely, or developing apps or other digital tools to allow residents to safely access services remotely.

Applicants can apply for funding ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 for eligible projects, within an overall envelope of $31 million in federal government funding.  Local governments and a variety of community-led organizations are eligible to apply, including  charities, Indigenous communities, and registered non-profit organizations. Organizations interested in submitting an application are encouraged to visit healthycommunitiesinitiative.ca to learn more about the program, eligibility criteria and how to apply. Organizations can also register to attend information sessions on the program.

The application period for the first round of funding will close on March 9, 2021 at 5:00PM PST.

Quotes

“Local communities are on the front lines of the pandemic and best understand their needs. Today, we’re inviting local organizations to pitch community-led ideas to improve neighbourhood life during COVID-19 and beyond — from pop-up bike paths and pathways to community gardens, outdoor art installations and WiFi hubs. The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will help Canadians and their families enjoy safer, more vibrant and inclusive communities now and into the future.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“COVID-19 has put a serious strain on cities and towns across our country, impacting the way our neighbourhoods look, work, and feel. In response, the Government of Canada has introduced the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, designed to bring joy back to our streets in a safe and innovative way. As we launch the first intake of applications under this initiative, I’m excited to see what grassroots projects emerge from our communities.”

Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Member of Parliament for Halifax

“COVID-19 has significantly impacted how we access and use public spaces. This is especially true in communities that are already experiencing vulnerability as a result of systemic inequalities. The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will support our communities as they transform public spaces and allow people to connect safely.  Whether it’s new pedestrian zones, pop-up playgrounds or Wi-Fi hot spots in public parks, these small projects will have a big impact and build safer, more inclusive communities. ” 

Andrea Dicks, President of Community Foundations of Canada

“Communities have moved quickly over the past year to find new ways for people to connect and support one another while responding to changing public health requirements. The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will support that kind of innovation and help communities, and community-based organizations, create more equitable, resilient and livable cities while continuing to respond to the realities of COVID-19.”

Mary W. Rowe, President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute 

Quick facts

  • The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative was created to help communities adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and create safe ways for residents to access services and enjoy the outdoors.
  • Community Foundations of Canada was selected through an open call for applications to implement a national project over a two year period. Together with its partners, including the Canadian Urban Institute, it will work with pan-Canadian networks to manage the funding process and serve the distinct needs of communities across Canada, including equity-seeking groups interested in applying.

Associated links

Contacts

Chantalle Aubertin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
613-941-0660
Chantalle.Aubertin@canada.ca

Ryan Kennery
Senior Strategist
On behalf of Andrea Dicks, President of the Community Foundations of Canada
613-296-8388
media@mediastyle.ca

Jill Fairbrother
On behalf of Mary W. Rowe, President and CEO Canadian Urban Institute
416-788-0539
jfairbrother@canurb.org

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
613-960-9251
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154
Email: infc.media.infc@canada.ca
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