Canada Healthy Communities Initiative Applicant Guide


The organization(s) selected through this Call for Applications will receive contribution funding and will work directly with communities to identify and fund local projects under the terms and conditions of the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative.

Eligible non-governmental not-for-profit organizations are invited to apply by October 16, 2020.

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Canada Healthy Communities
Initiative Applicant Guide
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Table of contents

1. Overview

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on Canadians and their communities. In these extraordinary times, Canadians are exploring new ways to stay healthy and active in their communities. Across the country, local governments and their community-based partners are at the forefront of this effort, working with residents to adjust to a new reality by finding new, innovative ways to engage in social, economic and cultural activities.

1.1 The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative (CHCI)

The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative (the CHCI) is a Government of Canada COVID-19 response initiative aimed at local communities. Through this initiative, Infrastructure Canada (INFC) will provide up to $31 million of contribution funding over two years to one or more non-governmental not-for-profit organizations who will work directly with communities to identify and provide funding for local solutions that can be put into place quickly to improve the lives of Canadians.

The CHCI will support the following objectives:

  • Make community spaces safer so people can gather at safe distances;
  • Increase resident use and appreciation of public spaces, local businesses and community amenities;
  • Empower communities to innovate, and test new approaches;
  • Realize meaningful outcomes for residents of participating communities;
  • Help spread and replicate solutions that have been shown to work.

1.2 Call for applications for contribution funding

Please note: This Call for Applications is not for local project funding. Through this open Call for Applications, INFC is inviting non-governmental not-for-profit organizations to present their plans to undertake the eligible activities defined in this Guide and that correspond with the objectives of the CHCI. Organizations selected through this open Call for Applications will receive contribution funding to undertake these activities, which include the further distribution of funding to support the implementation by communities of local, community-led, and innovative small-scale infrastructure-related projects that make public spaces safer, improve mobility options, and/or provide virtual/digital solutions that address changing community needs brought on by the pandemic.

Successful applicants under this Call for Applications will become recipients of contribution funding under the CHCI ("contribution funding recipient(s)"). One or more contribution funding recipients will enter into contribution agreement(s) with INFC through which they will receive contribution funding. At a later date, these organizations will be able to further distribute funding to local governments and their community-based partners. Local governments and their community-based partners that apply through that subsequent process will be "community-based proponents". Community-based proponents who receive funding from the contribution funding recipient(s) will become "community project funding recipients", and their local projects will become "community projects".

Full details on the application requirements, process and timelines are found in this Applicant Guide.

2. Requirements

2.1 What organizations can apply for contribution funding?

Only federally or provincially incorporated non-governmental not-for profit organizations registered in Canada and that are in good standing for a minimum of the last five years are eligible to apply to become contribution funding recipients. For-profit entities, individuals, and federal/provincial/territorial/municipal governments or their agents are not eligible contribution funding recipients.

Applicants may submit an application as a single organization or as a lead applicant to a multi-party (consortium) application. To enable consistency of implementation across Canada, preference for selection will be given to one single organization or to a single organization that leads a multi-party (consortium) application, versus selection of multiple organizations that will undertake activities separately. Applicants that cannot alone fulfill all evaluation criteria described in Appendix A are encouraged to join together with other organizations to submit a consortium application. Consortium applications must clearly identify a lead organization that will enter into and be bound by a contribution agreement with the Government of Canada. The lead applicant will be responsible for meeting the requirements of the contribution agreement. All lead applicants must be legal entities capable of entering into legally binding agreements.

All applications will be subject to an initial eligibility assessment screening as outlined in Section 3.3. Applications that fail to demonstrate that they fully meet these criteria will not be considered further.

Organizations interested in applying to become contribution funding recipients are encouraged to contact the INFC team at with any questions about eligibility and other application requirements prior to the deadline.

2.2 What activities are eligible for contribution funding?

The contribution funding recipient activities are the following:

Community project intake and selection processes: Activities that solicit, intake and assess applications from community-based proponents, select community projects and distribute funding to community project funding recipients.

Public promotion: Activities associated with the promotion of CHCI-funded activities, including maintaining a website and using social media tools, to build awareness and generate interest and participation.

Support to community-based proponents: Activities that provide guidance to community-based proponents seeking funding for community projects to increase the number of applications that meet eligibility criteria.

Information-sharing: Activities that make information on funded community projects publicly available through the creation and active maintenance of online or digital tools.

Project monitoring: Activities that monitor the progress and implementation of community projects.

Reporting: Activities, including data collection, storage and analysis of data (including those from community projects) that support the preparation of reports and ongoing documentation of results of CHCI-funded activities.

Other activities: Other activities that may be deemed to be eligible, as approved by INFC.

Proposed activities must:

  • Have accessible, fair and transparent project proposal intake from community-based proponents and community project selection processes that use clear and reasonable eligibility criteria that are publicly communicated in advance of intake;
  • Consider the varying and diverse needs of geographically- (e.g. urban, rural, remote, Indigenous) and socio-demographically- (marginalized, vulnerable and/or disadvantaged) determined communities and populations;
  • Distribute funding only to successful eligible community project funding recipients and only for types of eligible community projects as described in Appendix B for expenditures that are deemed by the contribution funding recipient(s) to be relevant, reasonable and essential expenditures required to accomplish the community project;
  • Provide an administrative appeal process of funding decisions;
  • Be delivered in both official languages;
  • Include plans to provide to INFC quarterly interim reports, annual reports and, at the conclusion of activities, a final report. Note: contribution funding recipient(s) will be required to conduct and submit, at minimum, one audit, over the course of the contribution agreement, carried out by an independent third party.

2.3 How much funding is Infrastructure Canada contributing?

The funding envelope of $31.284 million ($19,193,000 in 2020-21 and $12,091,000 in 2021-22) will be provided to one single contribution funding recipient, or divided up between contribution funding recipients, as applicable. This amount is inclusive of all expenditures as defined in Section 2.5.

INFC will develop multi-year contribution agreements with each contribution funding recipient, as applicable.

With respect to administrative and overhead costs, applications will be assessed for efficiency and value-for-money in order to maximize the amount of funding that reaches community project funding recipients.

2.4 What are the start and end dates?

The CHCI is designed as a COVID-19 response. As such, contribution funding recipient activities are expected to be launched and implemented on an expedited basis.

The contribution agreements with the successful contribution funding recipient(s) will be put in place as a result of this call for applications and will be for an initial period of up to two years. Extensions will be at the full discretion of INFC.

2.5 What expenses are eligible?

The following expenditures are eligible for reimbursement by Canada to contribution funding recipient(s) in accordance with the terms and conditions of the contribution agreement:

  • All expenditures determined by INFC to be direct and necessary for the successful implementation of the activities as described in a budget and payment schedule approved by INFC;
  • Eligible expenditures incurred during a period defined within the contribution agreement.

Please note that the maximum level of total government funding from all sources (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) to be provided under the CHCI will not exceed 100% of eligible expenditures.

2.6 What expenses are ineligible?

Ineligible expenditures for contribution funding recipients include but are not limited to costs related to the following items: 

  • Purchasing land and/or buildings, real estate fees and related costs;
  • International travel and any hospitality and travel expenses that are not paid in accordance with the requirements identified by the National Joint Council Travel Directive;
  • Honoraria, salaries and benefits for members of a board of directors;
  • Excepting any eligible expenses listed in Section 2.5, any overhead costs, including salaries and other employment benefits of any employees of a contribution funding recipient or community project funding recipient, its direct or indirect operating, or administrative costs of a contribution funding recipient or community project funding recipient, and more specifically its costs related to planning and managing and other activities, that are normally carried out by its staff in the normal course of a contribution funding recipient or community project funding recipient's operations and unrelated to the CHCI-funded activities;
  • Taxes for which a contribution funding recipient or community project funding recipient is eligible for a tax rebate and all other costs eligible for rebates;
  • Legal fees related to legal proceedings.

3. Process

3.1 How can organizations apply for contribution funding?

Note: The deadline for receipt of applications is October 16, 2020, 23:59 PDT.

There is no formal application form. Eligible non-governmental not-for-profit organizations are invited to send an application in MS Word, PDF or another readily accessible format by email to by the deadline.

Organizations are asked to limit their applications to 5000 words.

3.2 What is required in the application?

Applications must include the following elements:

  • Demonstration using concrete examples and evidence of how the eligibility criteria set out in Section 3.3 are met;
  • Description of proposed activities and how these correspond with the objectives of the CHCI and all requirements set out in this Guide;
  • A detailed work plan outlining estimated start and end dates, key milestones and major activities, and timelines for key milestones and major activities deliverables;
  • Expected results of proposed activities that correspond with the objectives identified in Section 1.1;
  • Detailed estimates of total costs for each fiscal year for which there are revenues or expenditures, including anticipated annual cash flow requirements associated with the annual federal share of expected eligible expenditures. The proposed budget must be reasonable and balanced. Costs should be easy to relate to the activities in the work plan;
  • Each named applicant must provide the following information:
    • Full legal name of the organization;
    • Name and position of the primary contact for the organization;
    • Mailing address, telephone number, email address for all correspondence;
    • Description of the organization's mandate and background, including information about relevant achievements or recognition;
  • Consortium applications: The application must identify the lead applicant and the name and contact information of the lead contact that will be responsible for overall management and coordination of activities, and for the funding agreement with INFC. Consortium applicants must also describe the proposed roles and responsibilities of each partner organization in undertaking the proposed activities, including a description of the proposed governance structure.

To facilitate risk assessment and due diligence, applicants must also provide the following information:

  • Proof of Incorporation and registration number of not-for-profit status;
  • Proof that the organization is in good standing and has been for the past five years;
  • Organization's most recent annual report, if applicable;
  • A list of the members of the organization's Board of Directors, if applicable;
  • Financial statements from last two fiscal years; (audited, if available) prepared by an independent accountant;
    • Note: A complete set of financial statements includes a balance sheet; a statement of income/profit and loss; a statement of cash flow; and notes to the statements. If statements cannot be provided, an explanation is required;
  • Any additional information concerning the organization necessary to clearly demonstrate they meet the eligibility criteria and that could be relevant to the assessment of the application;
  • Consortium applications: Only the lead applicant is required to submit the above documentation. Each supporting partner organization must produce a letter of support that identifies the lead applicant as the designated contribution funding recipient for establishing and implementing a funding agreement with Canada.

Note: INFC may contact applicants to seek more information or clarifications on the above requirements.

3.3 How will applications for contribution funding be assessed?


Applications will be assessed to ensure that an applicant meets the minimum eligibility requirements provided below. These requirements are evaluated on a meet/does not meet basis. Applicants that fail to meet the requirements will not be given further consideration. The applicant(s) must:

  • Be a non-governmental not-for-profit organization that is registered, organized and functions solely for any purpose except profit and operates in accordance with the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act or equivalent provincial/territorial legislation;
  • Be in good standing for the past five years;
  • Have a mandate that aligns with advancing, strengthening and/or supporting communities in Canada and reasonably corresponds to the stated objectives of the CHCI;
  • Have, or demonstrate a clear and achievable plan to obtain, the capacity to implement activities in both official languages;
  • Demonstrate that proposed activities have national reach and a clear approach to target communities in a timely, efficient and cost-effective manner.

The application as a whole, as submitted, must also correspond with the objectives of the CHCI and meet the parameters set out in this Guide.

Reach, Governance, Administrative Capacity, Plans and Processes

Applications that meet the eligibility requirements described above will be evaluated for their technical and capacity-based merits using the evaluation criteria and weighting provided in Appendix A.

Budget, work plan and expected results materials will also be assessed. In the case of the budget and work plan, applications will be evaluated based on an estimate of costs that is detailed, reasonable and balanced. In addition, organizations will be subjected to a risk assessment.

All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application assessment.

4. Roles and responsibilities

INFC is responsible for the implementation of the CHCI initiative as a whole, including reimbursement of eligible claimed expenses incurred by the contribution funding recipient(s), ensuring the proper use of federal funding, and monitoring and reporting on results of the CHCI.

INFC's role in CHCI-funded activities by the contribution funding recipient(s) is limited to making a financial contribution to contribution funding recipient(s) and consequently, INFC will have no involvement in the implementation of contribution funding recipient activities, decisions or their operations. INFC is neither a decision-maker nor an administrator of CHCI-funded activities.

INFC will not be financially responsible for any ineligible expenditures or cost overruns for CHCI-funded activities.

Applicants are responsible for submitting applications containing a declaration by a duly authorized Senior Officer or by the Board of the organization that declares the application and information submitted as being true, accurate and reliable information based on professional knowledge. Inaccurate and/or false information may result in the application being disqualified from the assessment process.

The successful contribution funding recipient(s) will be responsible for delivering the required activities in accordance with a signed contribution agreement with INFC and the applicant, or in the case of a consortium, the lead applicant organization.

5. Contact information

Applicants are encouraged to contact the INFC team at with questions about eligibility and other application requirements prior to the deadline.

For more information about the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, please visit the Infrastructure Canada website.

Appendix A: Application evaluation criteria





Organizational outreach

Applicant clearly demonstrates that it has the ability to reach and serve communities and populations across Canada to implement its proposed CHCI-funded activities.


  • Applicant demonstrates a capacity to operate at a national level and demonstrates how it would leverage that capacity if selected as a contribution funding recipient;
  • Applicant demonstrates it has experience working directly with, and/or has established networks with organizations working at the local community level;
  • Applicant demonstrates ability to reach, understand and serve varying types and sizes of communities and populations, which may be geographically-determined (e.g. rural, urban, Indigenous) or socio-demographically-determined (e.g. marginalized, vulnerable and/or disadvantaged communities);
  • Applicant demonstrates ability, or commits to gain ability, to serve Canadians in both official languages.

Governance and administrative capacity

Applicant clearly demonstrates that it has the organizational systems, internal capacity and expertise required to implement its proposed CHCI-funded activities.


  • Applicant provides relevant background information about its organization, oversight structures and financial controls;
  • Applicant demonstrates a track record of success in providing funding to community projects (must include clear examples of accomplishments, letters of support, and awards or recognition as applicable);
  • Applicant demonstrates that it has experience in planning and implementing large-scale initiatives, projects and/or activities in a timely and cost-effective manner;
  • Applicant demonstrates that it has, or has clear plans to acquire, the necessary staff with required knowledge, expertise and experience to effectively deliver the proposed activities;
  • Applicant demonstrates experience designing relevant activities and communications that are accessible to and will address the needs of varying geographically- and socio-demographically-determined communities and populations.

Plans and processes

Applicant clearly demonstrates how it will effectively and efficiently implement the proposed CHCI-funded activities, strategies and plans.


  • Applicant demonstrates that its proposed activities will correspond with the objectives found in Section 1.1 and meet the parameters found in this Guide;
  • Applicant provides a plan that is detailed, complete and feasible, with supporting materials that support timely and cost-effective implementation of activities;
  • Applicant demonstrates that it has appropriate tools, systems, processes and technologies in place, or a procurement plan in place to acquire them, to support CHCI-funded activities;
  • Applicant demonstrates it has the capacity to measure results and collect, manage and analyze data collected from its CHCI-funded activities, including those obtained from community project funding recipients;
  • Applicant demonstrates that it has experience in managing required communications, promotion, and outreach activities, including knowledge sharing.

Appendix B: Parameters for community project

Figure 1: Eligible community project funding recipients

Local authorities

  • Municipalities and local or regional governments established by or under provincial or territorial statute
  • Indigenous governing bodies (including band councils)
  • Municipally-owned corporations (autonomous organizations owned by municipalities, used to produce or deliver local public services outside the local bureaucracy, e.g. water management, public transit, economic development and tourism agencies, etc.)
  • A provincial or territorial organization delivering municipal services (e.g. public utilities (electricity, water, telecoms, broadband, etc.), community health services, economic development bodies, etc.).

Community partners

  • Registered not-for-profit organizations, including:
    • Indigenous not-for-profit groups (including development corporations)
    • Local economic development groups including business improvement associations/areas
    • Relevant professional associations (e.g. urban planners, architects)
    • Registered charities/local community, charitable, voluntary organizations
    • Organizations whose central mandate is to improve Indigenous outcomes
  • Research institutes
  • Post-secondary educational institutions

Figure 2: Eligible and ineligible types of community projects

Eligible types of community projects

To be eligible, community projects must at a minimum:

  • respond to identified needs arising from impacts of COVID-19;
  • be infrastructure-related and in the public interest;
  • demonstrate consideration of community engagement;
  • be awarded no less than $5,000 and no more than $250,000 in funding per community project; and
  • fall within at least one of the three focus areas:

Safe and vibrant public spaces

  • Community projects that create and adapt vibrant and safe/accessible public places in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that improve open spaces, parks, commercial main streets, and access to other amenities;
  • Community projects that adapt public spaces to meet public health guidance (e.g., changes to spaces that permit safe physical distancing through urban planning and design, landscaping initiatives, enhancements to parks and recreational spaces, creation of pedestrian zones, and temporary expansions of commercial spaces).

Improved mobility options

  • Community projects that deliver a range of transportation and mobility options or adaptations that permit physical distancing through permanent or temporary solutions that increase safe social connectivity, walkability, bike-ability and access to public transit;
  • Community projects that improve pedestrian and cyclist safety through roadway, sidewalk or crosswalk improvements and adaptions to (e.g. sidewalk widening, social distancing markings on sidewalks and crosswalks, traffic calming pop-ups on roads and at intersections).

Digital solutions

  • Community projects that develop innovative infrastructure-related solutions to address changing community needs through the use of data and connected technologies.

Ineligible types of community projects

Community projects that benefit only private interests or are implemented only on private property are not eligible. Also ineligible are the following:

  • The acquisition of land and/or buildings;
  • Partisan, political or election related activities;
  • Studies with no follow-up action;
  • Publication of books or reports;
  • Projects that solely sponsor other organizations' events or activities;
  • Research and development for a for-profit endeavor;
  • The promotion of a for-profit entity and/or its products and services.