Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, announced a new initiative to help local governments and community partners as they adapt to local economic, health and social challenges.
The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will provide up to $31 million in federal funding to support community-led solutions that respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19 over the next two years.
“The demands placed on families and individuals by COVID-19 have exposed a real need for low-cost, locally-driven ideas to help communities adapt and thrive. The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will help breathe life into these small projects that can have a big impact as local governments, Indigenous communities and their non-profit partners rethink public spaces and how they deliver services to people,” said Minister McKenna. “Whether it’s pop-up bike paths, community gardens, art installations or Wi-Fi hot spots, Canadians want to work, play and learn in safe, vibrant and inclusive communities. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country and builds stronger communities.”
Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities,
arrives at the press conference on bike, at the Rideau Canal Western Pathway,
beside the Canal Ritz on Queen Elizabeth Drive in Ottawa.
The initiative will fund smaller-scale local projects under three main themes:
- creating safe and vibrant public spaces,
- improving mobility options, and
- digital solutions.
The goal is to fund projects that quickly help communities, including rural and remote communities, adapt to the new reality of COVID-19. Potential projects could include: expanding outdoor seating on our main streets, remodeling a playground to allow for proper physical distancing, building multi-modal paths that would allow bikes, scooters, and personal mobility devices to share space with pedestrians and cars, or creating digital apps to allow residents to access municipal services remotely.
The funding for the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative is being repurposed from existing funding for a second Smart Cities Challenge competition to support communities in dealing with the immediate and ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19. Approximately $31 million of the remaining $170 million budget for this program has been redirected to the initiative.
The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will create opportunities for community projects through funding that will be provided to one or more non-governmental not-for-profit organizations. Organizations with existing capacity and reach can participate in an open call for applications. Intake for 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).
Additional details on the application process will be available soon.
For further information about the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, click here.