New Horizons for Seniors Program projects can now be used for COVID-19 support

News release

April 6, 2020            Gatineau, Quebec            Employment and Social Development Canada

During the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors may feel lonely, scared and disconnected from their loved ones and their communities. They need new kinds of support in these difficult times.  

Today, the Honourable Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors, announced flexibility for organizations under the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) to use funding previously received through the community-based stream to provide immediate and essential services to seniors impacted by COVID-19. Regardless of the nature of the previously approved project, organizations with approved projects in 2019-2020 can now use their funding to provide support for seniors’ needs due to COVID-19.

Activities can start immediately and can include:

  • supporting seniors in staying connected with their community and family by providing electronic devices, virtual activities and remote tutorials;

  • supporting the delivery of food and medication to self-isolated seniors at home;

  • assisting seniors to undertake essential activities, such as visits to the doctor;

  • hiring staff to replace a loss of a senior volunteer due to the outbreak;

  • providing information to seniors regarding how to care for themselves during the pandemic.

In addition, NHSP recipients who will not or cannot provide programs or services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be given more time to conclude their approved projects. Instead of the usual 12-month period, organizations will now have up to two years to finish their projects.  

The NHSP provides grants and contributions for projects that help improve the well-being of seniors and foster their social inclusion. As of March 31, 2020, 2,166 projects were funded based on a call for proposals that was launched on May 15, 2019.


“Seniors who are staying safe by isolating at home may need help to get supplies and stay connected. That’s why we’re providing new flexibility to the New Horizons for Seniors Program to allow previously approved projects to be modified to meet seniors’ needs during this unprecedented public health crisis. Canadians are coming together to protect our most vulnerable by helping their neighbours with groceries, calling their parents and grandparents and doing their part to flatten the curve by physical distancing. We can and will get through this difficult period together.

The Honourable Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors

Quick facts

  • If infected by COVID-19, Canadians aged 65 and over, and those of all ages with compromised immune systems or underlying medical conditions, are at an increased risk of more severe outcomes. Advice for those at risk is available here.

  • Canadians who experience symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and call the public health authority in their province or territory to inform them and obtain advice on what they should do.

  • Every year, organizations are invited to apply for NHSP community-based funding through a call for proposals.

  • Community-based projects are eligible to receive up to $25,000 in grant funding and, as of 2018, small grants of up to $5,000 are available to organizations that have not received funding within the last five years.

  • Since 2004, the NHSP has funded more than 26,300 projects in hundreds of communities across Canada, with a total Government of Canada investment of more than half a billion dollars.

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Daniel Pollak
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Seniors

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada

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