The Government of Canada announces over 1,000 new projects in support of seniors impacted by COVID-19

News release

September 3, 2020              Mississauga, Ontario              Employment and Social Development Canada

As seniors ensure their safety by staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to provide additional support and reduce seniors’ social isolation, which can take a toll on their mental health and well-being. Physical distancing cannot become social distancing.

Today, the Honourable Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors, and Iqra Khalid, Member of Parliament for Mississauga—Erin Mills, announced over 1,000 new projects delivered by community organizations across the country to support seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. These projects are funded through an investment of $20 million in funding through the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP).

Organizations will receive up to $25,000 in funding to offer immediate COVID-19 relief or recovery activities to seniors. The projects will include activities such as:

  • promoting computer literacy and virtual activities, such as exercise classes, among seniors;
  • supporting the delivery of food and medication or personalized monitoring of seniors by phone or by videoconference;
  • assisting seniors with essential activities, such as visits to the doctor;
  • hiring staff to replace a loss of volunteerism capacity due to the outbreak;
  • providing information to seniors regarding how to care for themselves in light of experiences relating to the pandemic; and
  • providing training on disease prevention and use of personal protective equipment.

Minister Schulte made the announcement with Shubh Helping Hands in Missisauga, Ontario, which will receive $25,000 for a project to design and facilitate physical distancing activities through virtual meetings including dance, exercise, yoga, and supportive educational trainings such as using personal protective equipment and supporting mental health in relation to COVID-19 isolation.

Projects were selected based on equitable distribution of funding across the country, after consideration of active projects taking place in communities. Projects focusing on vulnerable populations or serving rural and remote communities were prioritized.

These additional projects will help ensure as many communities as possible across Canada have projects aiming to reduce seniors’ isolation within the community, improve their quality of life and help them maintain a social support network during the pandemic.


“We cannot allow physical distancing to become social distancing. With this additional funding, we are helping ensure seniors in as many communities as possible across Canada get support and stay connected during the pandemic. We want to help seniors across the country as quickly as possible.”
– The Honourable Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors

“I’m thrilled to support Shubh Helping Hands’ work to organize virtual activities that bring seniors in our community together safely during the pandemic. This project will make a real difference for local seniors’ quality of life. Our city is resilient and won’t let the pandemic get in the way of the community spirit that defines us.”
Iqra Khalid, Member of Parliament for Mississauga—Erin Mills

"I want to thank Minister Schulte and the federal government for delivering this important funding to Mississauga. These grants will change how we support seniors during these challenging times by helping them stay healthy, engaged and plugged into their communities. Our seniors are strong, resilient and determined, and it's important that we do what we can to help reduce social isolation and improve their mental health and well-being. Together, we will overcome COVID-19."
– Bonnie Crombie, Mayor of Mississauga

Quick facts

  • Through the NHSP, the Government of Canada is funding thousands of COVID-19-related projects across Canada in communities in every province and territory.

  • The Prime Minister announced an additional investment of $20 million in the NHSP on May 12, 2020, to help seniors manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemi.

  • In addition to the projects announced today, through the NHSP, the Government also:

    • provided $9 million to the United Way Centraide Canada to distribute to community organizations across the country to help provide essential services to Canadian seniors impacted by COVID-19; and
    • gave flexibility to organizations with approved projects in 2019–20 to use their funding to provide support for seniors’ needs specific to COVID-19, regardless of the nature of the previously approved project.
  • To effectively distribute this funding, previously assessed organizations that applied to the NHSP’s 2019–20 call for proposals were approached to ensure funding was quickly distributed to the communities.

  • Project activities will take place between July 2020 and March 31, 2021.

  • The next intake for NHSP is scheduled to open in September.

  • If infected by COVID-19, Canadians aged 65 and over are at increased risk of more severe outcomes. Advice for those at high risk is available here.

  • The Prime Minister has also introduced a number of additional measures to help Canadian seniors and provide them with greater financial security in this time of crisis.

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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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