Funding: New Horizons for Seniors Program – Community-based projects

Community-based projects under the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) that enable seniors to share their knowledge, skills and experiences with others, and help communities increase their capacity to address local issues, are eligible to receive up to $25,000 per year, per organization.

Projects must address one or more of the program's five objectives:

  1. promoting volunteerism among seniors and other generations;
  2. engaging seniors in the community through the mentoring of others;
  3. expanding awareness of elder abuse, including financial abuse;
  4. supporting the social participation and inclusion of seniors; and
  5. providing capital assistance for new and existing community projects and/or programs for seniors.

The application period for Community-based projects under the New Horizons for Seniors Program 2016-2017 is now closed.

Information on future calls for proposals will be posted as it becomes available.


The New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) helps to ensure that seniors can benefit from, and contribute to, the quality of life in their communities through active living and participation in social activities.

NHSP's community-based projects support local initiatives across Canada. They are inspired or led by seniors, volunteer-based and supported by their communities. NHSP reinforces that seniors are valuable assets to communities. By empowering seniors and encouraging them to share their knowledge, skills and experience with others, NHSP enhances seniors' social well-being and community vitality.

The Program provides funding for projects that encourage seniors to play an important role in their communities by volunteering, participating in and leading community activities. The program also provides funds to help organizations make necessary modifications or repairs to their existing facilities, or to purchase/replace equipment and furnishings to enable programs and activities for seniors.

The age of a "senior" has been defined for various purposes from age 50 (e.g. Canadian Association of Retired Persons) to age 60 (the United Nations definition of older persons) to age 65 (Eligibility for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement). The understanding of the term "senior" is therefore contextual.

Notice to organizations in Quebec: The contractual clauses set out in the Articles of Agreement, with respect to grant agreements to be signed in 2016-2017 for projects that will be approved, remain subject to discussions to be completed with the government of Quebec in order to ensure the validity of those agreements under Quebec law. Should adjustments be required, they will be communicated in due time to applicants whose projects will have been approved.

Eligible applicants

  • not-for-profit organizations;
    • Examples of not-for-profit organizations can be: charities, activity clubs, volunteer organizations, professional associations, museums, churches or church associations or in some cases sports associations.
  • coalitions, networks and ad hoc committees;
  • municipal governments;
  • research organizations and institutes;
  • educational institutions (e.g. universities, colleges, CEGEPs, school boards/school districts);
    • Provincially/territorially funded institutions are eligible with the agreement of the provincial/territorial government. This approval will be sought as part of the assessment of your application.
  • public health and social service institutions;
    • Provincially/territorially funded institutions are eligible with the agreement of the provincial/territorial government. This approval will be sought as part of the assessment of your application.
  • Aboriginal organizations (including band councils, tribal councils and self-government entities);
  • for-profit enterprises.
    • For-profit enterprises may be eligible for funding provided that the nature and intent of the proposed activity is non-commercial, not intended to generate profit, and supports program objectives.

Organizations of the same name are eligible to submit applications in different communities, provinces and territories provided they have a separate board of directors and operate independently of one another. These organizations are considered separate organizations under the funding.

Organizations are allowed to submit multiple applications; however, the total of all applications combined must not exceed $25,000, including applicable taxes per year, per organization. Otherwise, the organization will have to withdraw an application to respect the funding limit.

Notice to organizations in Quebec: This Call for Proposals was discussed with Quebec's Secrétariat aux aînés, consistent with the Protocol of Agreement which establishes the terms and conditions of cooperation between the government of Canada and the government of Quebec for implementation of the NHSP.

Ineligible applicants

  • individuals;
  • provincial/territorial departments and agencies;
    • post-secondary institutions, as well as social service and public health institutions, are ineligible without the agreement of the provincial or territorial government.

Eligible projects and activities

General project eligibility

Applicants are encouraged to work with other partners in their community to identify local needs and to design projects that respond to these needs. The NHSP seeks to fund programs or projects that:

  • are seniors' led or inspired;
  • benefit a broad clientele;
  • present an innovative and creative approach to address a community concern;
  • strive to have a lasting impact on communities;
  • involve collaboration and partnerships; and
  • use resources efficiently and effectively.

Funding is available for a project only once and cannot be renewed. Each year, communities must propose project activities different from those previously funded. If your project will be ongoing, you should consider what resources you will need in order to continue after NHSP funding ends.

Projects must:

  • be led or inspired by seniors. If inspired by seniors, they must be involved in the project’s development and/or implementation in a meaningful way.
  • occur within a 12-month (52-week) period. NHSP only funds projects that will be completed within this time frame.

The role of seniors is a key element when NHSP projects are being considered for funding:

  • It is not enough that an organization proposes to carry out an activity and then recruits seniors to take part in it.
  • Consulting with seniors to develop a project of benefit to them is also not sufficient.
  • Projects must be led or inspired by seniors.

For those projects that primarily meet one of the first four program objectives, projects must:

  • involve programs or activities not already carried out by your organizationFootnote 1.

For those projects that primarily meet the fifth objective, projects must:

  • involve programs or activities not already carried out by your organizationFootnote 1. These new programs or activities must also meet one of the first four program objectives; and/or
  • involve current programs or activities that are at risk of not continuing should the renovation and/or equipment purchase not be funded. These current programs or activities must also meet one of the first four program objectives.

Eligible projects

In order to be eligible, project activities must be led by seniors, or seniors must play a meaningful role in the project (planning and/or delivery). Activities eligible for funding can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • seniors developing approaches to encourage new and emerging cohorts of seniors to be more actively involved in community activities;
  • adopting approaches (policies and tools) to more effectively attract, recruit and retain diverse cohorts of volunteers, including other generations;
  • expanding and/or adapting successful approaches (programs and activities) to reach new group of seniors (e.g. a specific population of seniors such as Aboriginal seniors or seniors from a different geographical location that do not currently have access to the approach). A project could include identifying target group(s); adapting programs and activities to meet needs, and/or overcoming barriers to participation and undertaking outreach to these seniors
  • seniors sharing their knowledge, skills and experience with others;
  • involving programs or activities not already carried out by your organization;
  • promoting awareness of elder abuse, including financial abuse;
  • seniors reaching out to vulnerable seniors such as those who are socially or geographically isolated;
  • volunteering, mentoring, leadership training and skill matching for seniors;
  • seniors’ intergenerational and intercultural learning and relationship building programs and activities;
  • seniors involved in developing / sharing tools and resource materials;
  • seniors sharing best practices;
  • equipment purchase or replacement for programs and activities for seniors, and
  • renovations and repairs to facilities for programs and activities for seniors.

Remember: When planning your project activities, your organization should look into whether or not they will need any special permits, insurance, waivers, or support from governing bodies, such as a Band Council Resolution or any other permissions required.

Ineligible projects and activities

The following activities are not eligible for community-based funding:

  • core or ongoing activities (activities regularly/normally carried out by the organization);
    • This includes the expansion of existing activities being offered by an organization to the same population of seniors currently participating in these activities. The exception, which would be eligible, is the expansion of successful existing activities to reach an identified, new population of seniors (e.g. a specific population of seniors, such as socially isolated seniors, or seniors from a different geographical location that have not participated in these activities);
  • activities where the role of seniors is minimal or not clearly described;
  • projects to develop or deliver accredited primary, secondary, or post-secondary curricula;
  • fundraising activities, door prizes or gifts;
  • projects seeking recurring funding for ongoing activities;
  • projects which provide a core health or social service to individuals (e.g. one-on-one service or training, projects that deal primarily with health interventions, the creation or continuance of a meal delivery service to individuals); and
    • NHSP is not intended to fund projects which provide a core health or social service to individuals. Providing a service means offering activities which are designed to meet basic needs in areas such as health care, food or nutrition (including meal delivery types of services, and soup kitchen, etc.), shelter, personal transportation or income support which are generally the responsibility of other levels of government. Meal delivery programs are considered under social services as it is about delivering nutritious meals to individuals, helping them maintain their health and independence at home. However, these organizations could be eligiblefor a special project such as the development of a program to raise awareness for elder abuse or to develop a new way to recruit volunteers.
  • programs or services that fall within the responsibility of other levels of government.

Projects are funded on a one-time basis. Each year, communities must propose project activities different from those previously funded. If you wish to continue the same activities beyond the year of funding that is available through this program, the resources must be sought from other sources.

Eligible project costs

Project costs must relate to the project and could include:

  • salaries, wages and mandatory employment-related costs (MERCs) for project staff (including administrative costs);
    • Salaries, wages and mandatory employment-related costs for project staff must account 25 percent or less of the total amount requested from the NHSP. This reflects the Program’s focus on volunteerism;
  • professional services (e.g. presenters, trainers, facilitators, researchers, etc.);
  • trades/construction contractors, installers, technicians, etc.;
  • evaluation costs (e.g. surveys to be distributed to seniors at events);
  • honoraria and hospitality costs;
  • security checks for volunteers;
  • travel expenses within Canada (rates prescribed in the Travel Directive), including transportation costs to assist seniors in participating in project activities;
    • Day trips could be eligible. Use general estimates; however, if providing a detailed account by mileage please use the Treasury Board rates prescribed in the Travel Directive. These costs are reviewed on a case by case basis depending on the leadership of seniors, the purpose of the “visit” and its impact on the community. The trip needs to clearly respond to one of the first four program objectives such as:
      1. Volunteerism
      2. Mentoring
      3. Elder abuse awareness
      4. Social participation and inclusion
    • Here are examples of projects that could be acceptable:
      • Visit a Heritage Village where seniors mentor a youth group.
      • Seniors travel to another community to present a theater performance on elder abuse.
  • purchase of materials and supplies;
  • printing and distributing project materials;
  • rental and maintenance of equipment;
  • rental of space or other facilities;
  • utilities;
  • delivery/shipping costs for material and equipment;
  • dumping and disposal fees;
  • renovations or repairs;
  • capital costs required to undertake the project (e.g. equipment for seniors, furnishings and fixtures); and
    • Capital assets are non-consumable single items or (a) grouping(s) of similar items that cost $1,000 (before applicable taxes) or more. For example, a group of similar items could be a public address system for seniors events, comprised of an amplifier ($600), two speakers ($150 a piece), a microphone ($150), stand and cables ($100), which equal $1,150 since they are a collection of items that are designed to function together. Non-consumable items are those that will continue to exist after the funding period ends, such as equipment, electronics, furniture and fixtures.
  • any applicable taxes.

Project costs will be assessed and certain items may not be accepted in funding applications.

Costs Limit:

  • A computer (including monitor), or a laptop, will be considered up to a maximum value of $750 (before applicable taxes). If your funding request exceeds this value, it will be reduced accordingly. For example, a laptop, and a computer with a monitor (i.e. two new computers) will be considered up to a maximum of $1,500 (before taxes). This does not include peripheral equipment such as scanners, printers, or computer software.

The current HST, GST and PST table rates for 2016.

Ineligible costs

The following costs are not eligible for funding:

  • general operating costs of your organization that are not related to this project (i.e. regular telephone and heating costs, rent, utilities, property taxes, insurance, equipment for staff, audit costs, etc.);
    • Equipment for staff is not eligible under for-profit organizations. However, these costs could be considered eligible under not-for-profit organizations depending on the rationale provided for this need in the Standard Grant Application for Funding (i.e. demonstrates a benefit to the organization and the community with a direct link to project activities).
  • costs incurred to prepare the Standard Grant Application for Funding;
  • items of a personal/medical nature such as wheelchairs/scooters, CPR/First Aid equipment, automated blood pressure monitor, defibrilator, Snoezelen room, hearing aids;
  • feasibility studies needed for physical work, including environmental assessments;
  • transportation to provide a personal service to seniors (e.g. that is not directly related to increasing the social inclusion of seniors, training senior drivers and implementing a senior's transportation program, projects that focus on transporting seniors to personal appointments);
  • project costs incurred before the agreement signed by the Department;
  • purchase of land or buildings, including new construction;
  • repairs or renovations to a building that your organization does not yet occupy;
  • decorating/beautification costs (i.e. painting or landscaping for esthetics);
  • cost over-runs (project costs that are higher in implementation than anticipated. The value of an NHSP community-based grant cannot be increased once it has been approved and signed by the Department. If costs are higher in implementation of the project than budgeted, it is the responsibility of the applicant organization to procure the missing funding to complete the project); and
    • The value of an NHSP community-based grant cannot be increased once it has been approved and signed by the Department. If costs are higher in implementation of the project than budgeted, it is the responsibility of the applicant organization to procure the missing funding to complete the project.
  • unexpected costs or contingency costs which are costs added to a project over and above the actual estimated project value to cover unexpected costs.

Note: The maximum funding available is $25,000 including applicable taxes per year, per organization. Projects cannot exceed one year, and funding cannot be renewed. Funding requests that exceed $25,000 will be screened-out.

After you apply

Note: Let us know immediately by communicating with the NHSP representative identified in the acknowledgement letter of any changes that occur in your organization or your application, after you apply, (e.g. mailing or email address, phone number, name of contact person, or sources of funding). However, no changes can be made to the project activities in the application itself once the Call is closed.

There are three phases in the application review process:


Applications postmarked by the application deadline are reviewed for eligibility by the Department to ensure they meet the Program’s eligibility criteria. Applications will be rejected at the screening phase for any of the following reasons:

  • The Application for funding is late (i.e. postmarked after the deadline);
  • The application is incomplete and/or not signed by the authorized representatives of the organization;
  • The required attachments are missing – for instance, you are missing:
    • at least one original letter or other original document demonstrating community support for your project; or
    • documents that confirm your organization’s legitimacy and governance; e.g. a tax related document that includes your organization’s business or registration number with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA);
  • The project does not meet any of the program objectives;
  • Proposed activities are your organization’s core, existing or on-going activities;
  • Proposed activities do not include a strong role for seniors in their planning and/or delivery; or
  • Budget costs exceed funding limits (i.e. single funding applications that exceed the $25,000 limit).


After the screening process is complete, eligible applications are reviewed and assessed in collaboration with the Regional Committee in your province or territory. Committee members include people active in seniors’ and community issues. The committees also normally include representation from federal and provincial or territorial governments. In Quebec, a Joint Management Committee, made up of representatives from the Quebec government and Employment and Social Development Canada, review and assess applications in accordance with the Canada-Quebec Protocol of Agreement concerning delivery of the New Horizons for Seniors Program.

If irregularities have been found in relation to projects previously funded by the department, ESDC reserves the right to reject your Standard Grant Application for Funding without assessing it until the irregularities have been remedied.

Applications are assessed on a number of criteria, including:

  • the importance of the seniors role in the implementation or development of the project (projects are led or inspired by seniors; active volunteerism)
  • the project's cost-effectiveness - includes in-kind and/or cash contributions with community partners;
  • the anticipated positive impact on seniors and/or their communities (such as the increase of seniors volunteers involved in strong leadership roles within their communities; communities impacted by a state of emergency such as wildfires in Fort McMurray);
  • the strength of the community support for the project and partnerships;
  • the potential for the activities to continue after the funding ends, if applicable;
  • the results of any of your organization's projects that were previously funded by ESDC; and
  • other New Horizons for Seniors funded projects in the same community.

There is a considerable demand for funding for capital assistance, and as a result more applications are received than can be funded. Therefore, funding is more likely to be awarded to organizations that clearly demonstrate a strong link between the proposed renovations or equipment replacement and activities that clearly meet at least one of the Program's other four objectives. Additional criteria may be considered during the assessment of proposals, such as the security or overall safety of the facilities, or equipment that could compromise the welfare of seniors.

In order to achieve the maximum possible impact for seniors and their communities, Regional Committees will consider the following types of elements when reviewing applications:

  • the degree to which projects engage seniors, including Aboriginal seniors, in project design and delivery; Consulting with seniors to develop a project that will benefit them is not sufficient;
  • the degree to which projects capitalize on seniors' leadership and abilities, and facilitate seniors' contributions to their communities;
  • the location of proposed activities and in particular those that target seniors living in rural and remote areas;
  • the number of seniors to be impacted as well as their diversity. For example, projects that include seniors of all ages, and sexual orientations, as well as seniors who are:
    • Newcomers or from ethno-cultural communities;
    • Aboriginal;
    • Living with a physical or mental disability;
    • Providing caregiving;
    • Living with a low-income;
    • Homeless or near homeless;
    • Living in an official language minority community; or
    • Living in rural and remote areas, including Northern regions;
  • the degree to which the projects reflect the cultural and linguistic sensitivities of the province or territory;
  • the degree to which the projects reflect community needs and use an evidence based approach to address these needs;
  • community groups that previously have not previously received grant funding from the New Horizons for Seniors Program. Communities could be geographic, cultural, linguistic, religious or could focus on new immigrants;
  • the degree to which community partnerships are fostered and used to meet project objectives; and
  • a project's lasting impact on, or enduring contribution to, a community.

Final decision

The regional committees make recommendations to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC); the Department makes the final decision.

You will be advised of the final decision by letter. You will receive a written decision from the Department in early 2017 (normally before the end of March).

If your Standard Grant Application for Funding is approved, Section C - Schedule A signed by the Department will be sent to you for your consent and signature. Once it has been signed by both parties (ESDC and authorized signatories for the organization), it becomes the Grant Agreement. You are expected to use the grant funds expressly for the project as described in Section C - Schedule A, and to abide by the Articles of Agreement.

Please note that funding decisions are final and that there is no appeal process.

Direct deposit is the preferred payment method by the Department and will become the only payment option in the future. If your Standard Grant Application for Funding is approved, the Department will provide you with the necessary information to proceed with the direct deposit.


Acknowledgment letter

You will be notified by email or by mail (only if you do not have an email address) that we have received your Standard Grant Application for Funding.

At the top of the acknowledgment letter, you will be provided with a project number which you need to use as reference in any future communication with the Department regarding this application.

Acknowledgment letters will be sent within 21 calendar days of the closing date of the Call. If you have not received an acknowledgement letter 5 weeks after the closing date of the Call, please contact us. We will put you in touch with the appropriate NHSP representative who can discuss your application.

The submission of an application does not in itself constitute any commitment on the part of ESDC. The Department will notify you in writing of the outcome of the review of your Standard Grant Application for Funding.

Progress Calls

For any changes that occur in your organization or your project after its approval, contact the NHSP representative indicated in your acknowledgement letter immediately (e.g. mailing or email address, phone number, name of contact person, activities or delays).

How do recipients acknowledge Government funding?

Recipients must contact their NHSP representative before the recipient goes ahead with public announcements, press releases, ads or bulletins in order to respect the articles to announce and acknowledgement of funding under the Articles of Agreement (Clause 19.0).

It is important to advise the department should you face delays in the implementation of your project. In such cases, you must advise your representative at least two months before the end of your project.

Final Report

Funded organizations must submit a final report within 30 days of the project completion date, as specified in the Schedule A (Grant Agreement) in their agreement and send it to the New Horizons for Seniors Program office in their province or territory. The final report template will be provided in the approval package notifying funded organizations of the Department’s decision.

Reporting on time shows good project management. Should your organization fail to submit a final report on time it may impact your organization’s ability to obtain funding from the Department in the future.

Disposal of Capital Assets

When the project ends, organizations may either keep the capital items that were bought with NHSP’s funding and use them for other community-related activities or donate them to other not-for-profit organizations in the community, provided that the Department agrees. Organizations may not keep these items for personal use. Should your project be approved, organizations will be asked to inform the Department of their plan for the disposal of capital assets.

In cases where the purchase of capital assets is only partially funded by NHSP, the various funders will need to agree on the method of disposal.

Financial Records and Audit Requirements

During the course of the agreement and for a period of three (3) years thereafter, the Recipient shall make available the books of accounts and records at all times, for inspection and audit by representatives of Canada, in order to ensure compliance with the Articles of Agreement and verify eligible expenditures. The Recipient shall permit representatives of Canada to take copies and extracts from said books and records, and shall provide them with any additional information as representatives may require.

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