Funding: Pan-Canadian projects under the New Horizons for Seniors Program - Overview

Grants and Contributions projects affected by COVID-19

Please contact your funding representative if your project is affected by COVID-19.

Current status: Closed

The application period for this call closed January 21, 2019.

This is the first step of a two-step application process. As this first step is a competitive process, please note that not all concepts submitted under this application process will be approved. Funding is limited and subject to budget considerations of the program, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and allocation of funds by Parliament. Applicants must not start their proposed projects until notified by ESDC of approval and an agreement has been signed between the organization and a representative of ESDC.

Decisions are final and there is no appeal process.

Learn more about other funding opportunities

1. Overview

The Government of Canada is accepting applications from organizations interested in receiving contribution funding from the pan-Canadian stream of the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP). Eligible organizations can apply for $500,000 to $5 million for a project consisting of a 3 to 5 year collective impact initiative.

The pan-Canadian stream of the NHSP has approximatively $8 million available per year for five years to distribute to eligible organizations. It is anticipated that up to ten organizations submitting collective impact initiatives will receive funding through this process.

Through this call for concepts process (CFC), we will fund initiatives that will support the development and implementation of collaborative approaches to increase the social inclusion of seniors. Social inclusion is the ability to fully participate in, contribute to and benefit from all aspects of society.

Application process

The instructions for this application process are outlined in the sections presented above. It is recommended that you read through all of the sections before you start completing your application. Not doing so could result in an incomplete application and its rejection from this process. This application process includes the following information:

  • important information about this application process, eligibility and assessment process;
  • instructions on how to best provide the required information in the application; and
  • a checklist of the documents that you are required to submit with your application in the How to complete your application section. An early review of the checklist is suggested to ensure completeness of your application within the required timelines.

Please note that this content will remain online after the call is closed.


This process seeks to ensure that seniors can benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in their communities. More specifically, this process seeks to:

  • build the collective capacity of organizations to recognize and address barriers to social inclusion faced by seniors;
  • promote improved access to information, programs and services for seniors to enhance their social inclusion within their communities;
  • support action research to better understand effective approaches for increasing the level of social inclusion of seniors in their communities;
  • develop innovative approaches to engage and retain senior volunteers to improve their social inclusion in their communities; and
  • address systemic barriers that contribute to the social exclusion of seniors.

To determine how funding will be allocated, we are launching a two-step application process. This first step is a competitive call for concepts. You are invited to provide high level information about your project to determine the need and complexity of an issue that is impacting seniors' well-being. Complex issues suited to these projects are those that are not easy to resolve, have persisted over time and cannot be solved in isolation. As this is a competitive process, not all applications will be retained.

If you are successful in the first step of this application process, we will invite you to develop a full project proposal. At that time, you will be required to provide additional information and go into further details about your proposed concept, such as a well-articulated plan for funding collaborating organizations. Additional information and documents about the project will also be requested. Another document with specific instructions will be provided to those applicants.

We reserve the right to accept an application in whole or in part. Consideration may also be given to factors such as geographic coverage and official languages requirements.


  • Step 1 - Call for concepts: December 6, 2018 to January 21, 2019
  • Notification of decision on Step 1: Spring 2019
  • Step 2 - Full project proposal: Spring 2019
  • Anticipated project start date: Summer 2019

Through this process, ESDC will fund backbone organizationsFootnote 1 to act as third party intermediariesFootnote 2. Backbone organizations will work with collaborating organizationsFootnote 3 to implement a collective impactFootnote 4 initiative.

Overview of key elements

For the purpose of this call for concepts, collective impact is a collaborative, multi-partner approach to increase the social inclusion of seniors (aged 55 and older) within a specific community. This approach brings together a group of collaborating organizations from different sectorsFootnote 5 to commit to a common agenda aiming for significant changes in their community.

The group of collaborating organizations forms an integrated strategy to achieve the broad outcomes of the collective impact.

The collective impact structure has:

  • A common agenda: Collaborating organizations work towards a common set of outcomes
  • Shared measurement: Collaborating organizations agree on the way success will be measured and reported
  • Mutually reinforcing activities: Collaborating organizations work as a team on coordinated actions that support each other
  • Continuous communication: There is routine, planned communications among collaborating organizations
  • Backbone organization: A dedicated support/coordination team

The backbone organization holds the contribution agreement with us. It acts as a third-party intermediary, manages sub-agreements with collaborating organizations and distributes funding to them based on a set of agreed-upon activities. More specifically, backbone organizations are responsible for the following activities:

  • Manage the contribution agreement with us
  • Coordinate the development and implementation of a collective impact initiative. This includes:
    • Paying attention to the relationships between organizations;
    • Supporting aligned activities across organizations;
    • Providing strategic guidance and leadership to organizations; and
    • Building knowledge and alignment through shared measurement systems, regular meetings, etc.
  • Establish sub-agreements with each collaborating organization. This includes:
    • Re-distributing funding;
    • Coordinating the process of reviewing and approving the collective impact projects;
    • Establishing shared measurement practices across collaborating organizations;
    • Monitoring all sub-agreements with each collaborating organization; and
    • Reporting to ESDC on the results and outcomes of the agreements.
  • Think about the long-term process and gradual impact rather than short-term solutions, as well as sustainability after our funding
  • Help build public will, community buy-in and support through strong convening power to increase the social inclusion of seniors

Collaborating organizations must be located within one geographic region. However, if your collective impact initiative targets Official Language Minority Communities, the collaborating organizations can be within one geographic region or throughout Canada.

Eligible activities

Eligible activities are those that increase the rate of social inclusion among seniors in a target population. This could include:

  • Developing partnerships to encourage new and emerging cohorts of seniors to be more actively involved in community activities;
  • Adapting approaches (policies and tools) to more effectively attract, recruit and retain diverse cohorts of volunteers, including other generations;
  • Sharing seniors’ knowledge, skills and experiences with others;
  • Promoting awareness of elder abuse;
  • Reaching out to vulnerable seniors such as those who are socially or geographically isolated;
  • Volunteering, mentoring, leadership training and skill matching;
  • Building intergenerational and intercultural learning and relationships;
  • Developing / sharing tools and resource materials;
  • Sharing best practices; and
  • Other activities that support this CFC.

Ineligible activities

Ineligible activities include programs and services that fall within the responsibility of other levels of government such as providing core health services.

For more information on collective impact models, refer to:


Tamarack community

Collective Impact Forum

Channeling Change

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