Substance Use and Addictions Program: Call for Proposals 2021 Guidelines for Applicants


Download the alternative format
(PDF format, 872 KB, 24 pages)

Organization: Health Canada

Table of Contents

1. SUAP Overview and Context

Health Canada's Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP) provides grants and contributions funding to respond to drug and substance use issues. This funding is provided to other levels of government, community-led and not-for-profit organizations in Canada.

SUAP provides funding for a wide range of innovative and evidence-informed projects addressing problematic substance use prevention, harm reduction and treatment initiatives across the country. Projects target a range of psychoactive substances, including opioids, stimulants, cannabis, alcohol, nicotine and tobacco, at the community, regional and national levels.

The opioid overdose crisis is one of the most serious and unprecedented public health crises in Canada's recent history. Tragically, the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the ongoing overdose crisis, with most jurisdictions reporting record high rates of overdose deaths and harms during 2020. Isolation, stress, toxic street drug supply, and reduced access to services have contributed to these increases in harms and deaths.

To provide communities across Canada with the support they need to improve the quality of life of people who use substances and to protect and save lives, SUAP is launching the Call for Proposals 2021 (CFP) as a one stage and one-time call for proposals. Under this call for proposals, SUAP is seeking applications for projects that can help to prevent, treat or reduce the harms associated with opioids, stimulants, alcohol, prescription drugs, and other problematic substances. Applications are welcome for projects that can meet needs in the following priority areas:

  1. Harm reduction related to substance use and the toxic illegal drug supply
  2. Prevention, health promotion and early intervention
  3. Treatment and Recovery
  4. Strengthening the substance use workforce

See 4.2 Funding Priority(ies) of these Guidelines for Applicants for additional detail.

The Call for Proposals 2021 is a Health Canada initiative only. For information on potential Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) funding, visit the PHAC Grant and Contribution Funding Opportunities webpage at:

2. Application Process

These Guidelines for Applicants will help you prepare and submit your application. Submitting your application is a three-step process:

Step 1 – Complete Your Application Form

There are 11 sections in the Form as follows:

The requirements for each of the Application Form sections are clearly outlined in these Guidelines for Applicants (see 4. Application Requirements).

Step 2 – Attach Your Proof of Eligibility

SUAP can only provide funding to certain kinds of organizations that are eligible as per SUAP Terms and Conditions. In Section 1e of the Application Form, you have the opportunity to attach the document(s) demonstrating your organization's eligibility for SUAP funding (see 3. Applicant Eligibility and 4.1 Organization Identification in these Guidelines for Applicants).

Step 3 – Submit Your Complete Application

Send your complete application electronically to by 2:00 PM EDT on September 24, 2021. Health Canada will not accept applications submitted after this deadline. If you encounter any technical issues when submitting, please notify as soon as possible.

Your complete application must include:

3. Applicant Eligibility

3.1 Eligible Applicants

The following types of organizations are eligible for SUAP funding:

Quebec organizations are eligible to apply for SUAP funds as follows:

This CFP cannot be used to expand or amend an existing contribution agreement. However, current Health Canada contribution agreement holders may apply to this CFP for funding of new projects.

It is important that any applicant organization remain in good standing under the laws under which they were incorporated. In other words, an applicant must be and remain in compliance with the requirements of the legislation under which it was incorporated (federal or provincial/territorial), including under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act that governs internal affairs of federal not-for-profit corporations.

3.2 Ineligible Applicants

The following applicants are ineligible for SUAP funding:

You can include these ineligible entities as project partners on applications by eligible applicants.

4. Application Requirements

You must fully complete all the mandatory fields of your Application Form to be considered for SUAP funding. An asterisk (*) marks all mandatory fields. The guidance below outlines the information required for each section of the Form.

In the Application Form, please note that certain responses include character limits. Character limits differ in both the English and French Application Forms to reflect both official languages.

4.1 Organization Identification (Application Form, Section 1)

In this section, you must identify the full legal name of your organization. This name appears on any legal documents associated with your organization. The legal name should match your organization's proof of eligibility document(s) attached in field 1e of the Application Form. If your organization operates under a different name, there is another line in the form to note this. SUAP requires this information in order to enter into a funding agreement with your organization.

Please provide your contact information, including street address, postal code, etc. We will use this email to communicate with you on matters related to this application process. This email will be used to send you the acknowledgement of receipt of your application and the final decision for funding.

In field 1e, attach the documents that demonstrate your organization's eligibility. Documents can include:

If your proof of eligibility is available online rather than through documentation, you can instead include the relevant web link(s).

All applicants, including current Health Canada contribution agreement holders, must provide a proof of eligibility. Provincial and territorial government organizations are exempt from this requirement.

4.2 Funding Priority(ies) (Application Form, Section 2)

SUAP is seeking applications for projects that can help to prevent, treat or reduce the harms associated with opioids, stimulants, alcohol, prescription drugs, and other potentially harmful substances.

Applications are welcome for projects that can meet needs in the areas outlined below.

Funding Priority 1 - Harm reduction related to substance use and the toxic illegal drug supply

Projects that expand the availability of services designed to reduce the harmful health, social and economic effects of substance use on individuals, families and communities, such as:

Funding Priority 2 - Prevention, health promotion and early intervention

Projects that aim to address the root causes of harmful substance use, prevent the harms associated with substance use, or provide services that can help to avoid future risks, such as:

Funding Priority 3 - Treatment and Recovery

Projects that engage or retain people in evidence-informed, culturally relevant and stigma-free treatment and recovery services and supports, such as:

Funding Priority 4 - Strengthening the substance use workforce

Projects that connect systems of care and increase the capacity across the spectrum of support services (health, social, peer-led, etc.) to provide care to people who use drug, such as:

You may submit separate applications if you have more than one project idea. There is no limit on the number of applications that each applicant can submit. However, you can submit one application that addresses more than one funding priority if it can logically be explained through one application. Health Canada will assess each application independently.

4.3 Project Target Population(s) (Application Form, Section 3)

Projects must identify target population(s). Target populations are the groups your project aims to reach and can include individuals or communities. Projects should reach those at greatest risk or who may face barriers accessing services, including:

You will need to first identify your project's target population(s). Then, provide information on demographics of your target population(s), including their official language, their gender and age group. Select as many options as applicable.

You can propose to address one target population or a combination of groups, such as a primary and secondary target group. Also ensure to include a description of your target population(s) and how they are involved in the project.

4.4 Project Information (Application Form, Section 4)

4.4.1 Project Title / Project Duration / Requested Funding / Sources of Funding

Please include the title of your project, the duration of the project in months (the expected duration is 12-15 months, ending March 31, 2023) and the total amount of funding requested.

Your organization may receive other sources of confirmed or anticipated funding that will help you deliver the project (for instance, other funding received from provincial/territorial or municipal governments). If this is the case, please include this information in the chart provided in Section 3c of the Application Form. Be sure to include both in kind and cash amounts in the chart.

In-kind funding are items and/or services received at no cost (i.e., by donation) for which you might otherwise have had to pay. In-kind items and/or services are provided by your organization itself, for which no exchange of money takes place. If your project is approved for funding, you will need to include a break-down of in-kind contributions in the detailed budget of your contribution agreement.

Examples of in-kind contributions include donated equipment, materials and supplies, expertise and staff time, or services and facilities. These contributions are necessary to implement a project and need to be purchased if not provided by other sources. The value or cost of in-kind contributions varies depending on the type of good/service provided.

4.4.2 Project Summary / Objectives / Key Activities / Key Outputs

These questions outline the objectives that you will seek to achieve over the funding period. Describe the key activities you will undertake in order to meet these objectives. Indicate the specific outputs of these activities (e.g. clients served, products developed, audience reached, etc). A summary that briefly captures all of these elements will help SUAP easily understand what your project is about.

Cultural safety must be ensured when designing any project that involves Indigenous peoples or racialized peoples. Responses to Application Form questions must demonstrate:

Language used in all sections of the Application Form must be consistent with the recommendations contained in the Public Health Agency of Canada's publication Communicating about Substance Use in Compassionate, Safe and Non-Stigmatizing Ways. Stigma leads to discrimination, which prevents people from accessing the services and supports they need. Projects must model a person-centred approach. They must use person-first and stigma-free language and messaging, and actively support the reduction of fear, stigma, misinformation and misunderstanding among stakeholders and within the community. Projects must recognize the impact of violence and trauma on people's lives and health. This includes substance use, and integrating this knowledge into all aspects of practice and programming.

4.4.3. Geographic Location / Setting / Scope

In the field for Geographic Location(s), you must identify the city(ies) and province(s)/territory(ies) in which your project takes place.

Then, when outlining your project setting(s), describe where your project will be implemented. Priority may be given to projects in regions where there may be gaps in services such as:

For the scope, you will need to select only one option, either national, provincial/territorial or community level. A project that is national in scope will cover three or more provinces and/or territories.

4.4.4 Meaningful Engagement of People with Lived and Living Experience and/or Peer/Experiential Workers

Projects must meaningfully involve the target population in all aspects of the project including in the development, delivery and evaluation of the project.

Projects should place peer/experiential workers and/or a person who has lived experience of substance use (current or past) in leadership positions. For example, peer/experiential workers and/or PWLLE are provided meaningful opportunities to share their voice and influence change; employers commit to formally hiring, supporting and integrating peer / experiential and/or PWLLE workers into their organizations; and peer/experiential workers and/or PWLLE are compensated at the same level as others in same or similar positions.

Applicants should consult Canadian resources on best practices for peer engagement and partnering with people with lived and living experience of substance use. For example, applicants may want to consult the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction published Guidelines for Partnering with People with Lived and Living Experience of Substance Use and Their Families and Friends (2021), available in both official languages, for information on topics such as meaningful engagement and appropriate compensation.

4.4.5 Official Language Requirements

As per federal government policy, SUAP takes measures to ensure that the recipients of public funds respect the spirit and the intent of the Official Languages Act when serving the public.

Provide a statement indicating how the project will or will not target both linguistic communities, for example:

4.4.6 Sustainability

Health Canada funding is time-limited. Please indicate what measures you will take to ensure that needs addressed by the project are met through alternate measures after the end of the funding period. Please note any anticipated enablers or barriers related to sustainability. If you anticipate that project activities will not continue once the funding period ends, explain what steps you will take to ensure a smooth project wind-down.

4.5 Evidence and Need (Application Form, Section 5)

In this section, provide evidence and need for the project's activities. Examples of information you can include are:

Also, please indicate whether this project builds on other initiatives or is an innovative/new approach. If your proposed intervention has been evaluated, please include a link to the evaluation or supporting documents that reference the intervention when submitting your application.

4.6 Performance Measurement and Evaluation (Application Form, Section 6)

All projects funded under the SUAP must contribute to and align with SUAP program-level outcomes and performance indicators, specific to the aims of the interventions, outlined below.

Outcomes Indicators
Change in awareness/capacity
  • # of targeted Canadians and/or stakeholders reached
  • % increase in knowledge/skills of targeted Canadians and/or stakeholders
Availability of services
  • # new services offered
  • # of clients accessing new services
Change in behaviour
  • % of targeted Canadians and/or stakeholders reporting that they intend to use knowledge/skills
  • % of clients reporting a positive change in behaviour

Targeted Canadians may include: youth, adults and any other target populations or sub-populations as identified by research and evidence. This relates to initiatives targeting individual change (or groups of individuals).

Targeted Stakeholders may include: P/T governments, pan-Canadian health organizations, non-profit organizations, communities or others at the organizational or system level. This relates to initiatives targeting organization, system or policy and practice change.

Please note that SUAP will be identifying cohorts of similar projects to participate in, and contribute to third party evaluation. This evaluation is coordinated by, and on behalf of, Health Canada. To support the evaluation, projects will work with independent evaluators to gather and share information about the implementation and outcomes of their program.

4.7 Organizational and Collaboration Capacity (Application Form, Section 7)

Best practices and experience demonstrate that projects supported by partners are most likely to succeed. In this section, please describe how your project involves other organizations, especially those from multiple disciplines or sectors (e.g., health and social services). Include the type of organizations as well (e.g., non-profit, Indigenous, governmental, academia). Where applicable, also note:

Demonstrate how your organization is well positioned to undertake the proposed project (include relevant skills, interest, experience with the subject matter and target populations, financial and/or human resource capacity).

Projects must be community-led – that is, they must address a community-identified need and demonstrate community involvement. You can define ‘community' as location based (e.g., cities, towns, neighbourhoods, regions) and/or identity based (e.g., gender groups or identities, age groups, professional groups).

The chart in the Application Form (Section 6b) provides you the opportunity to name the partner organizations with whom you will work. Also note each partner's role and their specific contribution to the project. In the 'role' column, please indicate the activities in which the partner will be involved.

4.8 Sex and Gender Based Analysis (SGBA) (Application Form, Section 8)

Health Canada requires the use of sex and gender-based analysis to develop, implement and evaluate programs. When developing your project, think about how the activities outlined will impact men, women, boys, girls and gender diverse individuals. As well, you may want to consider how other health determinants such as sex, gender, age, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, ability, sexual orientation, migration status, and geography may contribute to differences in accessing your project activities.

You are required to submit detailed data on sex and/or gender and official languages as part of regular reporting requirements. Projects must recognize that sex and/or gender and official language is relevant to: prevalence and patterns of substance use, type of substances used, the physical impact of particular substances used, the subpopulations affected, the social context of use, and access to and outcomes of harm reduction and treatment programming.

Please refer to the following table when completing your Application.

Continuum of gender considerations in programs and policies

Gender unequal – Reinforces unbalanced gender norms, roles and relations
Gender blind – Ignores gender norms, roles and relations
Gender sensitive – Considers gender norms but offers no remedial action
Gender specific – Acknowledges the impact of different gender norms roles and relations
Gender transformative – Addresses changing harmful gender norms

For more information and discussion, see Greaves, L., A. Pederson, and N. Poole, eds. Making it Better: Gender Transformative Health Promotion. 2014, Canadian Scholars Press: Toronto, ON.

4.9 Summary Work Plan (Application Form, Section 9)

In the Summary Work Plan section, you will need to include:

The activities listed in this section must clearly align with the project Budget in Section 9 of the Application Form.

4.10 Budget and Narrative (Application Form, Section 10)

The budget should take into consideration all activities and project outputs outlined in the Summary Work Plan in Section 8 of the Application Form.

You must complete a detailed budget as part your Application Form. The budget outlines how the project will spend the money requested over the time period identified. Below is information about eligible and ineligible expenses. An example of a completed budget included below (see 4.10.2 Completed Budget and Narrative Example in these Guidelines for Applicants). This example demonstrates the level of detail expected in this section. You must provide an adequate description for each budget category.

4.10.1 Eligible and Ineligible Expenditures

The following list will help you understand what SUAP can and cannot fund, and therefore will guide you in preparing your budget.

Eligible expenditure categories are:

Personnel salaries and benefits

Full/part-time employees: employees' gross salaries (before deductions) for time spent directly on the project.

Benefits/Employer's share of payroll deductions: such as Employment Insurance, Canada or Quebec Pension Plan, other payroll taxes (e.g. provincial health tax), etc., for full/part-time employees.

This can also include vacation pay for employees receiving a lump sum payment instead of paid leave.

Contractual personnel

A contract employee is hired for a specific job at a specific rate of pay and is not considered a permanent employee (e.g. scriptwriter, translator, auditor, evaluator, etc.).

Travel and accommodation

All costs for travel related to carrying out the approved project that are consistent with the National Joint Council's Travel Directive. These include:

Materials and Supplies


Rent and Utilities

Performance Measurement

All costs related to the evaluation of the project, for example, contract fees for an external evaluator, costs for staff dedicated to performance measure and not included above, board members or participants involved in the planning, data collection and analysis components of the evaluation, as well as printing/photocopying, postage for the dissemination of results, survey costs, etc.

Other Costs

All costs that are directly related to the project but do not fit within any of the expenditure categories noted above. These can include: registration for seminars, bank charges, insurance, refreshments, honoraria, audit, etc.

For projects with multiple funding sources, total government funding (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal funding) for the same eligible expenditure costs (stacking limit) cannot exceed 100% of eligible expenditures.

Ineligible expenditures include, but are not limited to:

Expenditures incurred prior to Health Canada written approval will not be reimbursed.

4.10.2 Completed Budget and Narrative Example

Completed Budget and Narrative Example
Budget Expenditure Categories Federal Fiscal Year (FY) = April 1 to March 31 TOTALS
Narrative FY1 FY2
Personnel and Benefits

1 FT Program Manager 30 hrs/wk@ $45/hour = $70,200/yr

2 x PT Peer Workers 15 hrs/wk@ $25/hr= $19,500/yr = $39,000/yr

1 PT Comms Asst 20hrs/wk@$28/hr=@$29,120/yr

All empl MERCs (mandatory employment related costs) @ 15% of all salary= $20,748/yr, x 2 yrs

$159,068 $159,068 $318,136
Contractual Employees

Translation @$50/hr x 100 hrs =$5000

Meeting facilitation @ $80hr x 50 hrs= $4000

2 x office assistants @ $20/hr x 100 hrs= $4000, x 2 yrs

$13,000 $13,000 $26,000
Travel and Accommodations

Hotel: 3 day conference attendance for 4 empl + 4 presentation trips: 20 nights @$250=$5000

Meals and Incidentals: 20 days @112.15/day = total $2243

Mileage: 3000km x.52/km = total $1560

Airfare 4 trips@800=$3200, x 1 yrs

$0 $12,003 $12,003
Materials & Supplies

Pharmaceutical-grade medications total $50,000/yr

Printing / Dissemination: $800/yr

Project Materials: $600/yr, x 2 yrs

$51,400 $51,400 $102,800

Office Equipment: 1x laptop computer purchase=$2000

Office furniture purchase $1200, both only in yr 1

Shared rental of photocopier $200 total/yr x 2 yrs

$3,400 $200 $3,600
Rent & Utilities

Rent (% of square footage): $20,000 base rent /2,000 sq ft x 360 sq ft = $3600/yr

Utilities: phone charges $720/yr, x 2 yrs

$4,320 $4,320 $8,640
Performance Measurement & Evaluation

External evaluator: $10,000/yr

Data analysis $1200/yr

Report writing: $2500/yr

Dissemination of results: $3000/yr, x 2 yrs

$16,700 $16,700 $33,400

Event Refreshments (1 event per year): $500/yr

Event honorarium for participation of an Elder: (1 event per year): $500/yr

Audit $500/yr, x 2 yrs

$1,500 $1,500 $3,000
Total Contributions from Health Canada $249,388 $258,191 $507,579

4.11 Approval / Declaration (Application Form, Section 11)

Please ensure that you sign the approval/declaration on the last page of the Application Form by including your electronic or digital signature. Health Canada does not require a scanned version of your wet signature.

5. Assessment

5.1 Initial Screening

All applications submitted under this CFP will first pass through an initial screening process to ensure:

Your application must pass the initial screening to move on to the Application Assessment portion.

5.2 Application Assessment

The applications that pass the initial screening are then assessed against the criteria below:

Funding Priority(ies)

Target Population(s)

Project Information

Evidence and Need

Performance Measurement and Evaluation

Organizational and Collaborative Capacity


Summary Work Plan

Budget and Narrative

The total assessment score is one consideration for final funding decisions. Other departmental considerations, such as available funding and geographic distribution will also influence the final selection of applications.

6. Communications with Health Canada

SUAP will make every effort to answer questions. SUAP will keep applicants informed on the processing of their submissions in accordance with the following standards.

6.1 Acknowledgment

Within three business days of submitting your application, you will receive an electronic notification that SUAP has received your submission.

6.2 Final Decision

SUAP will communicate with applicants to provide them with a final decision on whether the application will proceed or not for negotiation of a contribution agreement. All final decisions will be communicated electronically using the email address provided in the Application Form. Please ensure the email address included in the Application Form is accurate and valid.

All funding decisions communicated will be final; there is no appeal process. Projects deemed strong but not funded during this process may be retained in case future funding opportunities arise.

6.3 Contribution Agreement

SUAP is under no obligation to fund any application submitted through this CFP or to fund the entire scope or duration of a proposed project.

If you are successful in this CFP process, Health Canada will provide an overall supporting role and monitor project progress to ensure that the terms of the Contribution Agreement are met. Organizations that receive SUAP funding do not act on the Government's behalf. Health Canada will not use contribution funding to acquire a needed good or service that supports the Department's operations.

Expenditures incurred prior to Health Canada written approval will not be reimbursed.

Approved projects may require an ethics review. A research ethics board that adheres to the Tri-Council Policy Statement must approve all projects that involve research with humans: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans before the research portion of the project begins. Research is defined as an activity designed to:

Research may rely upon quantitative methods or qualitative approaches such as participatory action research, narrative inquiry, or discourse analysis.

Research involving humans as "research participants" includes research with:

The following are examples of activities that may be considered research, depending on their purpose: questionnaires, surveys, enhanced/novel surveillance, collection of data or biological materials, use of databanks or bio-banks.

If applicable, successful applicants should use the research ethics board affiliated with their organization. For applicants that do not have access to an ethics review board, please contact the SUAP program for support.

6.4 Questions

For transparency and fairness, Health Canada cannot provide personalized advice on applications or project ideas for this funding process. However, we do understand that you may have questions. We invite you to send any questions you may have to: SUAP will compile questions and post answers applicable to all directly on the SUAP website on a weekly basis.

An Information Session will take place on August 12, 2021 to walk through details such as, the Funding Priorities and how to complete an application. To register email us at providing your organization's name, your email address and the province/territory in which your head office is located.

For any additional questions related to the CFP, contact SUAP via email: While SUAP will make every effort to respond to each inquiry in a timely fashion, we cannot guarantee a response to questions received after September 22, 2021.


Footnote 1

It is not acceptable to charge rent for computers that are already owned. It is expected that organizations, as part of their in-kind contribution to the project, will give project staff access to their equipment. If the project is putting a strain on existing equipment, organizations may charge the project a fee for computer use (generally this is an hourly or daily fee) and a log must be kept to account for this time.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

Capital expenditures are those intending to acquire or improve an asset through construction, purchase or lease. Expenditures related to the purchase or betterment (retrofit or renovations) related to land, buildings and/or vehicles are examples of capital and building expenditures. Major capital expenditures are those valued over $10,000.

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: