Research investment of over $27 million will contribute to healthier, more equitable communities

News release

Funding supports research to improve health in urban areas

November 18, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Your postal code —where you live—is one of the strongest predictors of your health. With 80 per cent of people in Canada living in cities, understanding what can be done in an urban context to promote better health and equity across populations is a critical area of research.

Today, Adam van Koeverden, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and to the Minister of Sport, on behalf of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced the Government of Canada is investing over $27 million to support six research teams that are studying how to make Canada’s cities healthier, more equitable places to live. This funding is being provided through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

With this investment, the six teams will implement and then evaluate the effectiveness of different strategies to see what works best to improve the wellbeing of people who live in cities, with particular attention paid to how particular strategies help more vulnerable populations, and why. For example, the research teams will study ways to increase uptake of walking, cycling, and public transit use, and how to help older adults age in place while staving off the effects of physical inactivity, loneliness, and social isolation.

These grants are being provided as part of CIHR’s Healthy Cities Research Initiative, which aims to improve health by maximizing the health-promoting potential of cities in Canada and around the world. By testing out various interventions, this initiative strives to uncover what policies work best in the real world to ensure positive health outcomes for those who need it most, including communities that have historically been marginalized.

Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council partnered on this competition to provide additional funding to expand the impact of the projects. These additional investments will be announced soon.


“As we work to make Canada healthier, we need to understand the important needs of urban communities. Supporting these six research teams will help us ensure equitable health outcomes for all people in Canada, especially marginalized populations in bigger cities. The knowledge generated by these research teams will influence policies, programs, and community planning, ultimately leading to healthier cities and a healthier people.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“We know that eating healthy and exercising leads to better health, but where you live has an impact on your health, too. Access to healthy food, the cost of housing, and availability of reliable transportation are just some of the environmental factors that impact our health. The research we are investing in today will give us a better understanding of what interventions work, for whom and why—yielding critical knowledge to improve the health of all people living in Canada.”

Adam van Koeverden
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and to the Minister of Sport

“With most Canadians living in urban areas, knowing how to maximize the health-promoting potential of cities could help address some of the major barriers to health equity that we see in this country. CIHR is proud to partner with the PHAC and the Australia's NHMRC to support public health research that has the power to make our cities healthier, more liveable, and more equitable.”

Dr. Christian Baron
Vice-President of Research, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Quick facts

  • The environments we live, work, and play in are critical to our health, development, and well-being.

  • The Healthy Cities Research Initiative, a 10-year, $43+ million research program supported by CIHR and numerous partners, is committed to maximizing the potential of urban areas to promote better health and equity across all populations.

  • CIHR Institutes co-leading the Healthy Cities Research Initiative are the Institute of Population and Public Health; Institute of Aging; Institute of Gender and Health; Institute of Health Services and Policy Research; Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health, Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis; and the Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes.

  • Of the funding announced today, CIHR is investing $17.8 million into the research of the six successful teams. The teams are eligible for up to an additional $9 million in funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Healthy Canadians & Communities Fund and $5 million AUD from Australia’s National Health & Medical Research Council to expand the impacts of the projects and provide more opportunities for the researchers to interact with decision makers.

Associated links


Marie-France Proulx
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.

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