Call for applications: The Intersectoral Action Fund

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Overview

Intersectoral action (ISA) refers to the ways that different groups and sectors of society work together to improve health and the conditions that shape health. Groups outside of the health sector often lead this type of action. Effective ISA is crucial to addressing complex public health challenges that impact health equity and wellbeing. The Intersectoral Action Fund ("the Fund") supports communities to build capacity for intersectoral action on the conditions into which we're born, live, grow, work, play and age - the social determinants of health. In recognition of the diverse expertise and intersectoral work underway in communities, projects will focus on one of three Streams of capacity building for ISA. The stream selected should reflect the primary focus of the proposed project activities. The examples listed within each stream illustrate possible activities, but proposals are not limited to these areas of work.

Stream 1: Identify priority areas for collective action on social determinants of health and wellbeing

Examples: community needs assessment; analyses of how programs, policies, or other issues impact diverse groups, assessments to improve how sectors work together to improve health; translating evidence into policy effectively; develop a community vision, agenda, or action plan

Stream 2: Foster transformative partnerships to facilitate action on social determinants of health and wellbeing

Examples: hire dedicate staff, initiate peer-to-peer coaching or mentorship for undertaking intersectoral work; support partnerships with new sectors; involve people with lived experience in decision-making processes; establish a network of intersectoral community partners

Stream 3: Build capacity to take action on social determinants of health and wellbeing

Examples: cross-sectoral training to advance common goals among partners; build internal capacity for data analysis and interpretation, or other essential areas; communicating health information to diverse audiences and sectors, social marketing campaigns that support health equity; develop tools to support leaders to undertake intersectoral work

The COVID-19 pandemic, or syndemic (see Glossary), has revealed the deeply entrenched health and social inequities that exist in Canada between marginalized/vulnerable population groups and those the most socially advantaged. Importantly, COVID-19 has increased visibility of ISA's critical role for health and social wellbeing, given the scale and urgency with which communities came together to respond to the pandemic and plan for its recovery. Yet, ISA and community action are central elements for the promotion of health and achievement of health equity, beyond pandemic or syndemic realities, and are supported by a rich history of evidence and tradition in public health ( Helsinki Statement on Health in All Policies, 2013).

In our interconnected world, it's only through ISA that complex health, social, and economic issues can be addressed. These issues require action on the conditions within which we are born, grow, live, work and age (the social determinants of health), as well as the systems and structures that shape those conditions. The Chief Public Health Officer of Canada has championed the need to prioritize health equity in pandemic preparedness, response, and recovery to protect Canadians from the threat of COVID-19 and future pandemics. Communities must also consider how they will sustain the momentum for ISA and health equity beyond COVID-19, to ensure that foundational pieces are in place to build back better, more inclusively, and more equitably.

Projects applicants may apply from within or outside of the health sector, but must work in partnership with other sectors of society and meaningfully engage stakeholders and diverse groups, including people with lived experience. Specific activities and areas for action on social determinants of health will be determined by local community needs as well as the partnerships and initiatives that are in place.

This is an anticipatory solicitation process. Final funding decisions will be subject to available funds.

Context

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the strong interdependencies between population health and social and economic wellbeing. It has also underscored that coordinated action across sectors is vital for addressing the underlying drivers and determinants of health and social inequities, and for building stronger and more resilient communities, beyond pandemic realities.

Local and regional actors have been at the forefront of shaping intersectoral community responses to COVID-19, and have used creativity and ingenuity to respond to the needs of community members. Planning towards recovering and rebuilding after COVID-19 will require leadership and coordination across sectors at the local and regional levels.

Effective collaboration needed to address complex health and social issues requires:

In response, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is launching the Intersectoral Action Fund ("the Fund") to build capacity in communities to advance ISA on social determinants of health, particularly as they move towards the difficult work of recovering from the pandemic. Projects may propose new intersectoral initiatives to address gaps or respond to challenges exposed by COVID-19, or they may propose activities to build on or advance existing intersectoral initiatives, to expand their reach or impact.

Projects must align with one of the following three streams of capacity building for ISA. The stream selected should reflect the primary focus of the proposed project activities. The examples listed within each stream illustrate possible activities, but proposals are not limited to these areas of work.

Stream 1: Identify priority areas for collective action on social determinants of health and wellbeing

Examples: community needs assessment; analyses of how programs, policies, or other issues impact diverse groups, assessments to improve how sectors work together to improve health; translating evidence into policy effectively; develop a community vision, agenda, or action plan

Stream 2: Foster transformative partnerships to facilitate action on social determinants of health and wellbeing

Examples: hire dedicate staff, initiate peer-to-peer coaching or mentorship for undertaking intersectoral work; support partnerships with new sectors; involve people with lived experience in decision-making processes; establish a network of intersectoral community partners

Stream 3: Build capacity to take action on social determinants of health and wellbeing

Examples: cross-sectoral training to advance common goals among partners; build internal capacity for data analysis and interpretation, or other essential areas; communicating health information to diverse audiences and sectors, and social marketing campaigns that support health equity; develop tools to support leaders to undertake intersectoral work

It's expected that applicants will complete the proposed project within 12 months. A final report will be due within 1 month of the project's end.

Applicants are encouraged to consider how the changing COVID-19 context may impact proposed activities over the course of the project, and ensure that project activities operate within local public health guidance for COVID-19.

Objective and principles

Objective

The objective of the Fund is to support action on social determinants of health by building capacity in communities to advance intersectoral action, in ways that improve population health and reduce health inequities. Applicants must demonstrate how their proposal aligns with this objective in their application.

Principles

The solicitation is guided by the following principles:

Funding details

Funding amount and duration

Proposed projects must be within specified funding limits, between $25,000 and $250,000. A large range of eligible funding amounts is permitted so that projects can apply for the amount of funding required to advance a feasible set of activities. Small and large project proposals are welcome.

Funds will be issued through grants no earlier than fall 2021. It's expected that applicants will complete the proposed project within 12 months. A final report will be due within 1 month of the project's end.

Who can apply

Only applicants in the following categories may be considered for funding:

Small organizations are welcome to apply.

For-profit organizations must apply in partnership with a non-profit organization, to ensure the project meets the needs of the community of interest, and is delivered with input from that community and the organizations who serve it. Applicants from for-profit organizations will be asked to demonstrate meaningful and appropriate community partnerships in their request for funding and will be required to submit Letters of Support from community partners with their application.

Eligible activities

Projects must align with one of the following three streams of capacity building for ISA. The stream selected should reflect the primary focus of the proposed project activities. The examples listed within each stream illustrate possible activities, but proposals are not limited to these areas of work.

Stream 1: Identify priority areas for collective action on social determinants of health and wellbeing

Examples: community needs assessment; analyses of how programs, policies, or other issues impact diverse groups, assessments to improve how sectors work together to improve health; translating evidence into policy effectively; develop a community vision, agenda, or action plan

Stream 2: Foster transformative partnerships to facilitate action on social determinants of health and wellbeing

Examples: hire dedicate staff, initiate peer-to-peer coaching or mentorship for undertaking intersectoral work; support partnerships with new sectors; involve people with lived experience in decision-making processes; establish a network of intersectoral community partners

Stream 3: Build capacity to take action on social determinants of health and wellbeing

Examples: cross-sectoral training to advance common goals among partners; build internal capacity for data analysis and interpretation, or other essential areas; communicating health information to diverse audiences and sectors, social marketing campaigns that support health equity; develop tools to support leaders to undertake intersectoral work

Eligible expenditures

Funding is limited to cash expenses that are pertinent, reasonable and essential to accomplish the objectives of an eligible project. Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to:

In all cases, project-related administrative expenses (e.g., rental of office space) are limited to a maximum of 15% of total project funding.

A detailed budget will be required as part of the application process.

Ineligible activities and expenditures

The following activities and expenses are not eligible for funding:

How to apply

Application process

The application process for the Program requires the completion of a Funding Request Form. To get a copy of the Funding Request Form template and Applicant Guide, please contact phac.cgc.solicitations-csc.aspc@canada.ca.

The deadline for submitting completed Funding Request Forms is July 12, 2021, 3 pm EST. All Funding Request Forms must be submitted by email to: phac.cgc.solicitations-csc.aspc@canada.ca. No extensions will be granted. Receipt of Funding Request Forms will be acknowledged by email. Please ensure that your email address is included in your application.

Funding decisions will be based on a review of proposals and subject to available funds. Not all applications will be funded.

PHAC is responsible for determining the eligibility of each applicant, its project and project-related expenses. PHAC also reserves the right to:

All applicants will be notified by email of the results following the end of the review process.

Decisions related to funding for applicants made by PHAC are final.

Please note that PHAC will not reimburse an applicant for costs incurred in the preparation and/or submission of a Funding Request in response to this invitation.

Assessment criteria

The following criteria will be used to evaluate all applications for funding. The specific assessment criteria that will be applied are outlined on the Funding Request Form:

Other considerations

Official language requirements

The Government of Canada is committed to enhancing the vitality of English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada (Francophones living outside the province of Quebec and Anglophones living in the province of Quebec), supporting and assisting their development, and fostering the full recognition and use of both official languages in Canadian society. Projects must be accessible in one or both official languages depending on the reach and audience. For additional information, consult the Official Languages Act.

Gender-based analysis requirements

The Government of Canada is committed to Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+). GBA+ incorporates consideration of gender as well as other factors such as age, education, language, geography, culture and income in the development of policies and programs. See more information on GBA+.

Ownership of intellectual property

Funding recipients and their community partners will retain ownership and control over data and any tools and resources developed as part of the project, and will be responsible for publishing, disseminating, and mobilizing knowledge from funded projects.

Contact us

For additional information about this funding opportunity, please contact: phac.cgc.solicitations-csc.aspc@canada.ca with the subject line "Intersectoral Action Fund".

Glossary of terms

Collective impact: commitment of diverse actors (e.g., stakeholders, community members, decision makers) from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a complex health or social problem.

Community: a group of people who share something in common. A community can be formed from geographic location, identity factors, shared experiences, or other attributes that create a sense of belonging or interpersonal connection among its members.

Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+): Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) is an analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men, girls, boys and gender-diverse people may be impacted by federal initiatives.

Health equity: the absence of unfair or unjust systematic and avoidable differences in health status or social determinants of health. A health equity approach seeks to reduce inequalities and to increase access to opportunities and conditions conducive to health for all. Heightened efforts to address the needs of populations that are at higher risk for poorer quality social determinants of health or poorer health outcomes can help reduce health inequities between different population groups.

Intersectoral action: actions undertaken by sectors outside of the health sector (e.g., early childhood, transportation, housing, food insecurity) - often, but not necessarily, in collaboration with the health sector - on outcomes that impact health and its determinants.

Knowledge mobilization: includes the synthesis, adaptation, dissemination and active exchange of knowledge.

People with lived experience: People who have personal knowledge and firsthand experience with through everyday events. People with lived experience represent their own understanding and experience of issues, challenges, identity factors, health conditions, or other factors, rather than representations constructed by others. Examples of lived experience may include, people experiencing problematic substance use, people living in low-income, people living in communities without access to public transport, people who are precariously employed, people who identify as LGBTQIA2+, people who are members of racialized populations, among others.

Social determinants of health and health equity: Social determinants of health are the broad range of social, economic and environmental factors that relate to an individual's place in society (such as gender, race, income, education, or employment) and that determine individual and population health. Social determinants of health are shaped by the distribution of wealth, power, and opportunities within and between populations.

Syndemics: occurs when two or more health issues interact to contribute to increased health burden for individuals or communities.

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