Call for Proposals: Distress Line Equity Fund 2023

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is pleased to invite organizations to submit Letters of Intent (LOIs) for projects and initiatives that address the objectives and priorities of the Distress Line Equity Fund (see section on Objectives and Eligible Activities).

This Call for Proposals consists of a two-step process. The first step is the submission of a LOI, to demonstrate applicant eligibility and provide an overview of the proposed project.  Eligible applicants will then be sent an Invitation to Submit a Funding Request for the next step in the assessment process.

NOTE: This is the first of two rounds of solicitations that will take place through this opportunity. A second round will take place in December 2023.

Section 1 – Overview

Crisis lines are a component of a public health approach that aims to reduce an individual’s crisis state, emotional distress, and risk of suicide. They may also provide access to other suicide prevention and mental health resources, tools, and services.

In order to be responsive to the needs and experiences of equity-deserving populations across Canada who are seeking out suicide or emotional crisis services, distress lines and organizations that provide crisis services require capacity and competency to provide support and be a trusted resource for underserved populations, regardless of their cultural, social or economic status.

Section 2 – Objective and Eligible Activities

Through this time-limited funding opportunity, PHAC aims to support eligible distress lines and centres that provide crisis services to help address distress line sector gaps in equity, diversity, and inclusion. For the purpose of this funding opportunity, a distress line or centre is an organization that has as its principal mandate the provision of immediate crisis services via phone, text, and/or chat to the general public or specific priority population(s) with a focus on mental health. (Please see Section 3 for more information on eligible organizations).

Funds can be used to support:

Other activities addressing gaps in equity, diversity and inclusion in the distress line sector will be considered and could be admissible to proceed to the next step of the solicitation process, following an evaluation by a review committee.

Section 3 – Who can apply

To be eligible for funding, an organization must meet the following criteria:

The following types of organizations are not eligible for funding through this investment:

While complementary to the 9-8-8 initiative, the Distress Line Equity Fund funding opportunity is a separate opportunity. Organizations participating in the 9-8-8 network are eligible to apply for funding through the Distress Line Equity Fund.   

Section 4 – Funding amount and duration

Total funds available through the Distress Line Equity Fund are $8 million from the time of the launch to March 31, 2024.  The maximum funding available per project is $250,000. It is expected that funding recipients will complete their project within 12 months of receiving funding. A final report will be due within one month of the project ending. All projects must be concluded by March 31, 2025.

Section 5 – Application process 

The process to apply for funds involves two steps. The first step is for interested and eligible organizations to submit an LOI, which will enable PHAC to assess the eligibility of applicants to advance to the second stage of the application process.

In the second step, following the review of LOIs, eligible organizations will receive an Invitation to Submit a Funding Request (ISFR).  The ISFR will ask for more detailed information about the applicability of the proposed project. 

To obtain a copy of the LOI form, please contact: with the subject line “Letter of Intent – Distress Line Equity Fund”.

To be considered in the first round of solicitation, LOIs must be submitted by 5:00pm EDT on September 22, 2023, using PHAC’s Distress Line Equity Fund Letter of Intent Form.  

Applicants with late, ineligible, incomplete, or unsuccessful LOIs will not be invited to submit an ISFR.

Once a review of funding requests is complete, it is anticipated that PHAC will enter into funding agreements with successful applicants in late Fall 2023.

In the province of Quebec, some eligible organizations may have to comply with the applicable provisions of the Act Respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif (Act M-30) before an agreement for a selected project can be signed with PHAC. For more information about Act M-30 and to determine if your organization must comply with its applicable provisions, please consult the web site of the Secrétariat du Québec aux relations canadiennes (SQRC).

Should your project be selected for funding, PHAC will send the Grant Letter and related documents to the Quebec government department responsible for the application of Act M-30.

A second solicitation will take place in December 2023. Applicants who receive funding through this first round will not be eligible to apply to the second round.

Section 6: Contact us

To obtain additional information about this funding opportunity, please contact:

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