Dementia Strategic Fund: Awareness raising initiatives

This invitation to submit an application is now closed.

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Budget 2019 announced $50 million over 5 years to support the implementation of key elements of Canada’s first national dementia strategy, A Dementia Strategy for Canada: Together We Aspire, by:

Most of Budget 2019 funding ($40M) will be administered through the Dementia Strategic Fund (DSF), which will support a variety of activities, including the development and implementation of:

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is pleased to invite eligible organizations to submit applications for targeted awareness raising initiatives, including how to:


Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a set of symptoms affecting brain function that are caused by neurodegenerative and vascular diseases or injuries. It is characterized by a decline in cognitive abilities. These abilities can include:

Dementia can also affect mood and behaviour.

It is estimated that more than 432,000 Canadians over the age of 65 were living with diagnosed dementia in Canada in 2016/17, two-thirds of whom were women. Age is an important risk factor for dementia and as Canada’s population ages, the number of Canadians living with dementia is expected to rise. Nine seniors are diagnosed every hour with dementia, and the risk of being diagnosed with dementia doubles with every 5-year increase in age, between the ages of 65 and 84. Statistics show that 0.8% of Canadians aged 65-69 years are diagnosed with dementia compared to 31.5% of those aged 90 years and older.

On June 17, 2019, the Government of Canada released Canada’s first national dementia strategy: A Dementia Strategy for Canada - Together We Aspire. The vision of the strategy is “a Canada in which all people living with dementia and caregivers are valued and supported, quality of life is optimized, and dementia is prevented, well understood and effectively treated”. Each of the strategy’s 3 national objectives provides a broad scope for initiatives and activities. Under each national objective, areas of focus are identified where greater efforts are required to make progress on dementia in Canada. The 3 national objectives are:

  1. prevent dementia
  2. advance therapies and find a cure
  3. improve the quality of life of people living with dementia and caregivers

The strategy responds to the National Strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias Act which was passed in June 2017.


To support the implementation of the strategy, efforts to raise awareness of dementia through the new DSF will focus on multiple objectives:

Applicants for funding to conduct an awareness initiative must select at least one of the objectives mentioned above.

Level of education, hearing loss, hypertension, obesity, smoking, depression, physical inactivity, social isolation and diabetes are factors that, if acted on, could reduce the risk of developing dementia and prevent approximately 35% of cases of dementia. Other risk factors currently being explored include alcohol use, traumatic brain injury, air and noise pollution, diet and changes in cholesterol.

For those living with dementia, stigma creates increased risk for abuse and neglect, and can result in barriers to care and support. In addition, people living with dementia and dementia caregivers can face numerous challenges accessing services, participating in their community and continuing to work while still able.


An important consideration during the assessment of a letter of intent (LOI) will be the inclusion of people living with dementia and/or dementia caregivers in the development, design and implementation of awareness initiatives that focus on stigma reduction and dementia-inclusive communities. In addition to including the perspectives of people with lived experience, the assessment of LOIs will include consideration of their alignment with the principles outlined below.


Effective messaging on dementia and dementia-inclusiveness is enhanced through multi-sectoral responses, involving shared leadership among, for example, players such as:

Projects are encouraged to be informed by, and/or benefit from, in-kind and/or financial support provided by partners from various sectors.

Health equity

Funding applicants must demonstrate how equity, including consideration of sex and gender, as well as other identity factors (such as LGBTQ2+, age, education, geography, and income, for example), have been considered in the design, implementation and evaluation of the proposed project.

Human rights

Funding applicants align awareness initiatives with Canada’s international and domestic commitments on dementia and human rights, and the principle of “respect human rights” as described in the national dementia strategy, where possible.


Funding applicants show that the proposed program or initiative is based on or informed by current best evidence and knowledge, including traditional knowledge and/or lived experience.


Projects focus on tracking progress and capturing lessons learned. Funding applications must include robust project evaluation plans to assess the outcomes and impact of planned activities.

Culturally safe and culturally appropriate

Cultural sensitivity is an essential element in designing and delivering dementia awareness initiatives, as cultural contexts and values have a strong influence on social and health-related behaviours. Applicants must demonstrate how their proposed project would take into consideration the cultural context of the populations that they are targeting.

Letter of intent submission process and deadline

The full application process consists of 2 stages. The first stage is the submission of an LOI, which will outline the proposed project. The purpose of the LOI is to identify projects that have the potential for submission of a proposal. Applicants with LOIs deemed to best fit the overall requirements of the DSF will move onto the second stage of the application process and will receive an invitation to submit a funding request (ISFR). In the ISFR, applicants will be required to complete and submit a proposal that elaborates on the project described in their LOI. The ISFR will ask for more detailed information on the applicability of the proposed project as well as the applicant's capacity to successfully conduct the proposed work.

It is anticipated that via this 2-step process, up to 15 projects could ultimately be selected through the first intake. A second intake of new projects through a similar process is expected to take place within 2 years of the completion of the first intake.

The LOI is a competitive process and all submissions are subject to screening and review. LOIs will be screened to ensure eligibility and completeness. Not all organizations that submit an LOI will be invited to submit a proposal for funding. For example, applicants with late, ineligible, incomplete or unsuccessful LOI submissions will not receive an ISFR. Applicants whose LOIs are successful will receive an ISFR to elaborate on the project proposed in the LOI.

The LOI submission includes a cover letter and PHAC's LOI template. Applicants must respect the character limit associated with each section. The maximum length for an LOI is 12 pages, single-spaced, in size 12 font. The required format is Microsoft Word.

To obtain a copy of the template, or for additional information about this call for proposals, please contact us at

The deadline for submitting an LOI is 5 pm (PT) February 24, 2020. Funding will be subject to budgetary and project considerations.

Applications will be acknowledged by email. Please ensure that your email address is included in your LOI application.

Other considerations in the development of the letter of intent

Official language requirements

The Government of Canada is committed to enhancing the vitality of English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada, 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 identity factors such as age, education, language, geography, culture and income in the development of policies and programs. Applicants are expected to incorporate these considerations into their submission.

Working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities

The impact of colonization on First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada has had a devastating impact on health and wellness. As a result, First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada face specific challenges and have unique experiences with the social determinants of health. Organizations led by First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada, and organizations with strong partnerships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities (including demonstrated collaboration) are encouraged to submit LOIs.


Recent amendments to the Lobbying Act have broadened the definition of lobbying. We encourage applicants to review the revised act and regulations to ensure compliance. For more information, refer to the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada website.

Applicant capacity

Applicants are to provide a 1-page cover letter describing the organization. The letter must be signed by the president/chair of the board of directors or equivalent and include the following information:

Funding details and requirements

PHAC is anticipating funding up to 15 projects. The recipient will receive up to $375,000 in fiscal year 2020/21 (beginning in late summer/early fall 2020) and up to $341,000 in fiscal year 2021/22. The total maximum funding available over fiscal years 2020/21 and 2021/22 is $716,000.

Projects funded under the DSF may be invited to share information with the Dementia Community Investment (DCI)’s Knowledge Hub, which is a closed community of practice for community-based projects funded by the DCI.


The following types of organizations are eligible for funding:

Partnerships between organizations with complementary areas of expertise are strongly encouraged, as are projects involving partnerships that span more than one province/territory.

Only Canadian organizations may apply for funding under this solicitation process.

Eligible expenses

Eligible costs include such expenses as:


Travel and accommodation

Note: Kilometric rates, meals and other travel related expenses must not exceed those allowed under the National Joint Council Travel Directive.

Materials and supplies


Note: Cost effectiveness should be considered when deciding whether to purchase or rent.


Utilities (if not included in the rental agreement)

Performance measurement/evaluation


No project expenses may be incurred prior to the signing of a contribution agreement by all parties.

Ineligible activities and expenses

The following activities and expenses are not eligible for funding:


Travel and accommodation




Contact us

To obtain additional information about this invitation to submit an LOI, please contact us at You may also access the frequently asked questions.

NOTE: PHAC is under no obligation to enter into a funding agreement as a result of this invitation to submit an LOI.

PHAC also reserves the right to:

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

Additional resources

For further information on the risk factors for dementia, you may wish to refer to the following publications:

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