Invitation to submit a letter of intent: Enhanced Surveillance for Chronic Disease Program

The invitation to submit a letter of intent is now closed.

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Description of funding program

The Public Health Agency of Canada invites eligible organizations to submit letters of intent (LOI) for the Enhanced Surveillance for Chronic Disease Program (ESCDP).

The ESCDP provides grants and contributions funding to organizations to enhance their capacity for public health chronic disease and injury surveillance activities in order to:

  • address persistent public health surveillance evidence gaps
  • support the development of a robust evidence base on chronic diseases and conditions, injury, problematic substance use, and their risk factors in Canada

For this funding program, surveillance means the tracking of health events and determinants through the:

  • ongoing collection of data
  • integration, analysis and interpretation of data
  • dissemination of information to those who can benefit by using the data

Surveillance should provide relevant information for public health action.

This solicitation is seeking projects that will experiment and test innovative tools and technologies, or to pilot new approaches to conduct health surveillance for chronic diseases and conditions, injury, problematic substance use, and/or their risk factors (e.g., physical inactivity, sedentary behaviour, inadequate sleep, unhealthy diet, poor mental health, etc.) in Canada.

This focus is particularly important given the constantly evolving public health context and the accelerating pace of technological change, which present both new opportunities and new risks to how we collect, analyze, use and share public health data and how Canadians consume their information.


Potential projects would explore the use of new technologies, tools and/or approaches to collect, use and/or disseminate data for public health action.

Examples include:

  • technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, etc.)
  • tools (e.g., data visualization, linkages, platforms, apps, GIS mapping, etc.)
  • approaches (e.g., alternatives to traditional surveys, application of new methodologies, etc.)

Letter of intent applications


Funding under the ESCDP is for the development of single proposals submitted by eligible organizations for time-limited projects. Anticipated results from the project must have potential for pan-Canadian applicability. The total budget for each project must not exceed $1,000,000 and the funding duration must be between 12 months (1 year) and 36 months (3 years).

The application process consists of 2 stages.

  1. The first stage is the submission of an LOI.
    • Ineligible and/or incomplete LOIs will be screened out and applicants will be notified.
  2. The second stage is the development of a full proposal.
    • Organizations with LOIs deemed to best fit the overall objectives of the program will then be invited to submit a full proposal.
    • The proposals will be reviewed by officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada to determine relevance to program objectives, feasibility and quality of the proposed work.
    • The advice of external reviewers may also be sought.
      • External reviewers may be asked to comment on quality, innovation and fit with work in provinces, territories and the community.

On the basis of the review, officials may recommend full proposals to the President of the Public Health Agency of Canada for funding approval.

This solicitation is for projects that will start on or after April 1, 2020.


The focus would be on one or a combination of the following areas.

Priority 1: Key populations

Persistent gaps remain in chronic disease and/or risk factor surveillance related to specific key populations, which are not effectively captured through current surveys or traditional methodologies.

Projects under this priority would explore the use of new technologies, tools and/or approaches to collect, use and/or disseminate data with a focus on key populations, where data is lacking, such as:

  • LGBTQ+
  • homeless
  • ethnic minorities
  • seniors (i.e., 65 and over)
  • rural and remote populations
  • low socio-economic populations
  • English/French minority language populations
  • other populations where data are limited

Priority 2: Built environment

The built environment (e.g., buildings, roads, public transit systems, parks) influences population health and chronic disease risk factors. The built environment is a priority of the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada. As she stated in her 2017 Annual Report, "[r]ates of type II diabetes and other chronic diseases in Canada could be reduced by seamlessly integrating healthy living into our daily lives which can be achieved, in part, by designing and redesigning our communities."

The built environment is an emerging area of interest in which the evidence base is still in the process of being established. Given the limited evidence-base, successful approaches to public health surveillance related to the built environment should be multi-sectoral in nature, and may lend themselves to non-traditional surveillance approaches.

Projects under this priority would explore the use of new technologies, tools and/or approaches to collect, use and/or disseminate data related to the built environment as it relates to health behaviours in the following areas:

  • active transportation
  • access to and/or use of parks and recreational facilities

Proposed projects should increase our understanding of these elements at both the national and local population levels. Examples include, but are not limited to, a focus on:

  • Canadians' active and sedentary travel opportunities or patterns
  • the quality and quantity of parks and recreation facilities in Canada and Canadians' access to these resources

Submission instructions

To obtain a copy of the letter of intent template, please contact us at

This solicitation will be open for an 8-week period, closing on September 25, 2019.

The letter of intent will consist of 2 parts.

Part A

Applicants are asked to provide a 1-page cover letter about their organization. This letter must include the following organizational information:

  • mandate of the organization
  • incorporation/registration information, and complete contact information for the project lead within the organization (can be included as an attachment)
  • a description of its capacity to deliver the project on time and within the specified budget
    • include the required infrastructure, organizational and financial capacity credibility, relevant skills, experience working with the target populations, and ability to achieve and demonstrate project results

Part B

A project summary (2,300 word count maximum) which includes the:

  • title of the proposed project
  • project focus (key population(s) and/or built environment)
  • target population
  • project duration
  • amount of funding requested from the Public Health Agency of Canada to a maximum of $1,000,000
  • overall objective of the project and how it relates to the priorities and essential criteria of the solicitation
  • activities that the applicant will undertake to meet the objectives
  • partners with whom the applicant will work on the project
  • expected results of the project

Where to submit your letter of intent

LOIs must be submitted via email to Applications will be acknowledged by email. Please ensure your email address is included in the LOI application form.


The essential criteria for the solicitation are outlined below. The LOI must provide sufficient information regarding each essential criterion so that a clear overview of all aspects of the proposed project is provided.

Eligible applicant

Project description

  • Overview aligns with the solicitation priorities.
  • Goal/objectives are clear, realistic and achievable.
  • Activities are well described and align with project objectives.
  • Target populations are clearly identified.
  • Geographic locations where activities will take place are identified.


  • Objectives are relevant and can potentially contribute to national-level surveillance data (national applicability).


  • Includes outreach to relevant partners and networks and explains how they will be engaged.
  • Strengthen multi-sectoral collaboration.

Knowledge transfer activities

  • Knowledge products and/or activities are clearly described in terms of type and intended audience(s).

Performance measurement and evaluation

  • Description of intended results is clearly outlined.


  • Approach for sustainability post-Public Health Agency of Canada funding is clearly described.

Asset criteria

Open data (where appropriate)

  • Applicants are encouraged to develop projects where results are freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control where appropriate.
  • This is considered an asset criteria recognizing that there are legitimate reasons for which an open data approach may not be appropriate in certain contexts.
    • A justification would need to be provided in instances where open data is not being used.

Applicants who will be invited to submit a full proposal will have to expand upon each of the essential criteria.


Eligible applicants

Eligible applicants include:

  • for profit organizations
  • unincorporated groups, societies and coalitions
  • Canadian not-for-profit voluntary organizations and corporations
  • individuals deemed capable of conducting population health activities
  • provincial, territorial, regional, and municipal governments and agencies
  • organizations and institutions supported by provincial and territorial governments (regional health authorities, schools, post-secondary institutions, etc.)

Eligible expenditures

Expenses directly related to approved projects are defined in the contribution agreement. Eligible costs include such expenses as:

  • rent
  • personnel
  • materials and supplies
  • travel and accommodation
  • costs of services and equipment
  • evaluation and dissemination costs related to the approved project

No project expenses may be incurred prior to signing the Contribution Agreement by all parties.

Ineligible activities and expenses

The following activities and expenses are ineligible:

  • profit-making activities
  • pure research in any discipline
  • membership in professional associations
  • direct delivery of care and treatment services
  • contingency allowances or other miscellaneous fees
  • equipment (other than incidental as described above)
  • creation and/or maintenance of websites as a sole activity
  • direct services which are part of other governments' jurisdiction
  • capital costs, such as the purchase of land, buildings, renovation of space or purchase of vehicles
  • conferences, symposia, and workshops as stand-alone projects (this does not exclude training workshops)
  • costs related to ongoing (core) activities of your organization or a percentage of the overhead or administrative fee of the organization

Official language requirements

The funding recipient must clearly identify the target population of the project and, if applicable, take the necessary measures to respect the spirit and intent of the Official Languages Act to communicate with the public in the official language (i.e., English or French) of their choice, as well as supporting the vitality and development of official language minority communities.

The Government of Canada is committed to:

  • enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and supporting and assisting their development
  • fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society

As such, all project materials (e.g., resources, reports, announcements, etc.) for public distribution must be produced in both official languages, and project activities must be carried out in the target population's official language of choice.

Official language minority communities include Francophones living outside the Province of Quebec and Anglophones within the Province of Quebec.

For additional information, visit the Official Languages Act website.


Recent amendments to the Lobbying Act and its regulations 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 or contact the office directly.

Funding decisions

The Public Health Agency of Canada is under no obligation to enter into a funding agreement as a result of this invitation to submit an LOI. A successful LOI is not a commitment on the part of the Public Health Agency of Canada to fund a subsequent full proposal.

All applicants will be notified by email of the results following the end of the review process. Only recommended letters of intent will be invited to submit a full proposal.

Please note that decisions related to funding for applicants made by the Public Health Agency of Canada are final. Unsuccessful applicants are invited to reapply through future solicitations.

Contact us

To obtain additional information about this invitation to submit an LOI, please contact

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