Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund (MHP-IF) - Action and Knowledge on the Determinants of Health among People and Communities in Canada

This funding opportunity is now closed. For more information on the program, refer to Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund.

Invitation to Submit a Letter of Intent (LOI)

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)'s Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund (MHP-IF) is pleased to invite eligible organizations to submit Letters of Intent (LOI) for Phase 1 of funding for projects which promote population mental health through the delivery, evaluation and promotion of innovative population health interventions.

View descriptions of currently funded projects under the previous iteration of the MHP-IF, the Innovation Strategy.

The full application process for this Invitation to Submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) consists of two stages. The first stage is the submission of an LOI which outlines the proposed project. The second stage involves inviting applicants with successful LOIs to submit a full proposal.

The deadline to submit a LOI is November 26, 2018 at 12:00PM (noon) EST. No extensions will be granted.

How to apply:

To obtain a copy of the LOI Template and Background Document, as well as additional information about this solicitation, contact: The Program name (Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund) must be included in the email subject line. All messages received will be acknowledged to the return email specified in the LOI application within two (2) business days.

On this page:

Section 1: Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund Overview and Approach

1.1 Introduction

The MHP-IF funds population health intervention research (PHIR)1 in the field of mental health promotion using a socio-ecological model that acknowledges multiple factors influencing mental health and wellbeing. The MHP-IF focuses on interventions that build protective factors and reduce risk factors to improve outcomes at the individual and population levels during the early years and for children, youth, young adults and other at-risk groups.

While many promising interventions exist in the field of mental health promotion, more rigorous research is required to understand which interventions are most effective. The MHP-IF will build evidence by investing in promising population health interventions that address mental health promotion across multiple levels and populations.

Phase 1 of the MHP-IF will focus on:

  1. Intervention programming and delivery that aims to promote protective factors and mitigate risk factors at the individual level; and,
  2. Influencing broader determinants of mental health at the policy level (e.g., early childhood development, the built environment and education policies/programs) to reduce health inequities over the long term.

1.2 Purpose

The MHP-IF is a national program that funds the testing and delivery of promising population health interventions in the area of mental health promotion with an emphasis on increasing health equity. The Program's aim is to improve mental health for individuals and communities where interventions are delivered and to reduce systemic barriers for population mental health in Canada. Knowledge gained from the evaluation of each community-based intervention is intended to enhance Canadian public health policy and practice.

1.3 Objectives

  1. To support the development, adaptation, implementation and evaluation of innovative and promising population health interventions that promote mental health through the reduction of risk factors, the promotion of protective factors and by addressing the underlying determinants of health across settings and populations in Canada.
  2. To support multi-level and multi-sectoral partnerships to effect upstream change within priority determinants of health in Canada.
  3. To scale up successfully tested population health interventions to benefit more people and foster sustainable policy and program development in the field of mental health promotion for diverse population and communities.
  4. To support the development and execution of knowledge development and exchange (KDE), including a PHIR agenda, specific to mental health outcomes and lessons learned through the evaluation of innovative mental health promotion interventions in Canada.

1.4 Strategic Grantmaking Model and Phased Approach to Funding

As a strategic grantmaking initiative, the MHP-IF engages in many connected activities to improve population health and reduce health inequities in Canada.

The four components of the MHP-IF model include:

  1. Grants and contributions (G&Cs)
  2. Partnership development
  3. Knowledge development and exchange
  4. Mobilization of resources, methods and tools

The MHP-IF provides funding for up to nine years, across three competitive funding phases. In Phase 1, applicants are assessed on certain requirements as early predictors of their capacity to move on to Phases 2 and 3. Note: This solicitation is for Phase 1 funding only.

The three funding phases of the MHP-IF are characterized by:

Phase 1 (18 months)

  • Initial design, development and testing
  • Initial delivery
  • Partnership development

Phase 2 (Up to four years)

  • Full implementation with partner organizations to deliver the intervention across multiple jurisdictions
  • Adaptation for different populations in new communities
  • Evaluation

Phase 3 (Three years)

  • Scale up to expand the project
  • Implementation in new communities to reach additional individuals
  • System-wide impact for sustainability

1.5 Funding for Interventions Working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Communities

The impact of colonization on First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada has had a devastating impact on health and wellness. As a result, First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada face specific challenges and have unique experiences with the social determinants of health. Building and improving health and wellbeing is complex and the MHP-IF responds with a phased approach guided by principles of social innovation, multi-level and multi-sectoral action, health equity, evidence-based action and cultural safety.

In order to bolster access to funding for mental health promotion, community organizations and research teams led by First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and organizations with strong partnerships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities (including demonstrated collaboration) will be prioritized for funding under the MHP-IF.

Applicants are encouraged to reference socio-ecological models or frameworks that best meet the needs of their population (e.g., First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Model2, Social Determinants of Inuit Health3 or other culturally appropriate models/frameworks). In addition, various research approaches will be considered including research methodologies used by First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.

Section 2: Funding Details and Requirements

2.1 Funding Requirements

Projects funded through this opportunity are required to:

  • Target the intervention for the primary audience of: children (0-5 years of age); school age children (6-12 years of age); youth (13-19 years of age); young adults (20-24 years of age); and/or primary caregivers of children and youth.
  • Develop an intervention based on best practices, evidence and/or strong theoretical underpinnings that are most appropriate for the intended population, including the use of participatory processes and culturally safe practices and approaches.
  • Address and modify multiple risk and protective factors and their underlying determinants of health to promote mental health (see Appendix A of the Background Document).
  • Highlight health equity considerations and engage specific populations such as First Nations, Inuit, Métis, newcomers (including refugees), LGBTQ2+ or other groups experiencing socio-economic risk factors, as applicable.
  • Work at multiple levels (individual, family, community and broader structural and system levels) to address the social determinants of health that promote mental health.
  • Build and maintain partnerships across multiple sectors and jurisdictions (e.g., school districts and health authorities) for sustained impact.
  • Use a PHIR approach, including the development and execution of a supporting research agenda based on routine evaluation of the intervention to understand impact and demonstrate alignment with MHP-IF program-level outcomes as outlined in the MHP-IF Logic Model (see Appendix B of the Background Document).
  • Promote knowledge gained from the funded projects to inform future policy and program development.

2.2 Funding Assets

Special consideration will be given to projects that:

  • Target population groups susceptible to mental health inequities (e.g., low-income families, immigrants and refugees, First Nations, Inuit, Métis, LGBTQ2+, people living with disabilities and people with other socio-economic risk factors).
  • Train practitioners, professionals, administrators, policy makers and/or decision makers working in areas that directly contribute to the mental health of children and youth in Canada (in addition to working with a primary audience).
  • Demonstrate early readiness for scale up and sustainability.

2.3 Funding Amount, Duration and Type

Applicants may request an annual budget of up to $65K for the 2019/20 fiscal year and $250K for the 2020/21 fiscal year. Note: PHAC's fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31. Funding is expected to begin in September 2019.

Note: PHAC anticipates supporting 15 to 20 projects through this solicitation.

Funding will be provided through a Contribution Agreement which is a legal agreement to provide funding in instalments each fiscal year (for a specified term) to an organization for agreed-upon activities, as described in an approved funding proposal. The funded organization is subject to financial monitoring by PHAC and is required to submit performance reporting and undertake an evaluation.

2.4 Additional Sources of Funding

During the full proposal stage, applicants will be assessed on their ability to leverage in-kind and financial contributions that will contribute to the proposed project's development, implementation and associated research. A specific matched funding ratio is not required. Note: This information is not required at the LOI stage.

Section 3: Application Process

The full application process for this funding invitation will consist of two stages. The first stage is the submission of an LOI which outlines the proposed project. Only applicants with LOIs deemed to best fit the overall goals of the funding program will move on to the second stage of the application process and will be invited to submit a full proposal. Applicants with ineligible, incomplete or unsuccessful LOI submissions will not be invited to submit a full proposal.

LOIs must be completed using PHAC's LOI Template. To obtain a copy of the LOI Template and complete application materials or for additional information about this solicitation, please contact: The Program name (Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund) must be included in the email subject line.

Disclaimer: PHAC is under no obligation to enter into a funding agreement as a result of this Invitation to Submit an LOI. Having a successful LOI is not a commitment on the part of PHAC to fund a full proposal.


  • reject any submission received in response to this invitation;
  • accept any submission in whole or in part; and
  • cancel and/or re-issue this solicitation at any time.

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

3.1 Letter of Intent Deadline and Submission Process

The submission deadline for this LOI is November 26, 2018 at 12:00PM (noon) EST. No extensions will be granted. Funding will be subject to budgetary and project considerations.

LOI submissions are to be no longer than twelve (12) pages (Template only), using font type Arial, size 11 and single-spaced.

LOIs must be submitted to PHAC electronically, in either MS Word or PDF format, to: The Program name (Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund) must be included in the email subject line. Requests for information and/or applications will be acknowledged to the return email specified in the LOI application within two (2) business days.

Assessment criteria are outlined in each section of the LOI Template. LOI submissions will be assessed using these criteria.

3.2 Full Proposal Requirements

Applicants with successful LOIs will be invited to submit a full proposal that elaborates on the project proposed in the LOI. Full proposals must be completed using PHAC's template, which will be shared with applicants at the time of invitation. Deadlines and submission instructions for the full proposal will also be provided at that time.

Section 4: Supporting Information for Completing the Letter of Intent Template

4.1 Population Health Intervention Research, Evaluation and Knowledge Development and Exchange

PHIR and evaluation capacity and expertise will be assessed using the following criteria:

  • The proposed method(s) to assess change in risk and protective factors are sound and appropriate for project activities, settings and audiences.
  • Intended project outcomes are clearly described and align with the MHP-IF Logic Model and Outcome Table in Appendix B of the Background Document.
  • Knowledge development and exchange activities are relevant to intended audiences, are clearly described and promote project outcomes.

Note: Various approaches to research will be considered including appropriate research methodologies for First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.

4.2 Guiding Principles of Funding

The following principles should be applied when completing the LOI Template:

Social Innovation

Novel, efficient and sustainable interventions that are responsive to the communities they serve, adaptable to different contexts and continuously identify and leverage opportunities to better serve communities and impact the broader social policy arena. The MHP-IF supports social innovation by fostering interventions that meet these criteria for design, delivery and scale up.

Multi-level and Multi-sectoral Action

To effectively address public health priorities, complex mental health issues and the social determinants of health that span all of society, the MHP-IF supports collaborative action taken across multiple levels, e.g. socio-ecological (individual, family, community and structural), jurisdictional, organizational and geographical levels, and across multiple sectors (e.g., between private, not-for-profit and other sectors both within and outside of the health sector).

Health Equity

Health equity is fostered by the absence of unfair/unjust, systematic and avoidable differences in health status or social determinants of health between population groups. The MHP-IF promotes a health equity approach that reduces inequalities and increases access to opportunities and conditions conducive to health for all. Heightened efforts to address the needs of populations that are at higher risk for poor health outcomes can help reduce health inequities between different population groups.


The Government of Canada is focused on improved outcomes for Canadians by striving to make evidence-based decisions anchored in meaningful data and indicators. The MHP-IF supports interventions rooted in evidence and incorporates the application of relevant research to support the design, delivery and scale up of proven interventions. In addition, funded projects are supported to produce knowledge that can further bolster evidence-based decision making at multiple levels.

Cultural Safety

Promoting and improving cultural safety involves working across ethnic and other diverse factors to help systems and organizations ensure that service environments are safe for all, regardless of culture. MHP-IF funded interventions possess knowledge and understanding of cultural factors relevant to their project and continually integrate cultural safety into intervention and project design, implementation and evaluation, including intervention research methods.

4.3 Applicant Capacity and Collaboration

Applicants must demonstrate that they can provide the following organizational capacities and expertise to the project:

  • Confirmed access to the primary audience(s) for program delivery (e.g., a demonstrated partnership with a school board or individual school for school-based programs).
  • Applicant partnership experience that clearly demonstrates capacity to develop strong partnerships involving multiple stakeholders, across sectors and/or jurisdictions.

Section 5: Eligibility

5.1 Eligible Recipients

Applicants must clearly demonstrate how their funding request meets the eligibility criteria.

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

  • Canadian not-for-profit voluntary organizations and corporations
  • Unincorporated groups, societies and coalitions
  • Organizations and institutions supported by provincial and territorial governments (e.g., regional health authorities, schools, post-secondary institutions, etc.)
  • Indigenous organizations working with First Nations, Inuit or Métis peoples, including Modern Treaty Rights Holders

Non-Canadian recipients may be considered.

Note: Organizations previously funded by PHAC's Innovation Strategy are eligible to apply; however, the MHP-IF will not fund the continuation of a previous intervention funded by the Innovation Strategy.

5.2 Eligible Expenses

Eligible costs include such expenses as:

  • Personnel
  • Travel and accommodations
  • Materials
  • Equipment
  • Rent and utilities
  • Evaluation/dissemination
  • "Other" costs related to the approved project

A detailed budget will be required as part of the full proposal in the second stage of the application process.

No project expenses may be incurred prior to the acceptance of the Grant Agreement or Contribution Agreement by all parties.

5.3 Ineligible Activities and Expenses

The following activities and expenses are not eligible for funding:

  • Pure research in any discipline
  • Provision of services that are the responsibility of other levels of government
  • Costs of ongoing activities for the organization
  • Stand-alone activities (e.g., conferences, symposia, workshops, audio visual production or website/smartphone application development and maintenance). Such activities are considered stand-alone when they are unrelated to the delivery, evaluation and dissemination of the intervention.
  • Capital costs such as the purchase of land, buildings or vehicles
  • Ongoing operational support or overhead/administrative fees expressed as a percentage of ongoing activities of an organization
  • Unidentified miscellaneous costs
  • Travel and hospitality expenses that exceed the National Joint Council rates
  • Rental charges for space and computer use when already owned by the recipient organization
  • Membership fees

Section 6: Other Considerations

6.1 Official Language Requirements

The Government of Canada is committed to enhancing the vitality of English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada (i.e., Francophones living outside the province of Quebec and Anglophones living in the province of Quebec) by 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.

6.2 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 LOI submission. For additional information regarding GBA+, consult the Status of Women Canada's website:

6.3 Research Ethics Approval

All projects that involve research with humans must be approved by a research ethics board that adheres to the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans. In addition, the project lead should consult the Tri-Council Policy Statement website before beginning the research portion of the project. Research is defined as an activity designed to test a hypothesis or answer a specific research question, permit conclusions to be drawn and extend knowledge through the use of scientific methods and standardized protocols, systematic collection or analysis of data, or other types of inquiry.

Section 7: Contact Us

To obtain additional information about this solicitation contact:, indicating 'Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund' in the email subject line.

Section 8: Glossary

Contribution: A type of transfer payment subject to performance conditions specified in a funding agreement, such as a Contribution Agreement. A contribution is to be accounted for and is subject to audit.

Health equity: The absence of unfair/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 at higher risk for poor health outcomes can help reduce health inequities among different population groups. Considerations of equity include addressing race, ethnicity, migration history, sex, gender, sexual orientation, as well as factors such as education, income, language, geography and disability.

Innovation Strategy (IS): Originating from PHAC's Population Health Fund, the IS is the former iteration of the MHP-IF. In 2009, PHAC engaged in a priority-setting exercise with other federal departments, provincial and territorial ministries, key non-governmental organizations and stakeholders to address the complex nature of public health promotion and its multifaceted approach by involving multi-level and complementary partners. It was determined that the IS would fund evidence-based population health interventions in two priority areas: Equipping Canadians - Mental Health throughout Life and Achieving Healthier Weights in Canada's Communities from 2009-2020.

Intervention: A set of actions and practical strategies that aims to bring about positive change in individuals, communities or systems that produces identifiable and measurable outcomes.

Knowledge development and exchange (KDE): KDE includes activities such as the development and dissemination of materials, including population health intervention research (PHIR) which are formalized with a knowledge translation plan aimed at systematically sharing lessons learned and actively impacting policy and future program design across jurisdictions and sectors, in Canada and internationally.

Mental health: Refers to a person's state of psychological and emotional wellbeing. It is a necessary resource for living a healthy life and a main factor in overall health. It does not mean the same thing as mental illness; however, poor mental health can lead to mental and physical illness. Good/positive mental health allows a person to feel, think and act in ways that help them enjoy life and cope with its challenges. Mental health can be positively or negatively influenced by life experiences, social relationships, physical health and social determinants of health.

Mental health promotion: Mental health promotion aims to strengthen the ability of individuals, families and communities to cope with stressful events that happen in their everyday lives, by increasing resilience and protective factors, reducing risk factors and reducing health inequities.

Population health intervention: A policy or program designed to reduce health inequity in a population. It does this by addressing the social, economic and environmental factors that determine health. Examples of interventions that address such underlying factors might include: a program to help new mothers learn strategies to help them cope with post-partum depression or policies to provide more nutritious food choices in convenience stores located in low-income neighbourhoods.

Population health intervention research (PHIR): The use of scientific methods to produce knowledge about policy and program interventions that operate within or outside of the health sector and have the potential to impact health at the population level. The intervention research approach focuses on building knowledge on how the intervention process brings about change and the context in which the intervention worked best and for which populations.

Program: For the purposes of this document, the Program is the Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund (MHP-IF). The Program includes the set of funded projects working toward the common outcomes highlighted in the Logic Model (Appendix B of Background Document).

Project: A set of actions and strategies delivered by the recipient that include not only the intervention, but also KDE, partnership development and evaluation.

Scale up: A deliberate effort to increase the reach and impact of successfully tested population health promotion interventions to benefit more people and to foster sustainable policy/program development across diverse populations and communities.

Social determinants of health: The broad range of social, economic and environmental factors that relate to an individual's place in society and that determine individual and population health. They include, but are not limited to the following priority determinants as defined by the Public Health Agency of Canada4, the Assembly of First Nations2 and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami3:

Public Health Agency of Canada

  • Income and social status
  • Employment and working conditions
  • Education and literacy
  • Childhood experiences
  • Physical environments
  • Social supports and coping skills
  • Healthy behaviours
  • Access to health services
  • Biology and genetic endowment
  • Gender
  • Culture

The Assembly of First Nations

  • Economic development
  • Employment
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Health care
  • Housing
  • Land and resources
  • Language, heritage and culture
  • Justice
  • Education and lifelong learning
  • Social services
  • Urban and rural

The Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

  • Quality of early child development
  • Food security
  • Housing
  • Mental wellness
  • Availability of health services
  • Safety and security
  • Income distribution
  • Education
  • Livelihoods
  • Culture and language
  • Environment

Social ecological model: A theory-based framework for understanding the multifaceted and interactive effects of personal and environmental factors that determine behaviours and health. The model seeks to identify behavioural and organizational leverage points and intermediaries for health promotion within organizations.

PHIR involves the use of scientific methods to produce knowledge about policy and program interventions that operate within or outside of the health sector and have the potential to impact health at the population level. Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Population Health Intervention Research Initiative for Canada. Ottawa (ON): 2012. Available from:

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Assembly of First Nations and Health Canada. First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework. Ottawa (ON): 2015. Available from:

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy. Ottawa (ON): ITK; 2016. Page 19, Figure 6. Available from:

Return to footnote 3 referrer

Public Health Agency of Canada. Social determinants of health and health inequalities. Ottawa (ON): 2018. Available from:

Return to footnote 4 referrer

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