Health Promotion Program - Suicide Prevention: Supporting the implementation and sustainability of a Pan-Canadian Suicide Prevention Service

This invitation to submit an application is now closed.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) invites applicants to submit a funding request to support the implementation and sustainability of a pan-Canadian suicide prevention service that will provide people in Canada with access to 24/7/365 bilingual crisis support from trained responders via voice, text or chat capabilities. This initiative will leverage and build on existing services and experiences of partners dedicated to suicide prevention.

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Suicide is a complex public health issue that affects Canadians of all ages and backgrounds (e.g. gender, ethnicities, socioeconomic status). Based on the most recent Statistics Canada data (2016), approximately 11 people die by suicide every day. This is approximately 4,000 deaths by suicide each year.

Suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in Canada, with higher rates among some populations (e.g. men, some First Nations communities and Inuit across Inuit Nunangat). Suicide is the second leading cause of death among children, youth and young adults (10 to 34 years of age) after accidents. Approximately 1/3 of suicide deaths are among people 45-59 years of age.

Current statistics underestimate the prevalence and impact of suicide. Many more people are affected by suicide (thoughts, attempt, and loss). Self-reporting data indicates that LGBTQ2 youth may experience suicide thoughts and behaviours disproportionally compared to their non-LGBTQ2 peers. Some people are directly or indirectly impacted by suicide (familial, occupational, and intergenerational). Many factors (risk and protective) play a role in suicide and its prevention.

Effective suicide prevention requires efforts across the continuum of prevention, intervention, and postvention (bereavement support). Prevention works to build protective factors, promote mental health and reduce risk factors that could lead to suicide (e.g. stigma reduction, mental health literacy). Intervention focusses on how best to respond when someone is considering suicide or has attempted suicide (e.g. crisis line services, emergency services). Postvention involves providing follow-up support (e.g. peer support, bereavement counseling) for people affected by the loss or experience of suicide to reduce the risk of future crises.

The effectiveness of high-quality suicide prevention support is well established. Internationally, national suicide prevention services that prioritize suicide crisis calls and de-escalate crisis have been found to prevent self-harm and suicide attempts. Crisis line support is a short-term response to an immediate situation. It focuses on providing people with assistance, non-judgemental support and resources in their time of need to ensure their safety. Crisis lines are a widely implemented best practice to reduce immediate suicide risk for people seeking support. Crisis support involves initial assessment, de-escalation, connecting with emergency services as required, safety planning, and follow-up referrals, based on the needs of the person reaching out for help.


Through this invitation to submit a funding request (ISFR), PHAC is soliciting proposals that will support a pan-Canadian suicide prevention service by:

Key elements of the invitation to submit a funding request

The ISFR will assess applicant capacity regarding the following key elements:

Proposals will be assessed against specific criteria outlined in the Funding Request Form. It is important that applicants demonstrate that their proposal meets all of the assessment criteria specified in each section.

In addition to the assessment criteria, proposals will also be assessed on other requirements such as respecting and working with Indigenous peoples, communities and organizations, being trauma-informed, evidence-based, etc. Descriptions of these other requirements and considerations are in the application documents.

Proposals that meet the eligibility requirements for funding (screened in) will be further assessed by representatives of PHAC and external reviewers with relevant expertise and experience related to this ISFR (e.g., technology, service delivery, representing perspectives of people with lived experience).

Funding and eligibility

Funding from this ISFR will be provided through a Contribution Agreement between PHAC and a funding recipient for a 5-year funding period (2019/20 to 2023/24). A Contribution Agreement 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.

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

For this ISFR, applicants may request an annual budget of up to $4,200,000 per fiscal year. PHAC's fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31.

The funded organization will be responsible for oversight of the initiative and may enter into third-party funding arrangements with partners in the development, delivery and sustainability of the initiative. The funded organization is subject to financial monitoring by PHAC and is required to submit regular and ad-hoc reporting on the initiative, including information on performance and evaluation.

Applicants must demonstrate in their proposals their organizational and financial capacity to be accountable for all aspects of the initiative, including the establishment of an adequate governance and accountability structure that will advise and provide input for decision making. A comprehensive work plan with clear timelines, deliverables and milestones, including details on the rollout of service delivery, technology and operations, as well as ongoing performance measurement, risk mitigation, promotion and marketing, and evaluation are also required.

PHAC anticipates supporting one funding recipient through this ISFR process.

Eligible funding recipients

Applicants must fall under the following categories to be considered for funding:

Closing date and submission process

The closing date for submitting a funding request through this ISFR is October 31, 2019, at 3:00 pm (EDT). Applicants must submit their proposal on or before this date. There will be no extension to this date under any circumstance.

Applicants must complete the required Funding Request Form and the Detailed Budget and Justification documents as their full proposal and submit to PHAC electronically, in either MS Word or PDF format, and Excel for the Budget and Justification document to: The email subject line must read ISFR Proposal for Suicide Prevention. All proposals will receive acknowledgement by a message from PHAC to the return email specified by the applicant in the ISFR Template within 10 business days.

PHAC is under no obligation to enter into a funding agreement resulting from the ISFR. PHAC also reserves the right to the following:

PHAC will not reimburse an applicant for costs incurred in the preparation and/or submission of a funding request in response to this ISFR.

Contact us

If you wish to obtain the application and support documents, or have any questions regarding the solicitation process, please contact the Centre for Grants and Contributions via email, at

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