Applying for funding under the Harm Reduction Fund (HRF)
As part of the Government of Canada's efforts to address sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI) in Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) invests $7M annually under the Harm Reduction Fund (HRF) to support community-based programming to reduce the incidence of HIV and hepatitis C being spread through the sharing of drug-use equipment. The solicitation for the HRF is now closed. The deadline to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) was January 29, 2021 at 3pm EST.
On this page
- What is harm reduction?
- Funding objectives
- Expected outcomes of STBBI community investments
- Key populations
- Funding duration and amounts
- How to apply
What is harm reduction?
Harm reduction refers to a set of practices that aim to reduce the harms associated with substance use. Harm reduction:
- is about meeting people where they are at and supporting them to work towards their goals
- aims to decrease adverse health, social and economic outcomes, such as disease and injury that may result from an individual's actions
- represents policies, strategies, services and practices, which aim to assist people to live safer and healthier lives
- acknowledges that each person is different, has different goals and requires different supports and strategies
- is not focused on the reduction of substance use or abstinence as a precursor to receive respect, compassion or services
The Harm Reduction Fund seeks to ensure that:
- community-based efforts reach key populations, including people unaware of their HIV/hepatitis C status, and link them to testing, prevention, treatment and care
- communities design and implement evidence-based front-line projects to prevent new and reoccurring infections
- high impact interventions are brought to scale so that more people benefit from them
- community-based efforts reduce stigma toward populations disproportionately affected by STBBI, including people living with HIV or hepatitis C
Expected outcomes of STBBI community investments
By 2025, projects supported through the Harm Reduction Fund will:
- increase the knowledge of effective evidence-based HIV, hepatitis C or other sexually transmitted infections (STI) prevention measures among key populations and target audiences
- strengthen the capacity (skills and abilities) of key populations and target audiences to prevent infections and to improve health outcomes related to STBBI
- strengthen the capacity (skills and abilities) of target audiences to provide culturally safe and stigma-free STBBI prevention, testing, treatment and care services
By 2027, projects supported through the Harm Reduction Fund will:
- increase uptake of effective evidence-based HIV, hepatitis C or other STI prevention measures among key populations
- improve access to effective STBBI prevention, testing, treatment and ongoing care, and support for key populations
- improve the cultural safety and stigma-free nature of STBBI prevention, testing, treatment and ongoing care, and support services provided by target audiences
The key population under the HRF is people who use and share inhalation or injection drug-use equipment. Applicants should tailor their proposed activities by taking into consideration the culture, values and practices of people who use and share inhalation or injection drug-use equipment.
An individual's identity consists of multiple, intersecting factors such as race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, immigration status and sexual orientation. Therefore, applicants are also encouraged to consider intersecting identities for the key population, allowing for more tailored approaches and greater impact.
Funding duration and amounts
Organizations can apply for funding for a minimum of three (3) to a maximum of five (5) years, depending on the scope of the project.
Front-line projects will be eligible to receive a maximum of $250,000 annually for up to 3 years. This represents double the funding previously allowable under the HRF. Projects that are regional or national in scope and seek to address broader systemic issues are eligible for up to 5 years of funding and can apply for more funding with a strong rationale.
The following Canadian groups and institutions are eligible to receive project funding:
- not-for-profit, registered as incorporated, voluntary organizations or corporations
- not-for-profit, unincorporated organizations, societies or coalitions
- post-secondary institutions seeking to undertake community-based programming, but not research
- provincial and territorial health providers including Regional Health Authorities and Local Public Health Services
- Indigenous organizations
- Indigenous organizations are those governed by and primarily serving First Nations, Inuit or Métis Peoples
Applicants can submit an LOI as a single organization or an LOI as part of a community alliance, or both. However, it must be clear how the activities presented in each LOI are separate from each other.
When applying as a single organization applicants must demonstrate the following in the LOI:
- A minimum two (2) years of experience in the prevention and control of HIV and hepatitis C, using a harm reduction approach, among people who share drug-use equipment; in a manner that actively and meaningfully engages those individuals.
Organizations with less than two (2) years of experience in the above-mentioned criteria who would like to apply for funding are required to apply as part of a community alliance.
Organizations funded under HRF cannot serve as third-party funders for other organizations, unless these organizations are identified as contractors and are responsible for delivering specific activities or outputs. They may instead consider applying as a community alliance.
A community alliance is created when two or more organizations choose to work together to achieve the objectives of a single project. These projects can be front-line (local), regional or national in scope. To establish a community alliance, at least one member organization must have a minimum of two (2) years of experience.
There is no maximum number of organizations that can make up an alliance; however, each organization within the alliance must play a strategic role for which they are seeking funding.
Community alliances are encouraged to seek additional partnerships with other organizations in order to help the project achieve its objectives. Unlike alliance members, project partners will not receive funding.
Eligible project scope
The scope of a project can be local, regional, or national. Geographically speaking, local front-line projects are generally limited to a small area such as a neighbourhood, city or town, but could be broader (for example, Northern Manitoba). Regional and national projects cover a larger geographic area that may or may not have fixed boundaries. For example, regional projects can include an entire province or territory, or the northern regions of several provinces. A national project is defined as crossing at least three (3) provinces or territories, and having potential applicability across Canada.
Funding can be used to support the following eligible activities:
- Front-line prevention activities. This includes:
- Development or dissemination of educational resources to promote safer drug-use for people who share drug use equipment
- Peer outreach activities to encourage harm reduction facilities/services use
- Peer-navigation activities to assist people who use drugs with the scheduling of appointments, referrals, and access to testing, treatment and care
- Capacity-building of health and service providers. This includes:
- Development of tools and guidelines for health and other providers to promote stigma-free and safe environments to reduce access barriers encountered by people who use drugs
- Skills building and knowledge mobilization activities
- Interventions that seek to address systemic barriers for people who use drugs by improving policies, practices, procedures, or behaviours that impede access to services and that result in increased risk of exposure to STBBI.
- Scaling up of effective programs or interventions. This includes:
- One-time support to pilot the scaling-up of successful programs or interventions on a larger geographical territory, provided that it complements provincial or territorial approaches and can be sustained without federal funding
How to Apply
The solicitation for the HRF is currently closed. The deadline to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) was January 29, 2021 at 3pm EST.
For more information on HRF please contact: email@example.com
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