This is a step-by-step guide for completing your grant application for the PlanH Healthy Communities Grants. Two grant streams are available in 2024: Community Connectedness and Healthy Public Policy. Eligible applicants who are working in partnership with other sectors and who are interested in applying should read the application guidelines thoroughly. If you prefer, you can download a PDF version of this Application Guide web page here (the FAQ is online only).

1.1 Program Goal

Since 2012, PlanH has distributed more than 275 grants to Indigenous and local governments across British Columbia. The goal of the PlanH Program is to support Indigenous and local governments, including health authorities, to advance policies, programs and strategies aimed at improving health equity, and well-being for all.

For 2024, PlanH funds are supporting projects in two distinct streams:

  • Community Connectedness
  • Healthy Public Policy

New This Year: Applications in the Healthy Public Policy stream must align with one or more of the following six Population and Public Health Priorities – Best Start in Life, Health Impacts of Climate Change, Communicable Disease Prevention & Response, Non-communicable Disease & Injury Prevention, Prevention & Reduction of Substance-related Harms and Population Mental Health & Wellness. See Application (below) FAQ for more information.

BC Healthy Communities Society (BCHC) administers Healthy Communities Grants as part of the PlanH program, then designs and delivers the accompanying supports aimed at building local capacity. Working together with health authorities, local and Indigenous governments, and the Ministry of Health, PlanH supports British Columbia’s Population and Public Healthy Framework (in development).

Application Tip
Upstream projects have more impact.

Upstream interventions and strategies focus on improving fundamental social, physical and economic environments in order to decrease barriers and improve supports that allow people to achieve their full health potential.

Downstream interventions and strategies focus on providing equitable access to care and services to mitigate the negative impacts of unfair disadvantages on health.

1.2 Applicant Eligibility

The following governments, organizations and communities are eligible to apply:

  • First Nations Bands
  • First Nations Tribal Councils
  • Métis Chartered Communities
  • Municipalities
  • Regional Districts
  • Self-Governing First Nations

The following organizations are not eligible to apply as a primary applicant:

  • Community Groups
  • For-profit Groups
  • Health Authorities
  • Hospital Foundations
  • Individuals
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • School Districts

Applications must be complete and include a proposed budget and high-level workplan. Please be advised that projects that align with one or more of the six priorities, and advanced Truth, Rights & Reconciliation, health equity and anti-racism are more likely to be funded.

A letter of support from your regional health authority or the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) is recommended but not required. Written letters of support are suggested as a demonstration of existing partnerships. Please contact with any questions or to set up a call. 

Prior to completing an application, please ensure that you represent an Indigenous or local government, that you have read this application guide, and that your proposed activities are eligible for support.

1.3 Grant Streams Summary


OBJECTIVETo enhance a sense of belonging within local community.To foster the development of healthy public policy at the local community level.*
ADJUDICATION PERIODApplicants notified August 2024
PROJECTS STARTSeptember 1, 2024
FINAL REPORTS DUE October 1, 2025
* Healthy Public Policy Initiatives must align with one or more of the following six population and public health priorities: Best Start in Life, Health Impacts of Climate Change, Communicable Disease Prevention & Response, Non-communicable Disease & Injury Prevention, Reduction of Substance-related Harms or Mental Health & Wellness – see Application FAQ below for more information.

The PlanH Healthy Communities Grants support projects taking upstream action. Acting upstream means working to prevent poor health outcomes, rather than responding to them once they have already developed. An upstream focus addresses the social and structural determinants of health. 

Upstream interventions take place where we live, work, learn and play, and tackle causes of poor health such as social status, racism and wealth inequality. [Source: National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health.]


1.0 Eligibility Criteria and Requirements 

2.0 Eligible projects and activities 

3.0 Eligible Costs 

4.0 Multiple Applications, Future Funding, and Past PlanH Grant Recipients

5.0 Adjudication process

6.0 Reporting obligations and financial processes

7.0 Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) Additional Grants in the Healthy Public Policy Stream

Through a partnership with VCH, we are pleased to offer additional grants in the Healthy Public Policy Stream for projects in the VCH region.

8.0 Key Concepts

9.0 Healthy Communities Approach

10.0 Target Population

11.0 What is Upstream and Equitable Public Policy?

12.0 BCHC Supports

Appendix A – Alignment with Provincial Population and Public Health Priorities

The Ministry of Health is responsible for setting overall strategic direction for population and public health in British Columbia. Foundational to this work is the Ministry’s public health framework that builds a common vision and guiding principles for population and public health, and builds the groundwork for collaboration and collective action to improve the health of all in British Columbia. As part of supporting collective action, all Healthy Public Policy initiatives must be aligned with one or more of the following six Population and Public Health Priorities.

To support applications for the Healthy Public Policy stream, please see the list of Population and Public Health priorities and definitions. Also included are a few potential projects as examples under each priority. These are not meant to be exhaustive.

Population and Public Health PriorityDefinitionMaking the Connection to ProposalsExample Projects
Health Impacts of Climate ChangeAnticipate, assess, prevent and reduce the human health impacts and hazards from climate change, recognizing the interconnectedness of human health and the health of the environment. Support climate change adaptation, resiliency and mitigation activities that protect populations.How might your proposal help address issues related to the health impacts of climate change in your community?e.g., Creation of extreme temperature/weather action plans; development of policies to support expansion and protection of green spaces (e.g., tree canopies, re-wilding riparian / wetlands); promotion of community agriculture; public health education, outreach, and programming related to emergency and climate preparedness and response; intersectoral collaboration focused on the health impacts of climate change. 
Best Start in LifeBuild foundations of good health by reducing unfair disadvantages for pregnant people, children and families.How might your proposal support new or expecting families, children and/ or youth to have better health and wellness?e.g., Actions and initiatives that support expectant families, and foster the healthy development of children; development of policy and health promotion in childcare centers; creating connections for expectant and young families.
Communicable Disease Prevention and ResponseMitigate health and societal impacts from communicable diseases and prepare for any future pandemic.How might your proposal support your community in preventing or responding to communicable diseases?e.g., Engage community partners to review past communicable disease prevention campaign actions and practices with an equity lens; initiatives that involve multi-sectoral planning to ensure public campaigns are effective for diverse communities; emergency preparedness and response planning for future pandemics
Non-communicable Disease and Injury PreventionPrevent and reduce the impacts of non-communicable disease and injury.How might your proposal help members of your community avoid injuries and/ or promote safety?e.g., Improving accessibility of physical activity and physical literacy; access to recreational facilities; healthy food access; active transportation infrastructure.
Prevention and Reduction of Substance-related HarmsPrevent and reduce harms of legal and illegal psychoactive substances.How might your proposal help to minimize the harmful effects of substance use in your community?e.g., Bringing customized substance use education and awareness programs to community spaces; harm reduction; prevention programs and community partnerships to coordinate efforts for reducing harms related to substance use.
Population Mental Health and WellnessImprove the mental health and wellness of the population, including by cultivating connection to land, language, place and community.How might your proposal promote mental health and wellness in your community?e.g., Working with local community partners to improve local delivery of health promotion campaigns on mental wellness; programming to support outdoor spaces including community gardens and green spaces; cultural and heritage preservation efforts; community building events and activities to support community connectedness.
What is a Healthy Community?

The Healthy Communities approach recognizes that the built, environmental, social and economic environments play a large role in determining health and well-being. These factors, called the social determinants of health, are outside of personal control and outweigh the impact of individual choices. Healthy communities make it easier for people to lead healthy lives through community design, planning and health promotion.

2.1 Community Health & Well-being

In general, British Columbians are among the healthiest people in the world, but not everyone is able to enjoy equitable access to health. We know it’s not enough to encourage people to choose healthy behaviours if the social, economic and physical environments around them are not also designed to support health and well-being.

Evidence shows that between 60 and 75 per cent of factors influencing our health are outside the healthcare system. [Source: Canadian Medical Association. Health Equity and the Social Determinants of Health: A Role for the Medical Profession. 2012.] These influences—including transportation, available recreation options, supportive social networks, community design, and access to healthy food—exist in the communities where we live, work, learn and play.

Application Tip

Demonstrate multi-sectoral partnerships.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to demonstrate collaboration with a range of diverse community stakeholders and health authorities through letters of support or written partnership agreements.

Application Tip

Connect with us to talk about your project.

We strongly encourage you to contact us with any questions about the application process or your proposed project before the July 4, 2024 deadline. Reach us at to chat via email or schedule a call with us.

2.2 How Can Local and Indigenous Governments Create Healthier Communities?

The benefits of creating healthy communities extend beyond individuals to affect the greater community. These benefits can include increased physical activity, improved mental health, healthier diets, enhanced social cohesion and more.

Local and Indigenous governments can take action through:


Adopting strategic and land use planning practices that focus on promoting health through the design of healthier places, healthy community engagements and decision-making processes.


Including health and community well-being impact in the objectives, goal-setting, and strategies of Official Community Plans, Regional Health and Wellness plans, regional growth strategies, municipal plans and zoning by-laws.


Supporting and encouraging neighbourhood-level projects linked to a broader strategy for creating community health and well-being.


Building partnerships with health authorities, school districts, academic institutions and community organizations to develop collaborative strategies to improve community health and well-being.

3.1 Community Connectedness Stream

Community or social connectedness is the personal or subjective experience of feeling close to other people and having a sense of belonging within a community.3 It is an essential human need, but communities have been facing rising rates of loneliness and isolation for the last several years— even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.4

Canadians with a strong sense of community belonging are over twice as likely to report good health compared to those who have a weak or very weak sense of community.5

A connected community is a place where people know their neighbours, build relationships with others and contribute to the creation of social networks that last over time. This requires opportunities for people to gather in person or virtually, create connections and get involved. Connected communities support strong citizen engagement.

Local and Indigenous governments play a role in fostering social connectedness by creating strong social environments that help all community members thrive. Central to these strong social environments is a focus on equity—ensuring that the needs and voices of those less-heard-from in the community are prioritized at all stages of a project or initiative. See the resources in the Application Tip box (below) for more information on incorporating equity into your community connectedness efforts.

Examples of potential community connectedness projects eligible for PlanH funding:

  • Developing plans and strategies to create safe community spaces around food systems and food security
  • Including social connectedness as a part of the goal-setting, objectives and strategies in an Official Community Plan
  • Hosting a facilitator to lead an engagement process as part of program development or an Official Community Plan
  • Convening recreation and transportation providers to support the implementation of a dementia-friendly community program
  • Developing and implementing a physical activity program focusing on Indigenous youth
3 “Connectedness & Health: The Science of Social Connection.” Emma Seppala, PhD  4 “Growing old alone: The rise of social isolation as Canada ages.” Derek Miedema.  “Community belonging and health.” Nancy Ross.
3.2 Healthy Public Policy Stream

Public policies refer to strategic actions led by a public authority with the aim of increasing the presence of a phenomena, such as health and well-being, within the population.6

Healthy public policies take many forms across a community. They can improve the conditions under which people live by setting strategic priorities for housing, education, food security, child care and transportation services. In creating, adopting and evaluating a public policy though a health equity lens, Indigenous and local governments can create long-term positive impacts for community members.

For 2024, projects under the Healthy Public Policy Stream must align with one or more of the following: 

  • Best Start in Life 
  • Health Impacts of Climate Change 
  • Communicable Disease Prevention & Response
  • Non-communicable Disease & Injury Prevention
  • Prevention & Reduction of Substance-related Harms 
  • Population Mental Health & Wellness

Consideration of equity is foundational to Healthy Communities work (see below). Projects must clearly work toward addressing systemic inequities to be funded.

Application Tip

Incorporate equity into your project.

Equity is the fair distribution of opportunities, power and resources to meet the needs of all people, regardless of age, ability, gender or background.i Applying an equity lens means asking who will benefit from a policy, program, initiative or service, but also who may be excluded from the benefits and whyii.

i City for All Women, ‘Advancing Equity and Inclusion: A Guide for Municipalities’. ii PlanH, ‘Supporting Equity in Planning and Policy Action Guide’.

Examples of potential healthy public policy projects eligible for PlanH funding:

  • Developing an equity-informed policy framework, or integrating an equity lens into an existing policy framework
  • Engagement, implementation or evaluation processes for strengthening the equitability of a policy under development
  • Conducting a policy analysis from an equity perspective; looking through an equity lens in order to revise an existing policy or plan, such as a transportation plan, housing strategy, poverty reduction strategy or election bylaw
  • Initiating an exploratory study or report on a potential healthy public policy in your community, such as a feasibility study for an agricultural land trust or a report on the potential impact of a participatory budgeting process

Through a partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCH), we are pleased to be able to offer additional grants in the Healthy Public Policy Stream for projects in the VCH region. No additional application is required. Applicants should ensure they indicate they are within the VCH health region in their application.

6 “A Framework for Analyzing Public Policies: Practical Guide” National Collaborating Healthy Public Policy, 2012.

Application Deadline

Applications will be accepted until 11:59 pm Pacific Time on July 4, 2024. Applicants will automatically receive an email confirming the receipt of their application.

July 4, 2024
Funding Decision Notification

Successful applicants will receive notification in August 2024. Projects will start and finish between September 2024 and September 2025.

August 2024
4.1 How to Apply

The online application can be found at: The workplan budget template needed to complete the application can be downloaded here. You can also review the questions and prepare your answers before filling out this form. The questions are available here in Word Document format or PDF format.

4.2 Application Review

Projects will be assessed on the eligibility of applicant and proposed expenses, and connection between project activities and objectives stated in this application guide.  For the Healthy Public Policy stream, applications will also be assessed according to alignment with the six population and public health priorities. PlanH grants will not support work or projects that exploit any individual or groups.

Communities are encouraged to reach out to to learn about the grant-making process and decision criteria or to set up a call.

Application Tip

Connect with us to talk about your project.

We strongly encourage you to contact us with any questions about the application process or your proposed project before the April 30, 2023 deadline. Reach us at to chat via email or schedule a call with us.

4.3 Project Learning & Reflection Process

Our team will schedule an onboarding call with Healthy Public Policy grant recipients to introduce ourselves and determine how we can best support your team. While the Community Connectedness grant recipients may request an onboarding and/or strategy call at any time, these are not required.

Final reports

All grant recipients will be required to complete a final report at the end of the project. The questions in the final report are similar to the application form. Final report templates will be emailed to all successful grant recipients before September 2025. You can find examples of final reports from previous years on the PlanH Grants FAQ (above, see Reporting obligations and financial processes).

Our team is committed to incorporating culturally-safe practices into our evaluation approaches. We will strive to co-create relevant learning and reflection tools in partnership with communities whenever possible.

4.4 Budget & Workplan

A budget and workplan template is available with the application. Please save the file as “COMMUNITY NAME_ PlanH_WorkplanBudget_2024”. See Section 5 (below) for examples of how to complete these documents.

The project workplan is a high-level overview of proposed project milestones and responsibilities, and anticipated BCHC supports (see Section 4.5 a list of potential BCHC Staff Supports). We recognize processes may not be linear; however, this helps our team to better understand your project proposal.

The following costs and expenses are eligible:
  • Project staff (e.g. coordination, facilitation, partnership development and student-led research);
  • Communications (e.g. promotional materials, printing and design)
  • Indigenous government and local government and community partner expenses (e.g. venue, travel mileage, food, accommodation and child care) related to attending multi-sectoral partnership meetings and events
  • Data collection (e.g. asset mapping and environmental audits)
  • Honoraria to reduce barriers to volunteer participation; and
  • Capital costs (e.g. furniture/equipment) less than 40 per cent of the PlanH funded amount.
The following costs and expenses are NOT eligible:
  • Expenses for activities that have already taken place
  • Existing community programs, unless you are working to scale or expand proven impacts
  • Expenses associated with improving or accessing ‘downstream’ health services (see Application Tip above for an explanation of ‘upstream’ and ‘downstream’)
  • Entertainment or personal expenses
  • One-time events that are not part of a larger healthy community strategy (e.g. community dinners, festivals or community gardens)
  • Capital costs (e.g. furniture/equipment) over 40 per cent of the PlanH funded amount.

In addition, past PlanH grant recipients must have completed and fulfilled all past reporting requirements for all types of grant funds previously received.

4.5 BCHC Staff Supports

Healthy Communities Grants include a cash grant as well as in-kind support from BCHC staff. Support ranges from consultation by phone/email/video conference or possibly in-community collaboration. BCHC’s role in building community capacity may include (but is not limited to) the following actions:

  • Providing input on goal development and policy recommendations
  • Offering guidance on reflective planning practice
  • Supporting monitoring and guiding evaluation strategies including the development of indicators, data collection methods and evaluation frameworks
  • Researching a variety of topics areas ranging from processes (e.g. partnership development, data collection strategies) to content (e.g. housing, food systems, transportation planning, and revisions to Official Community Plans or Regional Health and Wellness plans
  • Developing in-person and online community engagement processes, including planning, design and facilitation
  • Connecting local and Indigenous governments to community-based organizations, other local and Indigenous governments and regional health authorities (e.g. introductions, convening meetings, bridge-building)
  • Reviewing documents and advising on best practices
  • Participating in advisory committees
  • Sharing resources developed by BC Healthy Communities and others
  • Designing and delivering online trainings and webinars specific to your needs
  • Planning and co-facilitating larger events, including regional forums.

A sample workplan and budget are displayed in the following pages. If you have any questions about how to develop a budget or workplan for your application, please get in touch with us at to learn more or to set up a call.

Sample Workplan
Project Initiation
and Relationship
Reach out to and coordinate with project partners to confirm project plan and outline how we will work togetherNovemberStephen WongConnecting with Regional Health Authority
Engagement and
Develop engagement objectives, strategies and communications plansJanuaryTaylor BrownReview of engagement
plan and comms materials
Host four virtual and two
in-person engagement sessions with partners
and stakeholders
MayAngela LeeFacilitation/technical
Share-back and
Best Practice
Summarize and report back on engagement session info. Research best/wise practice policy optionsJuly Sam GillNone
Action Planning Co-develop proposed action plan with key partners, prepare final report/action planSeptemberJo MartinParticipate as member
of review committee

Sample Community Connectedness Stream Budget


Part-time role for a community member, reporting to steering
$15,000 $2,000 $13,000
Quarterly meeting
(venue, refreshments)
$800 $0 $800
To support travel, internet,
or other costs
($50 x 50 participants)
Online and radio ads, etc. $700 $200 $500
DATA COLLECTION Design, printing, distribution, analysis
(two surveys)
$1,000 $300 $700

$20,000 $5,000 $15,000
IN-KIND $500

Sample Healthy Public Policy Stream Budget


Engagement with impacted
community members to
inform process design and
$15,000 $7,000 $8,000

Two half-day strategic
workshops (inter-department)
$4,000 $2,000 $2,000
Honoraria to support travel,
internet costs
($50 x 40 participants)
(Masks, hand sanitizer,
$1,000 $500$500
Staff time to analyze existing transportation/mobility
strategy (45 hours) and write
recommendations report
(45 hours)
$6,500 $2,500 $4,000
Staff time and
communications support
$4,000 $2,000 $2,000

$32,500 $15,000 $17,500
Our team is available to support you during the application process.

Please contact our team at

Questions? Please refer to the FAQs

The PlanH Healthy Communities Grants are administered by BC Healthy Communities Society on behalf of the PlanH program. PlanH, implemented by BC Healthy Communities Society, facilitates local government learning, partnership development and planning for healthier communities where we live, learn, work and play. In partnership with the Ministry of Health, PlanH supports the Province’s population and public health priorities.