We are not currently accepting grant applications for 2024. Information on this page is for 2023.

This is a step-by-step guide for completing your grant application for the PlanH Healthy Communities Grants. Two grant streams are available in 2023: 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.

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 2023, PlanH funds are supporting projects in two distinct streams: Community Connectedness and Healthy Public Policy.

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 the Province’s Health Promotion Strategy.

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 government organizations 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.

A letter of support from your regional health authority or the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) is recommended but not required. Please be advised that projects demonstrating multi-sectoral collaboration are more likely to be funded. Written letters of support are suggested as a demonstration of existing partnerships. Please contact grants@bchealthycommunities.ca 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.

Eligible Applicants 

Eligible projects and activities 

Deadline and adjudication process 

Multiple applications and applicants 

Reporting obligations and financial processes

Grant Streams

Key concepts and definitions

What is 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.2 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 April 30, 2023 deadline. Reach us at grants@bchealthycommunities.ca 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 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.

Consideration of equity is foundational to Healthy Communities work (see below). Projects must clearly work toward addressing systemic inequities in order 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 April 30, 2023. Applicants will automatically receive an email confirming the receipt of their application.

April 30, 2023
Funding Decision Notification

Successful applicants will receive notification in June. Projects will start and finish between September 2023 and September 2024.

June 2023
4.1 How to Apply

Please note: this is not the application form. The online application and workplan/budget template can be found at: https://planh.ca/training-support/funding.

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. PlanH grants will not support work or projects that exploit any individual or groups.

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

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 grants@bchealthycommunities.ca 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 in September. You can find examples of final reports from previous years on the PlanH Grants FAQ.

Our team is committed to incorporating culturallysafe 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_2023”. See Section 5 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 participations
  • 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 Page 4 of this application guide 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 grants@bchealthycommunities.ca 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 20 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 grants@bchealthycommunities.ca

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 health promotion strategy.