PlanH Healthy Communities Grant Program FAQs

This page provides answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about PlanH's current grant cycle. For information on past grant cycles, please contact

2021 Community Connectedness & Healthy Public Policy Grants

How has COVID-19 impacted the PlanH grant streams?

We understand that proposed activities—particularly public engagement and social gatherings—require a degree of flexibility in order to adhere to changing public health guidelines and ensure safety in your community. 

The objective of the Community Connectedness stream is to enhance a sense of belonging within local communities during this challenging time. Projects do not have to directly address COVID-19. BC Healthy Communities welcomes proposals which support people to be connected while maintaining physical distance, as well as proposals for strategies and plans that address the ongoing mental health implications of COVID as we hopefully move into a post-pandemic phase later this year.

Why is the issue of community connectedness important right now? Shouldn’t Indigenous and local governments be solely focused on providing essential services?

Yes. In this time of crisis, the maintenance of essential services is vital to the health and well-being of community members. However, isolations and quarantines have been found to have serious impacts to the resiliency of communities, with symptoms including depression, poor concentration and indecisiveness, deteriorating work performance and reluctance to work, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Concerningly, many studies report these symptoms to be long-term, especially if the period of isolation is long. If unchecked, this may result in considerable social and economic impacts for communities. Further, long-term isolation and loneliness can have a devastating impact on individual and community health, with health impacts on par with well-established mortality risk factors such as physical inactivity, obesity, and lack of access to health care. 

It’s important for community members to have hope and joy in a time of crisis. We’re encouraging communities to be proactive in responding to these impacts by developing community connectedness strategies and/or projects to support resiliency and connection during the peak of this pandemic, as well as afterwards as community members seek to return to their normal daily routines.

What is the role of healthy public policy during the remainder of this pandemic and beyond?

Healthy public policies are strategic actions led by a public authority with the aim of increasing health and well-being within the population. There’s no doubt that this pandemic continues to challenge communities to find resourceful ways, directed by policy, of promoting health and well-being. It is also clear that COVID-19 has amplified, rather than created, many of the health and well-being concerns communities encounter. Even in the face of COVID-19, our Healthy Public Policy grant stream encourages communities to create or amend policies by looking upstream in order to create environments that encourage good health long after the pandemic.

In order for a public policy to be a healthy public policy, it is also essential that it be equitable. It is well-documented that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted groups in our communities. Governments need to stay vigilant in ensuring that policies are constantly evaluated and incremental changes are made so that inequitable consequences are remedied. In creating, adopting and evaluating a public policy through a health equity lens, local and Indigenous governments can create long-term positive impacts for all community members.

What is the scope of the HPP policy stream?

We recognize that our grants are small in comparison to what it takes to update, evaluate, or create a new policy from start to finish. The PlanH grants can be used to supplement existing projects or initiatives, support the inclusion of an equity lens and commitment to equity through things like honorariums and formal recognition of time and effort required to participate in engagement activities etc. It can also be used to support a single phase of a project and/or be stacked with other funding sources.

Our community is interested in applying for the Community Connectedness stream, but we are struggling to come up with ideas of how to facilitate connection in a time of physical distancing. Do you have any ideas or resources?

We do! Communities could use these funds for activities such as:

  • Hosting a series of virtual conversations around given topics 
  • Setting up a virtual Human Library
  • Taking a recurring connection event (conversation classes, bridge games, etc) online
  • Providing safe opportunities for connection for those groups who are most disproportionately impacted by the social effects of COVID-19, such as racialized people, older adults, children or those who have precarious housing or are homeless
  • Embarking on a communications campaign to encourage community members to find safe ways to connect to one another
  • Exploring how to respectfully connect with the land and open spaces by collaborating with First Nations, Indigenous and settler communities
  • Developing a Community Connection Strategy to help reconnect community members once the peak of COVID-19 passes

Our community is interested in applying for the Healthy Public Policy stream, but we are struggling to understand what upstream and equitable public policy looks like. Do you have any ideas or resources?

Absolutely! There’s a list of healthy public policies other communities have adopted on the Healthy Public Policy page of the PlanH website. Beyond the policies in these examples, we highly encourage local and Indigenous governments to focus on improving the equitability of policy in your community’s established priority areas. Communities can do this by:

  • Developing an equity-informed policy framework, or integrating an equity lens into an existing policy framework
  • Embarking on 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

Can communities apply for both of the 2021 PlanH Healthy Community Grants (the Community Connectedness Grant and the Healthy Public Policy Grant)?

Yes. Communities can submit an application to both streams. However, depending on the volume of applications, communities are unlikely to receive funding for both areas.

Can an applicant apply for more than one activity?

Yes. Applicants may submit multiple, separate applications for separate activities. For example, if you wish to fund three activities, you must submit three separate applications. However, it is unlikely that more than one project will be funded.

We have received funding from previous streams of PlanH funding. Are we exempt from applying again?

Previous grant recipients can apply; however, all final reporting for earlier activities must have been completed and submitted before applicants will be considered for a new granting cycle. Applicants must also demonstrate how the new activities differ from and/or build on the work completed as part of earlier activities.

Is this opportunity only available for local and Indigenous governments or can non-profits apply independently?

A local government or Indigenous government (self-governing First Nation, First Nations Band, First Nations Tribal Council, Métis Chartered Community) must be the primary applicant.

I understand that the local government must be the primary applicant, but my local government does not currently have the capacity to conduct this work. Is it okay for a non-profit/social planning council to lead the project work?

Yes. However, we are looking for meaningful partnership and involvement from the local government. Consider how this work might lead to or inform local government policymaking in the future. Is the local government willing to champion this work moving forward? Is this work aligned with strategic priorities or high level policy goals of the local government?

Are these grants available to entrepreneurs?

No. Please see the answer above.

Is there a holdback on a portion of the funds we will receive?

Yes. BC Healthy Communities will hold back 20 per cent of the total grant, pending completion of the final report. More information will be provided to successful applicants in the Funding Agreement.

Will I need to submit a final report?

Yes. If you are successful in receiving a PlanH Healthy Communities grant, you will need to complete a baseline report at the start of the project, and a final report upon completion of your project. Grantees may complete their final report once all received funds have been spent and all activities outlined in the project work plan which are not tied to holdback funds have been completed. If you anticipate not being able to submit a final report on time for any reason, please contact

Will the grants be divided equally amongst the health authority regions?

While we do aim for a balanced representation from communities across the province, we also give priority to the overall quality of each application. The grants will be divided amongst the health authority regions, although it is not certain that each health authority region will have the same number of successful applicants.

Are unincorporated communities eligible for the funds?

Yes. The regional district would be the party that applies for funding. There may be exceptions for communities that do not fall under a regional district area. In those cases, please contact us at to confirm eligibility before applying. 

Will you accept multiple applications from regional districts?

Yes. We are supportive of multiple applications from regional districts; however, it is unlikely that more than one project which benefits the same community/area would be funded. For more details please see response to the question Can an applicant apply for more than one activity.

What is an example of a “target population”?

We know that not all populations in a community experience equal health status, and a range of factors and community conditions such as social, economic and physical environments can influence the health and well-being of different sub-populations. Each community is unique and may have identified particular populations for which targeted action is a priority to improve their health status. For example, target populations may include seniors, Indigenous populations, immigrants and newcomers, youth and children, low-income individuals, LGBTQ, and/or those with mental health challenges.

Who is eligible to apply for PlanH grants?

The following organizations are eligible to apply for the grant:

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

The following organizations are not eligible to apply for the grant:

  • Individuals
  • For-profit groups
  • Non-profit groups
  • School districts
  • Hospital foundations
  • Community groups/organizations
  • Health authorities

BC Healthy Communities encourages partnerships and suggests that ineligible organizations contact eligible organizations to discuss working together. The focus of this fund is to support learning, leadership and partnership at a governance level in order to increase the health and well-being of B.C. citizens and communities.

Can the PlanH Healthy Communities grants be used to fund consultant fees?

A: The grant can be used to fund consultant fees; however, communities must demonstrate how the consultant will engage local or Indigenous government and build the capacity of the government for the future. PlanH grants also include in-kind support from BC Healthy Communities staff, which may meet some projected needs for consulting services. Please contact us at for more information on the types of support we can provide.

Examples of Eligible Consultant Costs:

  • The facilitation of events or workshops that build the local or Indigenous government capacity and partnerships.
  • The delivery of a process to assist the local or Indigenous government in planning for health and being.

Examples of Ineligible Consultant Costs:

  • The production of a report without further engagement or discussion with local or Indigenous government staff or council. 

Can the grants be used to fund partnership work that is ongoing?

Yes. However, applicants should show how the grant will deepen and strengthen the existing partnership work.

Can the grants be used to fund work that has already taken place?

No. The grant funds are only eligible for upcoming, unfinished work. The work can be something that is ongoing and doesn’t have to be a new project or program, but cannot be used for already-completed work or expenses that have already been incurred.

Is it possible to meet with BC Healthy Communities prior to submitting an application to ensure that the application has the greatest chance of success?

While in-person meetings are not possible, communities are encouraged to contact BC Healthy Communities Society to discuss potential ideas prior to submitting an application. For further information, please contact

What if there are changes to my project?

To propose any changes to your work plan, timeline or budget, please contact us at

Can we use this funding for capital costs?

This funding can be used towards capital costs that amount to under 40 per cent of the project budget. More budget details can be found in section 4.4 of the application guide.

The grant materials mention that successful applicants will receive access to resources/supports from BC Healthy Communities. What is included in this portion of the grant?

These supports are in-kind customized support from our facilitation team at BC Healthy Communities; therefore, they are not paid out in cash. These supports will be personalized to the unique needs of each group and will be provided on a case-by-case basis. Please see section 4.5 of the application guide for more details on the kinds of supports available.

Are First Nations eligible to apply for these grants?

Yes. These grants are for communities including First Nations Bands, First Nations Tribal Councils, Métis Chartered Communities. We encourage a diversity of communities (rural, urban, Indigenous, etc) to apply. Please see section 1.2 of the application guide for more information on applicant eligibility.

What are the chances of a small community getting a grant? We can't generally compete with larger communities and organizations.

PlanH has a strong history of providing grants to rural and small communities. We will be considering equity issues such as community size and geographic region when reviewing applications. We encourage all communities that meet the funding criteria for these grants to apply.

What would be the best governmental department to manage this type of project?

Applications will not be assessed based on governmental department. A number of different departments (Planning, Sustainability, Community Services, etc.) could be working on this as it will likely integrate components of many governmental departments, such as transportation, land use, recreation, housing, etc. This will depend on the capacity and structure of your local or Indigenous government. 

Will this program be available next year?

Not necessarily. PlanH funding is renewed on an annual basis and the grant focus areas shift according to emerging issues and funding. The best way to stay up-to-date on news about the PlanH program is to sign up for our newsletter.

Do you require a resolution from the City Council or Chief and Council in order to apply?

No. We do not require a resolution from City Council or Chief and Council to apply, although indications that there is council buy-in may strengthen your application.

We need time to submit a staff report to council for their approval and that is a four to six week process. Any chance of the deadline being extended?

No. The application window for PlanH grants is set at a minimum of six weeks in order to address this potential issue. In order to maintain our grant timelines, we are unable to offer extensions.

Is matching funding from Indigenous or local government and other partners required for these grants?

Matching funds or in-kind support is not required; however, it is encouraged in order to better support proposed projects. We understand that $5,000 or $15,000 may not be enough to support all the work required for projects, but this funding can support a component of the project and could help in getting plans underway in the right direction. 

What can grant funds can be spent on?

Please see the section 4.4 of the applcation guide for a list of eligible/ineligible expenses.

What are the criteria for assessing applications?

All applications will be screened for eligibility as defined in the grant application guide. Applications will be assessed by our adjudication committee on the connection between project activities and objectives, as well as proposed expenses. Projects which demonstrate equity, collaboration, sustainability and an upstream approach will be favoured.