PlanH 2020 Healthy Communities Grant Program FAQs

This page provides answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the PlanH 2020 Community Connectedness and Healthy Community Engagement grant streams. Applications are no longer being accepted for either of these streams. This page will be updated as new questions arise. 

Changes to the 2020 Community Connectedness & Healthy Community Engagement Grants in response to COVID-19

Q. What has changed about the two PlanH grant streams?

A. In response to the ongoing situation with COVID-19, the existing Social Connectedness stream has been retitled the Community Connectedness stream. The objective of this stream remains to enhance a sense of belonging within local communities. BC Healthy Communities now welcomes project proposals which support people to be connected even if they are physically distanced, and project proposals in which local governments start developing strategies and plans to address the mental health implications, of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note that projects do not have to address COVID-19, but is our hope that the Community Connectedness stream presents an opportunity for local governments to better address the social and emotional dimensions of community resilience in the wake of this public health emergency. We also extended the application deadlines for both the Community Connectedness (formerly Social Connectedness) and Healthy Community Engagement grant streams to July 15, 2020.

Q. My community has already submitted a grant application for the Social Connectedness stream. What will happen to my application?

A. If you still wish to submit your application as-is, you do not need to do anything. Your application will be adjudicated along with new applications, using an equity lens to prioritise projects. If you wish to withdraw or change your application, contact us at We will be contacting communities who have already submitted applications to speak with you about this.

Q. My community was in the process of submitting an application for the Social Connectedness stream when the new grant name (Community Connectedness) was announced. Can I still submit?

A. Yes, you absolutely can. The grant’s parameters have not changed; the objective of the Community Connectedness stream remains to enhance a sense of belonging within local communities. We have just renamed the grant to allow for communities to use it to respond to any loss of social connection caused by COVID-19 precautionary measures. Your application will be adjudicated along with new applications, using an equity lens to prioritise projects. If at any point you wish to withdraw or change your application, contact us at We will be contacting communities who have already started filling out applications in the Surveygizmo app to speak with you about this.

Q. My community has already submitted/was hoping to submit an application for the Healthy Community Engagement grant stream. What has changed about this stream?

A. Nothing has changed about this stream, except the deadline, which is now July 15, 2020. If, in light of current events, you would like to change or withdraw your application, contact us at We will be contacting communities who have already submitted applications or who have started filling out applications in the Surveygizmo app to speak with you about this.

Q. Our community’s proposed project was intended to start before August 1. Will we need to provide a revised timeline?

A. Not necessarily. We will be contacting communities who have already submitted applications or who have started filling out applications in the Surveygizmo app to speak to you about next steps.

Q. Based on current events and/or the new grant timelines, we will be unable to complete our project as proposed in our grant application. What should we do?

A. We understand that the situation is changing from day-to-day and that you may be unable to complete your project as proposed. We will be contacting communities who have already submitted applications or who have started filling out applications in the Surveygizmo app to speak to you about next steps. In order to allow for more flexibility, the new deadline for applications is July 15, 2020.

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

A. This is a great question with a really important answer. 

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.

Q. 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 social distancing. Do you have any ideas or resources?

A. 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

For more ideas and resources visit the following links:

2020 Community Connectedness & Healthy Community Engagement Grants

Q: Can communities apply for both of the 2020 PlanH Healthy Community Grants (the Community Connectedness Grant and the Healthy Community Engagement Grant)?

A: Yes, communities can submit an application to both calls for proposals. However, depending on the volume of applications, communities are not as likely to receive funding for both areas.

Q: Can an applicant apply for more than one activity?

A: Yes, local governments 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.

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

A: Previous grant recipients can apply; however, a final report for the earlier activities must be submitted before applying for an additional grant. Applicants must also demonstrate how the new activities differ from and/or build on the work completed as part of earlier activities.

Q: Is this opportunity only available for municipalities or can non-profits apply independently?

A: A local government (Self-Governing First Nation, First Nations Band, First Nations Tribal Council, Métis Chartered Community, Electoral District, Regional District, or Municipality) must be the primary applicant. If you are partnering with a local government for your project and the project meets the funding guidelines, the local government can apply on behalf of the team.

Q: Are these grants available to entrepreneurs?

A: No. Please see answer above.

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

A: Yes, PlanH will hold back a small amount of funding (20%) pending completion of the final report. This will be outlined in the confirmation letter and your Memorandum of Understanding that will accompany the grant.

Q: Will I need to submit a final report?

A: Yes, if you are successful in receiving a PlanH Healthy Communities Grant, you will need to provide a check-in report at the mid-point 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

Q: Will the grants be divided equally amongst the Health Authority regions?

A: Consideration will be given to geographic equity, while still giving 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.

Q: Are unincorporated communities eligible for the funds?

A: In the case of unincorporated communities, the regional district would be the party that applies for the funding. There may be exceptions for communities that do not fall under a regional district area. In those cases, please contact us at or 250-590-1845 to confirm eligibility before applying. 

Q: Will you accept multiple applications from regional districts?

A: We are supportive of multiple applications from regional districts, especially if the applications support different electoral areas. Each electoral area may submit an application, or multiple for separate activities; however, it is unlikely that more than one project will be funded from each electoral area. For more details please see response to the Question Can an applicant apply for more than one activity.

Q: What is an example of a “target population”?

A: 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.

Q: Who is eligible to apply for the PlanH Healthy Communities Grants?

A: The following organizations are eligible to apply for the Grant:

Self-Governing First Nations;
First Nations Bands;
First Nations Tribal Councils;
Métis Chartered Communities;
Electoral Districts;
Regional Districts; and

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

For-profit groups;
School Districts;
Hospital Foundations;
Community Groups/Organizations; and
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 local government level in order to increase the health and well-being of B.C. citizens and communities.

Q: 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 government and build the capacity of local government for the future. PlanH may be able to assist you in finding in-kind support for some consultation processes.

Examples of Eligible Consultant Costs:

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

Examples of Ineligible Consultant Costs:

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

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

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

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

A: 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 have already taken place in the past.

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

A: While in-person meetings are not possible, communities are encouraged to contact BC Healthy Communities Society by telephone or email to discuss potential ideas prior to submitting an application. For further information, please contact or 250-590-1845.

Q: What if there are changes to my project? 

A: To propose any changes to your work plan, timeline or budget, please contact to review the changes.

Q: Can we use this funding for capital costs?

A: This funding can be used towards capital costs that amount to under 40% of the project budget. More budget details can be found in Section 3.4 of the application guide.

Q: 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?

A: 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 the application guide (Section 3.5) for more details on the kinds of coaching supports that could be available to you.

Q: Are First Nations eligible to apply for these grants?

A: Yes, these grants are for local governments including First Nations Bands, First Nations Tribal Councils, Métis Chartered Communities, Regional Districts, Electoral Districts and Municipalities. We encourage a diversity of communities (rural, urban, First Nations, etc) to apply. Please see the application guide (Section 1.2) for more information on applicant eligibility.

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

A: 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.

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

A: 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 government. Applications will not be assessed based on governmental department.

Q: Will this program be available next year?

A: Unfortunately we don’t know at this time. The 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 e-news.

Q: Do you require a local government resolution from City Council in order to apply?

A: No, we do not require a resolution from City Council to apply, although indications that there is council buy-in may strengthen your application.

Q: We need time to submit a staff report to council for their approval and that is a 4-6 week process. Any chance of the deadline being extended?

A: At this time we are not able to offer an extension because it will affect our adjudication process and timelines for the grants themselves. 

Q: Is matching funding from local government and other partners required for these grants?

A: Matching funds or in-kind support is not required although 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. 

Q: What can grant funds can be spent on?

A: Please see the Application Guide (Section 3.4) for a list of eligible/ineligible expenses.

Q: What are the criteria for assessing applications?

A: All applications will be screened for eligibility as defined in the grant application guide. Applications will be assessed by PlanH’s adjudication committee on the connection between project activities and objectives, as well as proposed expenses. Projects which demonstrate equity, collaboration, sustainability, and plans for reflection and evaluation will be favoured. 

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