Resilience & Safety Grants

Collaboration and partnership can be transformative to improving the health of individuals and communities. In order to expand collaborative opportunities, for the second year, Island Health is allocating up to $1 million for resilience and safety grants aimed at helping improve mental wellbeing, mitigating the harms associated with the unregulated drug supply and building youth resilience to challenging life events.

Island Health is seeking Expressions of Interest from not-for-profit organizations, local governments, Indigenous Nations and local businesses for initiatives that keep your community safe and healthy. Grants of up to $50,000 are available to launch new and innovative initiatives in communities across the Island Health region.

The resilience and safety grants are for new and innovative projects/programs. New may mean new to Island Health, new to a community within Island Health, or expanding to reach a different population/demographic within Island Health, often as a result of working with a new partner. The resilience and safety grants are not intended to fund on-going or existing programs. 

Please submit your idea(s) for an initiative that keeps your community safe and healthy under one of the following areas:

Focus area one: Improving workplace resilience and individual safety related to the toxic drug crisis 

The toxic drug (overdose) crisis continues to escalate since identified as a public health emergency in 2016. BC continues to sustain terrible loss of life, and Vancouver Island is significantly impacted. Island Health and our partners provide life-saving supports to people who use drugs; however, we are not reaching everyone who is at risk. 

The people most impacted by the toxic drug crisis are men, Indigenous people, and those between the ages of 30-49.

Research suggests that people at risk work in the service, trades, resource, transport or hospitality industries. We need the community’s help to reach these people and keep them safe and connected to community, employment and life. 

Island Health invites interested organizations, individuals and companies to submit funding proposals for initiatives in the two focus areas outlined below:

Businesses leading the way to a strong and healthy workforce

Businesses know that a strong workforce is healthy and supported. There are ways employers can support their staff in staying healthy and reducing the harms of drug use. 

Examples of projects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Start a workplace health and wellness program that encourages workers to engage in healthy lifestyle activities
  • Become a champion employer for safer substance use. Many people use different substances for different reasons, and supporting workers to understand ways to reduce risk can build trust and keep people safe.
  • Increase access to technologies and innovations aimed at reducing substance use risks and supporting connection to services
  • Build resilient and supportive workplaces and keep workers engaged by providing access to programs and opportunities for healthy, supportive dialogue.
  • Launch a communications campaign (posters, social media ads, etc.) to promote anti-stigma messaging and substance use awareness amongst your staff and customers;
  • Provide naloxone and harm reduction training to staff.
New ways to reach those who use illicit drugs alone

In 2022, 83% of illicit drug toxicity deaths occurred inside a private residence, 71% were aged 30 to 59, and 79% were male. Creative and innovative strategies are required to reach people using substances alone in private residences. 

Examples of projects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Provide holistic health and wellness programming aimed at social inclusion and peer to peer supports for men
  • Provide access to drug checking technologies including fentanyl tests strips
  • Establish confidential and discrete opportunities to reach people using substances at home alone
  • Increase awareness and access to technologies aimed at reducing risks and supporting connection to services (i.e. Lifeguard Connect, Brave, He Changed It apps)

      Selection criteria

      In addition to the areas of focus outlined above, proposals that target and reach the following groups are encouraged:

      • Indigenous people
      • Men aged 30-49
      • People working in service, trades, resource, transport or hospitality industries


      The following are examples of how citizens and businesses have led the way to destigmatize and create safety for people who use substances:

      Focus area two: Increasing youth resilience

      The isolation and disconnection experienced during the pandemic, ecological grief from climate change, and the increasing use of online platforms all contribute to increasing rates of poor mental health among youth. Many youth can benefit from developing resilience in the context of a changing world.

      The Youth Resilience grants provide the opportunity for not-for-profit organizations, local government organizations and Indigenous Nations, communities, and for-profit businesses (in partnership with a non-profit) to apply for one-time funding to improve resilience among youth ages 13-19 who are in need of support.

      Proposed initiatives should clearly describe how they promote activities among youth age 13-19 that foster at least one of the following protective factors:

      Connections to one or more stable or supportive adult

      Initiatives focused on developing and supporting stable relationships between youth and caring adults could include, but are not limited to: 

      • Skill building for parents, caregivers, mentors or coaches 
      • Cultural activities that promote connection between Elders and youth
      • Youth mentorship programs
      Belonging to a family or community

      A sense of belonging to a family or community (broadly defined) increases resilience by providing the acceptance and identity necessary for healthy development. A sense of belonging can also provide a critical social support network to help youth manage stressful situations. Initiatives that increase belonging among youth could include, but are not limited to: 

      • Facilitate youth-led advocacy initiatives (e.g. climate change or anti-racism projects) 
      • Facilitate participation in sports teams, drama productions, music, bands, and involvement with youth groups or other programs where caring and supportive friendships are fostered
      Connection to culture

      Values, practices and beliefs learned though culture can help youth overcome challenging situations. Connection to culture can also contribute to a sense of personal identity and belonging, and provide social connection to others who may be able to provide support in times of adversity. Initiatives aimed at improving youth connection to culture may include, but are not limited to: 

      • Fine arts, language, traditional food acquisition and preparation 
      • Intergenerational activities 
      • Faith-based and spiritual activities 
      • Activities that increase connection to land and water
      Autonomy, competence and purpose

      Autonomy, competence and purpose refers to youth increasing their ability to think and make decisions, display self-compassion and take meaningful action on their goals. Activities to increase youth’s sense of autonomy, competence and purpose could include, but are not limited to:

      • Skills training such as first-aid or trades-related training that improves employability 
      • Supports to assist with overcoming academic barriers 
      • Group sessions that teach self-regulatory and other life-skills 
      • Tangible and emotional support to enhance opportunities for youth to pursue a chosen passion
      • Programs aimed at the development of self-compassion and mental health promotion 
      • Youth volunteer opportunities 

            Selection criteria

            Proposals that incorporate the following principles or components are encouraged:

            • Youth-led initiatives
            • Equity, diversity and inclusion (e.g. inclusive learning environments, cultural sensitivity, anti-racism, social justice)
            • Rural and remote communities within Island Health
            • Indigenous wellness or ways of knowing and being
            • Health practices (e.g., sleep hygiene, access to nature, physical activity, healthy eating etc.)
            • Health and/or mental health promotion 
            • Harm reduction (e.g., safer sex supplies, peer education, social pressures, time away from technology, etc.)

            Resilience and Safety Grant Recipients 2024

            North Island

            Kwikwasut'inuxw Haxwa'mis First Nation – Cultural Connections and Belonging

            North Island College – Building Healthy Trades

            North Island Crisis and Counselling Centre – New Beginnings Outreach

            Sasamans (Our Children) Society – Indigenous Youth and Elder Resiliency Group

            Central Island

            Alberni Valley Community School Society - čaamapiʔin: Indigenous Leadership & Transition Program

            AVI Health & Community Services – RYHME (Resilience and Harm Reduction)

            Cedar Community Secondary School - Uy'shqwaluwan

            Clements Centre for Families – Workplace Resilience for Supported Independent Living Program

            Cowichan Tribes – Tutleen’utul for Safety

            Literacy Central Vancouver Island – Trade Skills Literacy Connect

            Narwell Services Society – Wellness Tools in Trades: Health Promotion Resiliency Program

            Nourish Cowichan – Nourish Cowichan Food Equity Ambassador: Building Youth Resiliency through Peer-to-Peer Supports

            Nuu-chah-nulth Youth Warrior Family Society – Diving for Resilience 

            Pacific Rim School District - hišukʔiš c̓awaak: Everything is One

            Qualicum School District – Braveheart

            Town of Ladysmith – YOUth Bloom

            South Island

            Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness – Culture First

            Aunty Collective – Land Back for Aunties

            Salt Spring Community Health Society – Expanded Community Harm Reduction Peer Support Outreach &
            Volunteer Counselling Programs – Mental Wellness Initiative

            Tau Wellness Coop – Betwix’d Commonshore Theatre

            Victoria Women’s Transition House Society – Youth Engagement and Eco-Therapy Project


            Good Night Out Vancouver, Victoria Office – Safer Partying Campaign (Wild Night Out)

            Resilience and Safety Grant Recipients 2023

            North Island -  Increasing Youth Resilience

            • Nawalakw - Nawalakw Language Camps - hi'ma̱nis ḵ̓aḵ̓ut̓ła̱'at̓si
            • Lake Park Society - Land Care-Self Care Outdoor Camp

            North Island - Improving Workplace Resilience and Individual Safety Related to the Toxic Drug Crisis

            • Kyuquot Checleseht First Nation  - Culture as Medicine: Building a Strong Workplace Culture
            • The Salvation Army Mt Waddington Community Ministries - Workplace Resilience and Support Project

            North Island - Workplace Resilience and Support Project

            • Comox Valley Art Gallery – Walk with Me - Strengthening Patient-Oriented Research Framework to Improve Services for People in the Trades Who Use Drugs: Story Walk featuring trades specific stories
            • K’wak’walat’si Child and Family Services - Harm Reduction Station and Training

            Central Island - Increasing Youth Resilience

            • School District 79 (Cowichan Valley) - Well-being and Resilience in Youth
            • ADAPS Youth and Family Services - Youth Peer Support Training
            • Vancouver Island University – Child and Youth Care Program - Coming Alongside Caregivers
            • School District 70 – Ucluelet Secondary School - USS Wellness Initiative – Wellness Wednesdays
            • Port Alberni Friendship Centre - Ready Set Grow
            • School District 68 (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) – Nanaimo District Secondary School - Shxw’al’uq’wa’
            • Red Girl Rising Movement Society - Team 700+ Indigenous Youth Boxing Camp
            • Cowichan Valley Intercultural and Immigrant Aid Society - Leadership and Employment Preparation for Newcomer Youth

            Central Island - Improving Workplace Resilience and Individual Safety Related to the Toxic Drug Crisis 

            • Vancouver Island Regional Library - Brave Branches
            • Cowichan Brain Injury Society - Men’s Shed
            • Stephanie McCune Counselling and Consulting - In My Chair

            South Island - Increasing Youth Resilience

            • BGC South Vancouver Island  - Upstream Project
            • Stqeeye’ Learning Society - Youth on the Land
            • Galiano Health Care Society - Surviving to Thriving: An Initiative for Island Youth
            • University of Victoria – Living Lab Project - Relational Restoration and Land-Based Healing: The Living Lab Indigenous Youth Wellness and Stewardship Project
            • Greater Victoria Volunteer Society (Volunteer Victoria) - Eco-Anxious Stories and Action Steps
            • University of Victoria – School of Public Health and Social Policy - Bringing the čupuc to Life
            • School District 62 (Sooke) - In This Together: Peer Mentoring for Middle/Secondary School Youth
            • West Shore Restorative Justice - Restorative Justice Coffee Talk

            South Island - Improving Workplace Resilience and Individual Safety Related to the Toxic Drug Crisis 

            • Umbrella Society for Addictions and Mental Health - Workplace Engagement: Lunch and Learn Harm Reduction and Substance Use Education Targeted to the Trades, Hospitality and Sales industries
            • District of Oak Bay Parks and Recreation Services - You See Everything

            Regional - Improving Workplace Resilience and Individual Safety Related to the Toxic Drug Crisis 

            • Good Night Out Vancouver, Victoria Office - Safer Partying Campaign for the Hospitality Industry
            • University of Victoria - Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project - Drug Checking: A New Tool in the Toolbox

            News & Events

            Crisis response team and community café win 2024 mental health and substance use awards

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