Resilience and Safety Grants

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Resilience and Safety Grants

Thank you for applying. The deadline for receiving expressions of interest for the grants has passed. We will be getting in touch with those continuing on in the application process.

Island Health has developed a new granting program to help improve mental health, youth resilience, and address illicit substance use. 

Community organizations, individuals, and local businesses are invited to apply with their ideas for improving youth well-being and protecting people against the impacts of the toxic drug crisis.  

There are two areas of focus that you choose from when filling out your application. You may submit more than one application, but please make sure you read through the examples and selection criteria when submitting each application. 

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. 

We are inviting 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, approximately 60 per cent of illicit drug toxicity deaths occurred inside a private residence with another approximately 20 per cent occurring in other types of residences such as supportive housing and hotels. Of those who died, almost three-quarters were between 30-59 years of age and more than 75 per cent 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 addressing the focus areas outlined above, we encourage proposals with strategies that specifically reach Indigenous people, men aged 30 to 49 years, and people working in the 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:

      Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project 
      he. - Men's Mental Health and Wellness App 
      The Brave App
      Lifeguard Digital Health Inc.
      SMRT1 | Smart Vending Technology Solutions
      National Sober Active Community | The Phoenix
      The Tailgate Toolkit – You Deserve the Right Tools

      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, Indigenous 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

            In addition to addressing the focus areas above, we encourage proposals that incorporate the following principles or components:

            • 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.)


            Funding will not be provided for initiatives and projects directly related to primary or acute patient care, treatment of mental illness, substance use disorder or addiction management, access to care, and coordination of services for those requiring care or clinical programs. Funds cannot be used for capital or infrastructure purchases (smaller operating items can be considered), and no more than 10 per cent of funds can be used for administrative costs. 


            Applications will be accepted until January 18, 2023 at 4 p.m. PST.

            We will review applications and follow up with those who are continuing in the selection process to provide a more detailed proposal by February 15, 2023.

            If your proposal is approved, we will let you know on March 1, 2023

            Approved projects and initiatives will run from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024, though the time frame for some projects may be shorter. 

            Have questions? 

            If you have any questions please contact Janet Shute at or by phone at 250-714-6461.


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