Expressions of Interest call for Island Health Resilience and 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 health, mitigate the harms associated with illicit substance use and build youth resilience. 

Island Health is seeking Expressions of Interest from not-for-profit organizations, local governments, Indigenous Nations and 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 Island Health.  

"We all have a role to play in making our communities healthier and more resilient,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Local organizations and governments understand the needs of people in their communities. By supporting community-led initiatives to improve mental health and address the toxic drug poisoning crisis, we can make it easier for more people to get the help they need where and when they need it, while building safer and more connected communities.”

“Deaths and injuries due to the unregulated drug supply continue throughout Vancouver Island.  Island Health recognizes that our response needs to be a collective effort of government, including health, and our communities,” said Dr Reka Gustafson, VP Population and Public Health and Chief Medical Health Officer. “The first round of Resilience and Safety grants, distributed in March 2023, was part of our effort to support community organizations in their response. These grants resulted in some great partnership opportunities for Island Health such as with the Vancouver Island Regional Library, numerous community organizations and businesses, several First Nations, as well as a number of school districts and post-secondary institutions. We are excited to continue this innovative partnership work to engage communities, businesses and those with lived experience to reduce harms of unregulated drugs and work with youth to promote resilience.” 

Grants are available for projects/initiatives in two areas:

1. 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 are able to provide life-saving supports to people who use drugs; however, we are not reaching everyone at risk. 

Expressions of Interest should focus on:  

  • Businesses leading the way to a strong and healthy workforce
  • New ways to reach people who use illicit drugs alone

2. Improving Youth Resilience

The isolation and disconnection experienced during the pandemic, ecological grief from climate change, the increasing predominance of isolation due to excessive online engagement, and the unpredictably toxic drug supply have all contributed to increasing rates of poor mental health outcomes for youth. Taken altogether, many youth would benefit from support to develop resilience in the context of a changing world.

Expressions of Interest should focus on: 

  • Connection to one or more stable and supportive adults
  • Belonging to a broadly defined family or community
  • Connection to Culture
  • Competence and purpose

For more detailed information, including the principles or components these initiatives should address, and to submit an Expression of Interest please refer to our Resilience and Safety Grants web page.

The deadline to submit an Expression of Interest for a Resilience & Safety grant is Thursday, November 2.