Canada Healthy Communities Initiative Funding

Implementing Digital Solutions

In August 2020, Infrastructure Canada announced the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative. The initiative will provide up to $31 million to support community-led projects that respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19.

Community projects that are eligible for this funding fall into three main categories, including digital solutions. These are projects that address changing community needs through the use of data and connected technologies.


Federal Technology Fund Addresses COVID-19 Community Challenges

COVID-19 is forcing over 3200 communities across Canada to find new ways to address the immediate and ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic. Infrastructure Canada created the Healthy Canada Communities Initiative to help municipalities identify and deliver innovative digital projects that address changing community needs through the use of data and connected technologies.

The agency responsible for co-ordinating the procurement of all proposals under the $31 million fund will be announced shortly. In the interim, communities especially the smaller ones, are encouraged to develop innovative project ideas that address immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19.

To help you with that, we invited the federal government, technology leaders and social service organizations to share ideas that will help build successful innovative digital projects that is inclusive and recognizes Canada’s proud history of diversity and youth. Our panel of experts will shares how digital solutions can respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19 as municipalities build back better using good tech as tech for good.

The diverse panel of experts includes Minister Bardish Chagger MP for Waterloo, Iain Klugman of Communitech, Tracy Elop from Carizon, John Neufeld from House of Friendship, and Dana Fox from Athena Software.

Kick start your conversation and discover innovative digital projects that address your changing community needs through the use of data and connected technologies. Your build back better plan starts with ideas, planning and funding. It’s all here.


Bardish Chagger – Member of Parliament for Waterloo

The Honourable Bardish Chagger has served as the Member of Parliament for Waterloo since 2015 and as the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth since November 2019.

Minister Chagger is devoted to inclusion and community building. From assisting with recreational sports for kids to volunteering with seniors, she is committed to strengthening the bonds of the Waterloo community.

In an earlier role with the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre, Minister Chagger worked to foster diversity within the community and provide opportunities for social and economic engagement. As an executive assistant to former Member of Parliament Andrew Telegdi, she gained a deep understanding of the issues of importance to residents of Waterloo, including manufacturing, technology, and innovation.

Passionate about community involvement, Minister Chagger has lent her support to many different causes and organizations, including the Rotary Club of Waterloo, Interfaith Grand River, and the Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin.

Minister Chagger considers herself part of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms generation, and has participated in policy conferences on many issues, including the advancement of same-sex marriage rights and a national manufacturing strategy.

She graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Science. In 2012, the Waterloo Region Record recognized Minister Chagger as one of “40 under 40” who would lead the Region of Waterloo into the future.

Minister Chagger has also served as the Minister of Small Business and Tourism as well as the Government House Leader.

Iain Klugman – CEO Communitech

Iain Klugman is the President and CEO of Communitech, a technology company that helps tech companies start, grow and succeed. Reaching almost 2 decades of leadership, Iain has helped put Waterloo Region’s tech community on the global map. His efforts are commended in dealing with the current economic crisis and also steering the company in the right direction in terms of handling the effects COVID-19.  


Iain also serves as a board member at Wilfried Laurier University, Mitacs and HarbourVest Partners. His continued commitment to the company, boards and the community has been demonstrated throughout his career.  

Tracy Elop – Carizon

Tracy is the CEO of Carizon Family and Community Services, a community mental health and wellbeing organization in Waterloo Region. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant by training and previously worked as the COO and CFO of KidsAbility, and in several capacities over a 20-year career with Deloitte.

She is an active volunteer in the community. She served as Chair of the Board of Grand River Hospital and is a partner in Social Venture Partners Waterloo Region. She is also currently the Treasurer of the Board of Directors of both the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Children’s Mental Health Ontario.

John Neufeldt – House of Friendship

John is the proud father of Micah (17) and Mikayla (15) and grateful husband of Andrea. Since 2009, John has had the privilege of serving as the Executive Director of House of Friendship – a multi-service organization focused on housing, addictions treatment, food security, and neighbourhood development. Prior to serving at House of Friendship, John had the incredible opportunity of working with foster children/youth at Bridgeway Family Homes for 11 years.

Academically, John has a Bachelor of Theology (Canadian Mennonite University), Bachelor of Arts – Social Development Studies (UoWaterloo), Masters of Social Work (UoToronto), and Masters of Business Administration (WLU).

Dana Fox – Athena Software

Dana is working with Athena Software to help human service organizations with digital transformation. Founder of the Institute for Smarter Government using prescriptive analytics to help health, social services, education and justice create transformational strategies that deliver better outcomes for less.

Author of Export Ignition and Mentorship. Founder of ClevrU, an online education platform. Adjunct Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University – strategic business development. Advisory board member Centre for Global Enterprise: Schulich School of Business, Mohawk College, and Canadian International Council member.

We’re here to help

Whether it’s a funding application for digital solutions for your project, reporting capabilities, or workflow management, Athena Software is here to help you get started with a made-in-Canada software solution that can help you improve service delivery in your community.

Click here to view our comprehensive pricing proposal which we have aligned and integrated with the budget plan template that the government has provided applicants with.

Join a panel of Penelope experts as they discuss what funding is available for social service agencies through the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, and walk you through the steps to apply.

Digital Solution for Community Projects

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, it’s important to ensure that the people in your community have access to the essential supports and services they need. Implementing a secure, web-based case management system is the best way to ensure the continuation of care for members of your community and manage remote service delivery.

Get Started Quickly

To support community organizations in Canada, we are offering a special Penelope + ClientConnect package, that can be implemented quickly and is preconfigured with all the features you need to manage social service programs in your community. This package includes accelerated user onboarding and training so you can get your services up and running right away.

What do you get?

  • Penelope package at a reduced cost
  • ClientConnect client portal licenses at a reduced cost
  • Expedited deployment package with reduced fee
  • Optional data migration package


What is the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative?

Waterloo Minister Bardish Chagger explains the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, the requirements and application process.

How exactly do I apply? What is the process?

Read this guide to learn more about the CHCI initiative, funding eligibility, application guidance, application process, and evaluation methods being used to review applications. Click here to view applicant guide: 

How do technology platforms keep people feeling healthy and supported during COVID-19?

Tracy Elop from Carizon demonstrates how interconnecting systems to work with each other as well as layering data properly can make leaps and bounds in terms of keeping people safe and healthy. 

When do applications for organizations open?

Infrastructure Canada has now officially opened the application process for $31M in funding via the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative in recognition of social and digital infrastructure that contributes to healthy community outcomes. These applications are now being accepted for the first round, which ends on March 9th at 5:00 p.m. PST. Watch the video to learn more or read the blog here.

Is the government encouraging communities to explore proactive integrated healthcare and social strategies based on data and analytics?

Yes, and by collecting all the data that comes from supporting local initiatives such as CHCI, we are helping encourage continuity of these programs and the government uses this data in their meetings to explore further avenues of funding and supporting local projects.

How has investment in technology created data that was used to delivery better outcomes?

John Neufeld explains how House of Friendship aims to deliver better outcomes through understanding and approaching the issue of hunger in local communities. Technology helps their organization avoid overlap in data reporting and helps clarify what services are in demand to help plan and fund services.

What are examples of how high technology accelerators can use this opportunity for their companies or organizations?

Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech, demonstrates how they have started working with a broader set of companies, such as Manulife Financial and Royal Canadian Air Force. He goes on to explain that the role of accelerators will be much broader especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, with more innovation expertise and capability to offer.

Healthy Communities Initiative Demo Request

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