Ottawa, Ontario, March 24, 2021—As Canadians continue to adapt to the realities of COVID-19, local governments and community partners across the country are adapting their spaces and services to keep residents safe and healthy, support economic recovery, create jobs, and build vibrant, resilient communities.

Today, Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Halifax, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, joined Andrea Dicks, President of Community Foundations of Canada, and Mary W. Rowe, President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute, to announce $95,000 in funding from the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative for the expansion of March of Dimes Canada’s Hi, Tech! program. Also in attendance were Rob Oliphant, Member of Parliament for Don Valley West, and Len Baker, President and CEO of March of Dimes Canada.

The Hi, Tech! program helps people with disabilities learn how to use virtual platforms by removing technological barriers and empowering them with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to use virtual tools, enabling access to online services like healthcare and citizen engagement activities, and connections to family and friends. Building on the Hi, Tech! program’s  success in pilot communities in 2020, funding from the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will help expand the reach of the program to serve a greater number of people and combat isolation caused by COVID-19 as Canadians continue to navigate the pandemic. 

This marks the first project announced under the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative. Successful projects from the first intake will be announced in the coming weeks. Through the $31-million Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, the Government of Canada is building safer spaces and ensuring a higher quality of life for people across the country, by helping communities adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19.

Quotes

“The project we’re announcing today demonstrates the creativity and commitment of communities and community partners across Canada to respond to the unique needs of their residents and create a high quality of life for them as they continue to remain vigilant in this pandemic. Through this project, and the many more that will be announced in the coming weeks, the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will help Canadians and their families enjoy safer, more vibrant, and inclusive communities now and into the future. It’s through investments in infrastructure that we’re working to ensure outcomes with triple benefits – growing our economy, fighting climate change, and reducing social inequality and ensuring a better quality of life of all Canadians.” 

Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Member of Parliament for Halifax, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“COVID-19 has put a serious strain on cities and towns across our country, impacting the way our neighbourhoods look, work, and feel. In response, the Government of Canada has introduced the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, designed to bring joy back to our streets in a safe and innovative way. We’ve seen many innovative projects, like the one announced today, roll in from across the country and we’re excited to see how they enhance the lives of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.”

Rob Oliphant, Member of Parliament for Don Valley West

“COVID-19 has significantly impacted how we access and use public spaces. This is especially true in communities that are already experiencing vulnerability as a result of systemic inequalities. Today, we are excited to see the first project selected through the Healthy Communities Initiative. This project showcases the creativity and resourcefulness of communities as they build safer, more inclusive spaces.”

Andrea Dicks, President of Community Foundations of Canada

“The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative is broadening our understanding of what infrastructure truly is and can be: better and more equitable ways for people to connect, problem-solve, and create community-led places for everyone. The incredible response to the program from across Canada demonstrates how willing Canadians are to partner and work together to ensure their communities come out of the pandemic more resilient and vibrant.”

Mary W. Rowe, President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute

“When the pandemic hit, we realized that many of our clients – people living with disabilities – don’t know how to use digital technologies to connect to our virtual services, or just to stay in contact with friends and family. So, we created Hi, Tech!. Volunteers work one-on-one with our clients to get them connected. In our pilot, we were able to reduce social isolation and vastly increase the quality of life experienced by our clients. Now we can take the program out across the country and connect many more people.”

Len Baker, President and CEO of March of Dimes Canada

Quick facts

  • The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative was created to help communities adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and create safe ways for residents to access services and enjoy the outdoors. The Initiative is designed to fund eligible projects that fall under three main themes: creating safe and vibrant public spaces, improving mobility options, and digital solutions.
  • Community Foundations of Canada was selected through an open call for applications to implement a national project. Together with its partners, including the Canadian Urban Institute, it is working with pan-Canadian networks to manage the funding process and serve the distinct needs of communities across Canada, including equity-seeking groups interested in applying.
  • The first intake for projects was launched on February 9, 2021 and closed on March 9, 2021. Successful projects from the first intake will be announced in the coming weeks.
  • The second intake will open on May 14, 2021, and close on June 25, 2021. Applicants wishing to apply for the second round can access further details on the Community Foundations of Canada website.

Media contacts

Chantalle Aubertin, Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Ryan Kennery, Senior Strategist
On behalf of Andrea Dicks, President of the Community Foundations of Canada

Media Relations, Infrastructure Canada