Funding: Community-Based Projects for Seniors

Community-based projects under the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) that enable seniors to share their knowledge, skills and experiences with others and help communities increase their capacity to address local issues are eligible to receive up to $25,000 per year, per organization.

Projects must address one or more of the program's five objectives:

  1. promoting volunteerism among seniors and other generations;
  2. engaging seniors in the community through the mentoring of others;
  3. expanding awareness of elder abuse, including financial abuse;
  4. supporting the social participation and inclusion of seniors; and
  5. providing capital assistance for new and existing community projects and/or programs for seniors.

Application Information

We are not currently accepting applications.

Call for Proposals in Quebec

A Canada-Quebec Memorandum of Understanding for the New Horizons for Seniors Program sets out mechanisms for collaboration in order to ensure complementary action between the governments of Canada and Quebec to the benefit of seniors in Quebec. As a result of discussions under this Memorandum of Understanding, the two governments collaborate in the assessment of community projects.

Eligible applicants

  • not-for-profit organizations (e.g., churches or church associations, charities, activity clubs, volunteer organizations, professional associations, museums, or in some cases sports associations);
  • coalitions, networks;
  • municipal governments;
  • research organizations and institutes;
  • educational institutions (e.g., universities, colleges, CÉGEPs), public health institutions and social service institutions are eligible with the agreement of the provincial or territorial government. For the 2014-15 call, these institutions in Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nunavut, Quebec and Saskatchewan were eligible to apply;
  • band/tribal councils and other Aboriginal organizations;
  • for-profit enterprises*; and
  • school boards/school districts.

* For-profit enterprises are eligible provided that the nature and intent of the proposed activity is non-commercial, does not generate profit, and meets the objectives of the NHSP.

Ineligible applicants

  • individuals;
  • provincial/territorial departments and agencies;
  • post-secondary institutions, as well as social service and public health institutions, are ineligible without the agreement of the provincial or territorial government. For the 2014-15 call, institutions in British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Yukon were ineligible.

Eligible projects and activities

General project eligibility

Applicants are encouraged to work with other partners in their community to identify local needs and to design projects that respond to these needs. The NHSP seeks to fund programs or projects that:

  • benefit a broad clientele;
  • present an innovative and creative approach to address a community concern;
  • strive to have a lasting impact on communities;
  • involve collaboration and partnerships; and
  • use resources efficiently and effectively.

Funding is available for a project only once and cannot be renewed. If your project will be ongoing, you should consider what resources you will need in order to continue after NHSP funding ends.

Projects must:

  • be led or inspired by seniors. If inspired by seniors, they must be involved in the project’s development and/or implementation in a meaningful way. The role of seniors is a very important element when NHSP projects are being considered for funding.
  • occur within a 12-month (52-week) period. NHSP funding can only support projects that are completed within this time frame.

For those projects that primarily meet one of the first four program objectives, projects must:

  • involve programs or activities not already carried out by your organization. This could include adding different activities, reaching out to a new client base such as isolated seniors, youth or recent immigrants, or adapting activities to meet the needs of a new community.

For those projects that primarily meet the fifth objective, projects must:

  • involve programs or activities not already carried out by your organization. This could include adding different activities, reaching out to a new client base such as isolated seniors, youth or recent immigrants, or adapting activities to meet the needs of a new community; and/or
  • involve current programs or activities that are at risk of not continuing should the renovation and/or equipment purchase not be funded. These current programs or activities must also meet one of the first four program objectives.

Eligible projects

In order to be eligible, project activities must be led by seniors, or seniors must play a meaningful role in the project (planning and/or delivery). Activities eligible for funding can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • seniors developing approaches to encourage new and emerging cohorts of seniors to be more actively involved in community activities;
  • adopting approaches (policies and tools) to more effectively attract, recruit and retain diverse cohorts of volunteers, including other generations;
  • seniors sharing their knowledge, skills and experience with others;
  • promoting awareness of elder abuse, including financial abuse;
  • seniors reaching out to vulnerable seniors such as those who are socially or geographically isolated;
  • volunteering, mentoring, leadership training and skill matching for seniors;
  • seniors’ intergenerational and intercultural learning and relationship building programs and activities;
  • seniors involved in developing / sharing tools and resource materials;
  • seniors sharing best practices;
  • equipment purchase or replacement for programs and activities for seniors, and
  • renovations and repairs to facilities for programs and activities for seniors.

Remember: When planning your project activities, your organization should look into whether or not they will need any special permits, insurance, waivers, or support from governing bodies, such as a Band Council Resolution or any other permissions required.

Ineligible projects and activities

The following activities are not eligible for community-based funding:

  • core or ongoing activities (activities regularly/normally carried out by the organization);
  • activities where the role of seniors is minimal or unclear;
  • projects that deal primarily with health interventions;
  • projects to develop or deliver accredited primary, secondary, or post-secondary curricula; and
  • programs or services that fall within the responsibility of other levels of government.

Funding maximum

The maximum funding available is $25,000 per year, per organization. Projects cannot exceed one year, and funding cannot be renewed.

Funding requests that exceed $25,000 will be rejected.

Eligible project costs

Project costs must relate to the project and could include:

  • salaries, wages and mandatory employment-related costs for project staff;
    • Salaries, wages and mandatory employment-related costs for project staff must account for less than 25 percent of the total amount requested from the NHSP. This reflects the Program’s focus on volunteerism.
  • professional services (e.g., presenters, trainers, facilitators, researchers, etc.);
  • trades/construction contractors, installers, technicians, etc.;
  • evaluation costs (e.g., surveys to be distributed to participants at events);
  • honoraria and hospitality costs;
  • security checks for volunteers;
  • travel expenses within Canada, including transportation costs to assist seniors in participating in project activities;
  • purchase of materials and supplies;
  • printing and distributing project materials;
  • rental and maintenance of equipment;
  • rental of space or other facilities;
  • utilities;
  • capital costs required to undertake the project (e.g., equipment for participants, furnishings and fixtures);
    • Capital costs are non-consumable single items or (a) grouping(s) of similar items that cost $1,000 or more. For example, a group of similar items could be a public address system for seniors events, comprised of an amplifier ($600), two speakers ($150 apiece), a microphone ($150), stand and cables ($100), which equal $1,150 in total since they are a collection of items that are designed to function together. Non-consumable items are those that will continue to exist after the funding period ends, such as equipment, electronics, furniture and fixtures.
  • renovations or repairs;
  • delivery/shipping costs for material and equipment;
  • dumping and disposal fees; and
  • any applicable taxes.

Project costs will be assessed and certain items may not be accepted in funding applications.

New: A computer (including monitor), or a laptop, will be considered up to a maximum value of $750. If your funding request exceeds this value, it will be reduced accordingly. For example, a laptop, and a computer with a monitor (i.e., two new computers) will be considered up to a maximum of $1,500. This does not include peripheral equipment such as scanners, printers, or computer software.

When your project is over, your organization may either keep the capital items you bought with the funding and use them for other community-related activities or donate them to other not-for-profit organizations in the community, provided that the Department of Employment and Social Development agrees. You may not keep these items for personal use.

Ineligible costs

The following costs are not eligible for funding:

  • general operating costs of your organization that are not related to this project (i.e., regular telephone and heating costs, rent, utilities, property taxes, insurance, equipment for staff, audit costs, etc.);
  • costs incurred to prepare the application;
  • items of a personal/medical nature such as wheelchairs/scooters, CPR/First Aid equipment, hearing aids;
  • feasibility studies needed for physical work, including environmental assessments;
  • transportation to provide a personal service to seniors (e.g., that is not directly related to increasing the social inclusion of seniors, training senior drivers and implementing a senior's transportation program, projects that focus on transporting seniors to personal appointments);
  • project costs incurred before the agreement is approved and signed by the Department;
  • purchase of land or buildings, including new construction;
  • repairs or renovations to a building that your organization does not yet occupy;
  • cost over-runs (project costs that are higher in implementation than anticipated. The value of an NHSP community-based grant cannot be increased once it has been approved and signed by the Department. If costs are higher in implementation of the project than budgeted, it is the responsibility of the applicant organization to procure the missing funding to complete the project); and
  • contingency costs (costs added to a project over and above the actual estimated project value to cover unexpected costs).

Application Review Process

There are three phases in the application review process:


Applications postmarked by the application deadline are reviewed for eligibility by the Department to ensure they meet the Program’s eligibility criteria. Applications will be rejected at the screening phase for any of the following reasons:

  • The application is late (i.e., postmarked after the deadline);
  • The application is incomplete and/or not signed by the authorized representatives of the organization;
  • The required attachments are missing – for instance, you are missing:
    • at least one original letter or other original document demonstrating community support for your project; or
    • documents that confirm your organization’s legitimacy and governance;
  • The project does not meet any of the program objectives;
  • Proposed activities are your organization’s core, existing or on-going activities;
  • Proposed activities do not include a strong role for seniors in their planning and/or delivery; or
  • Budget costs exceed funding limits (i.e., single funding applications that exceed the $25,000 limit will be screened out).


After the screening process is complete, eligible applications are reviewed and assessed in collaboration with the Regional Committee in your province or territory. Committee members include people active in seniors’ and community issues. The committees also normally include representation from federal and provincial or territorial governments. In Quebec, a Joint Management Committee, made up of representatives from the Quebec government and Employment and Social Development Canada, review and assess applications in accordance with the Canada-Quebec Memorandum of Understanding on the New Horizons for Seniors Program.

If irregularities have been found in relation to projects previously funded by the department, ESDC reserves the right to reject your application without assessing it until the irregularities have been remedied.

Applications are assessed on a number of criteria, including:

  • the strength of the community support for the project;
  • the anticipated positive impact on seniors and/or their communities (such as their strong role as leaders in their communities);
  • the project’s cost-effectiveness;
  • the potential for the activities to continue after the funding ends, if applicable;
  • other New Horizons for Seniors funded projects in the same community; and
  • the results of any of your organization’s projects that were previously funded by Employment and Social Development Canada.

There is significant demand for funding for capital assistance, and more applications are received than can be funded. Therefore, funding is more likely to be awarded to organizations that clearly demonstrate a strong link between the proposed renovations or equipment replacement and activities that clearly meet at least one of the Program's other four objectives. Additional criteria may be considered during the assessment of proposals, such as the security or soundness of facilities or equipment that could compromise the safety of seniors.

In order to achieve the maximum possible impact for seniors and their communities, Regional Committees will consider the following types of elements when reviewing applications:

  • the degree to which projects engage seniors, including Aboriginal seniors, in project design and delivery;
  • the degree to which projects capitalize on seniors’ leadership and abilities, and facilitate seniors’ contributions to their communities;
  • the location of proposed activities and in particular those that target seniors living in rural and remote areas;
  • the number of seniors to be impacted as well as their diversity. For example, projects that include seniors of all ages, as well as ethno-cultural communities, Aboriginal communities, Francophone communities, seniors of all sexual orientations and seniors with disabilities;
  • the degree to which the projects reflect the cultural and linguistic sensitivities of the province or territory;
  • community groups that previously have not received grant funding from the New Horizons for Seniors Program. Communities could be geographic, cultural, linguistic or religious in nature or could focus on new immigrants; and
  • a project’s lasting impact on, or enduring contribution to, a community.

Final decision

The regional committees make recommendations to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC); the Department makes the final decision.

You will be advised of the final decision by letter. You will receive a written decision from the Department in early 2015.

If approved, your application becomes a grant agreement.

Please note that funding decisions are final and that there is no appeal process.

New –Direct deposit is the preferred payment method by the Department and will become the only payment option in the future.

You can contact us at 1-800-277-9914 (press “0” to speak with an agent). We will put you in touch with the appropriate NHSP representative.


You will be notified by mail that we have received your application. Acknowledgment letters will be mailed within 21 calendar days of the closing date of the Call. If you have not received an acknowledgement letter five weeks after the closing date of the Call, please call 1-800-277-9914 and press “0” to speak to an agent.

Final report

Funded organizations must submit a final report within 30 days of the project end date in their agreement and send it to the New Horizons for Seniors Program office in their province or territory. The final report template will be provided in the approval package notifying funded organizations of the Department’s decision.

Reporting on time shows good project management. Should your organization fail to submit a final report on time it may impact your organization’s ability to obtain funding from the Department in the future.