Health Canada - Official Languages Health Contribution Program

About the program

In March 2013, the federal government launched the Roadmap for Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities.

Health Canada received funding for the Official Languages Health Contribution Program (the Program) to support a three-pronged strategy for official language minority communities (OLMCs):

  1. Integrating Health Professionals in OLMCs - which, by working with post-secondary institutions, aims to increase the supply of bilingual health professionals available to serve OLMCs.

  2. Strengthening Local Health Networking Capacity - 36 local and regional networks which operate as community-based entities to build capacity to affect change in the health care system with a view to improving access to health services within OLMCs.

  3. Health Services Access and Retention Projects - which promotes, through specific initiatives, better integration of and improved access to health services for OLMCs.

This call for proposals is to fulfill the third component of the Program, Health Services Access and Retention Projects.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that English and French are the official languages of Canada and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and government of Canada. Section 23 recognizes the French and English minority populations of Canada.

Under Section 41 of the Official Languages Act, the Government of Canada is committed to enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and to supporting and assisting their development. The Act is also committed to fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society.

Every federal institution has the duty to ensure that positive measures are taken for the implementation of these commitments, while respecting the jurisdiction and powers of the provinces.

"Effective communication is essential to ensure patient safety and compliance and accurate diagnosis. Improving language access is necessary to ensure that the language one speaks does not affect one's health or mortality".

(Health Affairs 27, 2008)

2014-2018 call for proposals

The Health Services Access and Retention Projects component will support initiatives, services, and activities that provide tangible products and outcomes to assist in addressing the health care challenges faced by English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada.

Eligible recipients for the Health Services Access and Retention Projects open streams will be non-profit entities working to improve the health of OLMCs, including, but not limited to: regional health authorities, community health service centres, health and social service institutions, academic institutions and other non-profit organizations.

This Call for Proposals (CFP) invites applications that will contribute to one of the following two streams of the Projects component. Those interested in this CFP must first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI). The process inherent to the LOI appears under the Submission of Application heading.

Stream # 1

Strategic Investment Fund to address official language minority communities' health priorities and emerging needs ($5 million over five years)

Through the Roadmap for Canada's Official Languages 2013-2018, Health Canada is investing $5 million over five years to establish the Strategic Investment Fund (SIF). The SIF will support focused initiatives designed to help official language minority communities' access health services in the language of choice.

Under this stream, the Program is currently seeking one or more needs assessment surveys for health care interpreter services in English and French to meet the health care requirements of Canada's English and French linguistic minority communities.

A literature review funded by the Primary Health Care Transition Fund provides a preliminary exploration of the use of interpreter services both in Canada and internationally, but it does not provide practical information for improving access to interpreter services.  Studies have shown that there are health risks associated to not using professional interpreters in the health care system (Language Adaptation in Health Care and Health Services: Issues and Strategies, INSPQ).

Here are important questions that must be addressed by project proposals:

  • Is there a need for professional health interpreters in the health sector, and if yes, in which region(s)?
  • What needs to be done to develop a professional accreditation / diploma in health care interpretation?
  • What needs to be done to implement policies and guidelines for professional health care interpreters in health care institutions?
  • What needs to be done to train health care providers to effectively use health care interpreters?

Minimum amount: $40,000

Duration: maximum 2 years

Start Date: Between April 2014 and January 2015

Examples of other projects that will be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • Developing and implementing a national strategy on the active offer of health services to strengthen the organisation and adaptation of health services in OLMCs.

  • Developing strategies, policies and tools supported by scientific evidence to improve the active offer of health services to OLMCs.

  • Enhancing clinical training to improve access to health services in rural and remote areas.

  • Producing best or promising practice assessments of health interventions targeted to language minority communities based on scientific assessments of evidence.

  • Producing and publishing measurement indicators for assessing health system performance in relation to official language minority communities.

  • Studies of approaches used internationally for measuring language-specific performance of health systems.

  • Conducting public opinion surveys / studies of health service needs, expectations and satisfaction among official language minority communities nationally or across multiple regions of the country.

Stream # 2

Integration of Health Human Resources in OLMCs and Health Services Institutions ($8.2 million over five years)

Through the Roadmap for Canada's Official Languages, Health Canada is investing $8.2 million over five year to help optimize the integration, recruitment and placement of health personnel to meet the needs of English and French linguistic minorities across Canada. The 2008-2013 evaluation of the OLHCP includes three recommendations. Health Canada is currently interested in receiving LOI for two of the three recommendations:

  1. Identifying approaches, in addition to professional training, to increase access to health care services in the minority language in regions where the OLMC populations are small and/or dispersed.

  2. Having health networks and post-secondary institutions collaborate, where appropriate, to develop training aligned to OLMC health needs and jointly engage with health authorities and facilities to develop internship positions for bilingual students, so as to increase their retention in OLMCs after graduation.

Examples of other projects that will be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • Projects addressing health needs that are specific to the demographics of OLMCs (e.g. interaction of seniors with the health system, mental health conditions where language poses a significant barrier, inclusion of the official language of patients in health records and decision support systems).

  • Initiatives to engage members of OLMCs as volunteers to provide reception or intake services in health institutions where OLMCs are present.

  • Continuing professional education in support of retention and recruitment of health professionals.

  • Providing incentives and assistance for minority official language health professionals to continue to practice within minority official language communities by facilitating their integration and mobility within these communities.

  • Promoting the relocation of minority official language health professionals to regions of greater language need.

  • Encouraging bilingual health graduates to integrate minority official language communities where there is a need for their services in the minority official language and where they can have productive careers.

  • Relocation assistance to support qualified health personnel integrate into OLMCs when they move for family or personal reasons.

  • Implementation of specialized placement services for health graduates within communities or institutions that serve OLMCs.

Minimum amount: $40,000

Duration: maximum 3 years

Start Date: Between April 2014 and January 2015

Proposals must:

  • Respect the jurisdiction and powers of provinces and territories as required under the Official Languages Act.

  • Demonstrate clearly how the proposal will meet the needs of OLMCs.

  • Identify clear performance indicators for measuring project progress and effectiveness, in line with the Official Languages Health Contribution Program Logic Model, which is a visual picture of Program activities, outputs and outcomes. You can request a copy by sending an e-mail to OLCDB-BACLO@hc-sc.gc.ca.

Preference will be given to proposals that:

  • Apply to or are implemented in English and French linguistic minority communities in multiple regions of the country.

  • Provide sustainable benefits to communities following project completion without additional project funding.

Submission of application

Letter of intent

Those interested in this CFP must first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI).

The LOI presents an overview of the project that an applicant organization proposes to undertake. The OLHCP will review the LOI to determine whether the applicant will be invited to the next phase of the application process, i.e. the development of a full project proposal.

The LOI must follow the format specified in this CFP, must not exceed 5 pages in length and must meet all of the criteria contained therein.

Promoters must submit their LOI before January 31, 2014 by e-mail to OLCDB-BACLO@hc-sc.gc.ca (total email attachment size must not exceed 2 megabytes).

Health Canada reserves the right, once the Letters of Intent are reviewed, to recommend partnerships between related projects in order to create a broader impact and capacity. Health Canada reserves the right to recommend scaling down the size and cost of larger projects to improve the overall mix of project impacts.

Proposal submission

If you are invited to the next phase of the application process, Health Canada will provide you with a solicitation package, which includes:

  • Guide for Applicants
  • Application for Funding
  • Budget Template
  • Logic Model

The LOI must include the following information:

  • Project Title
  • Applicant organization(s)
  • Priority issue
  • Demonstrated need for the project
  • Target group(s)
  • Partnerships and provincial buy-in
  • Organizational capacity (experience, resources, knowledge, etc)
  • Sustainability (following project completion)
  • Estimated cost (budget) and Duration
  • Evaluation of project (upon completion)

To obtain additional information about this invitation to submit an LOI, please contact: OLCDB-BACLO@hc-sc.gc.ca

LOIs must be received on or before January 31, 2014.

LOIs that are late or incomplete will not be assessed no exceptions will be permitted.

Date modified: