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The Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund (DSCIF) - At a Glance

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About the Fund

Illicit drug use is a serious concern for all Canadians. In the 2007 Federal Budget, the Government of Canada announced the Next link will take you to another Web site National Anti-Drug Strategy (NADS) with a goal of improving the health, safety and security of Canadians by addressing both the demand for and supply of illicit drugs in Canada. Building on existing drug-related initiatives, NADS enhances collaboration and strong working partnerships between federal, provincial and territorial governments, non-government organizations and communities.

The government supports community-level action through Health Canada's Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund (DSCIF). DSCIF is an on-going contribution program established in 2004 with an annual budget of $9.6 million. The DSCIF contributes to reducing illicit drug use among youth aged 10 to 24. DSCIF facilitates the development of local, provincial, territorial, national and community-based solutions for illicit drug use among youth.

Since the announcement of NADS, the DSCIF has issued two Calls for Proposals (CFP) and has signed 103 multi-year contribution agreements across Canada representing approximately $40M in investments. For the current Call for Proposals, a rigorous assessment process will be used to fund a select number of evidenced-based, multi-year, health promotion and prevention projects that will ultimately provide Canadians with information and tools to make healthy life choices.

2012-2013 Call for Proposals


The DSCIF will continue to support the prevention of illicit drug use in youth aged 10-24. The current Call for Proposals will focus on specific youth populations known to have an increased risk of using illicit drugs compared with the general population. The DSCIF is currently seeking projects that prevent illicit drug use through behavioral changes in the following priority populations:

  1. Youth in life transition stages: youth moving from elementary to high school, high school to college/CEGEP/university (moving away from home), and high school/college/CEGEP/university to the work force.
  2. Youth who are disadvantaged by their living conditions: youth whose parents abuse drugs, adolescents with mental health and substance use disorders, and other high risk youth.
  3. Youth living in rural /remote communities: youth who live in communities with limited access to programs and activities and need a safe environment to reduce exposure and access to drugs.

As DSCIF is a health promotion and prevention program, this Call for Proposals will give priority to health promotion proposals that involve a broad reach and more than one community to:

  • strengthen community action;
  • build healthy public policy;
  • create supportive environments;
  • develop personal health and coping skills; or/and
  • reorient health services.

Proposals that are multi-community or multi-regional are of particular interest along with those that engage a range of intermediaries and stakeholders to reduce illicit drug use among the priority populations. Examples of intermediaries include the parents of youth, educators, health service providers and social service providers. Stakeholders include all orders of government, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and professional associations that have an interest in addressing the issue of illicit drug use among youth.

In keeping with a focus on reducing illicit drug use among youth aged 10-24, this CFP invites applications that will contribute to at least one of the following outcomes:

Acquired/improved capacity (knowledge and skills development) to avoid illicit drug use.
This outcome is based on the premise that improving the target population's knowledge of how to avoid drug use and skills for avoiding drug use, including coping, avoidance and resistance strategies and skills, will lead to improved decision-making and a decreased likelihood of substance use.
Reduced risk-taking behaviours associated with illicit drug use among youth.
This outcome is based on the premise that illicit drug use and abuse is associated with many other risk-taking behaviours, such as violence, early onset of drug use, increased usage of drugs and other harmful substances. Helping youth to make more positive lifestyle choices will ultimately help reduce the demand for illicit drugs among youth.
Increased uptake of health promotion and prevention knowledge and resources to prevent illicit drug use among youth.
This outcome is based on the premise that health promotion and prevention knowledge and resources will be applied to improve community practice and ultimately reduces illicit drug use.
Increased engagement of community structures and networks in health promotion to prevent illicit drug use among youth.
This outcome is based on the premise that engaging new and existing community structures and networks in health promotion and prevention will help to entrench and support illicit drug prevention in the community.
Improvements to community practice that increase the effectiveness of health promotion and prevention activities addressing illicit drug use among youth.
This outcome is based on the premise that through increased application of health promotion and prevention knowledge/resources, communities will be better prepared to address illicit drug use among youth.

Please note that the DSCIF Logic Model, a visual picture of the DSCIF activities, outputs and outcomes (immediate, intermediate and long term), as well as a copy of the DSCIF Glossary of Key Concepts and Terms are included in the application package. The application package is available upon request at email: or telephone 613-952-0753.

Preference will be given to proposals that:

  • involve a broader reach and work with more than one community;
  • partner with other organization(s);
  • involve direct and meaningful youth engagement through health promotion activities;
  • collaborate and engage with relevant stakeholders and intermediaries;
  • work with youth on a longer-term basis to measure behavior change, and increased resiliency;
  • are from organizations that have a clear prevention and health promotion mandate;
  • focus on emerging issues substantiated by research; and
  • are evidence-based and able to contribute to promising practices and/or innovative models.

Low priority will be given to proposals that focus primarily on:

  • awareness raising activities;
  • one-time presentations, events, conferences, and/or workshops;
  • the production of media, social marketing and/or websites that are not integrated into a larger health promotion or prevention initiative; and
  • specific illicit drugs without relevant statistical evidence of prevalence or need.

Please note that the DSCIF is a health promotion and prevention program that does not fund early intervention treatment services. The following are examples of services that should not be included in the proposal.

  • Assessment and referral for treatment: A comprehensive assessment is carried out to match the nature and extent of illicit drug use problems with the type of intervention needed. Referral to appropriate youth related resource(s) is a key service component.
  • Brief interventions: interventions that have a limited number of helping sessions administered over limited or brief time periods to encourage youth to think about their drug using behavior. Brief interventions may incorporate cognitive behavioural approaches, motivational interviewing concepts, and a focus on the clients' strengths.
  • Case management: Treatment of illicit drug use often involves a variety of services. Coordinated case management aims to ensure continuity of care when addressing the multiple needs of youth to maximize the benefits from other treatment and rehabilitation services.
  • Screening: a brief focused process that collects information in only enough detail to determine immediate needs and next steps in the assessment/treatment process. The screening process can also provide information to assist youth in clarifying their own position regarding next steps.


All recipients will be required to participate in two levels of evaluation:

  • A Program evaluation: All project recipients will be expected to participate in a cluster evaluation, where projects with similar outcomes are grouped together and considered collectively. Cluster evaluations will be managed by Health Canada. Projects will be responsible for working with an external evaluator funded by Health Canada to validate survey questions for their project and administer the survey (pre and post-test) to project participants.
  • A Project evaluation: Project recipients will also be expected to participate in a project evaluation. The project evaluation demonstrates how outcomes are achieved, and how the project contributed to DSCIF outcomes. Change over time should be assessed using, at a minimum, a pre/post design. The use of third-party evaluators is strongly encouraged.

Organizations are encouraged to view evaluation as a learning tool and to understand that all outcomes, including those that are different from the original proposal, can be educational and useful in the development of enhanced community efforts to reduce and prevent illicit drug use among youth.

Submission of Application

To receive the solicitation package, contact the DSCIF office by emailing or calling 613-952-0753.

The DSCIF solicitation package includes:

  • Guide for Applicants
  • Application for Funding
  • Budget Template
  • Logic Model
  • Glossary of Key Concepts & Terms

Please note that Health Canada will accept questions up to March 11, 2013. The answers will be available shortly after the question period.

Nunavut and Northwest Territories DSCIF funding has been incorporated into Northern Wellness Approach agreements, which provides respective territorial governments with the opportunity to utilize federal health funding under thematic health objectives and build programs which are responsive to jurisdictionally specific needs. Given the north's integrated health context, the governments of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories will be given the first right of refusal for these funds in 2013/14.

A complete application includes a signed electronic copy and two signed hard copies of the proposal Application Form including all attachments (e.g. work plan, budget, letters of partnership/support, and other related documents).

All applications must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. (EST) on April 8, 2013. Faxed applications will not be accepted. Submit your application by mail and electronically either by e-mail (, CD or USB flash drive to the following address:

Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund
Health Canada, Drugs Program
Strategic Policy Branch
5th Floor, Room A516, Jeanne Mance Building
200 Eglantine Driveway, Tunney's Pasture
Mail Stop: 1905A
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9

Selection Process

Proposals will be reviewed by Health Canada officials to determine their eligibility under the DSCIF criteria. Once complete, these proposals will undergo a detailed assessment that could include a review with provincial / territorial governments and/or substance use/abuse experts. Decisions resulting from the review process are final. There is no formal appeal process for the Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund program.