School health grant for youth program seeking proposals from students

Press release

A new federal program is encouraging high school students to create mental and physical health initiatives by students, for students, and is providing funds to make those ideas come to life.

The Honourable Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, recently announced the first round of successful projects under the School Health Grant for Youth program. Grants of up to $3,500 are approved for 81 high school students across Canada to develop youth-driven and youth-inspired initiatives that encourage and promote healthy living in their schools.

Building on the success of round one, Minister Saks also announced the launch of a second round of funding under the School Health Grant for Youth program. From now until April 15, students are encouraged to bring forward their best ideas for initiatives that take place either during the school year at school, or in the community during summer break.

Encouraging youth to learn about healthy habits can have long-lasting, positive effects on their overall health as they grow up. Even more beneficial is when young people are empowered to define their own health goals, bring forward their own solutions, and inspire their peers to live in a healthy way.

“The School Health Grant for Youth is all about putting ideas into action. We want youth to feel empowered to take control of their mental and physical health, inspire others, and contribute to an environment of belonging and understanding in the classroom. I congratulate all the grant recipients from round one, and look forward to seeing the creative projects that students bring forward for round two,” said Saks.

The existing initiatives align with four health priorities: to reduce substance-related harms, foster positive mental health and well-being, promote healthy eating and nutrition, or encourage physical activity among their peers. For this second round of grants, youth are welcome to also develop projects that address the mental health needs of young people affected by potentially traumatizing events in Canada and around the world. These projects can help create a safe space to gain a deeper understanding of different cultures and lifestyles to improve positive mental health in schools and communities.

“The School Health Grant for Youth encourages young people to help each other with credible knowledge, tools and resources on mental and physical health that respond to their school’s unique realities and needs. It is a great way for students to put ideas into action and give back to their school and community, while promoting healthy behaviours and gaining valuable life skills such as leadership and project planning. Congratulations to the recipients – I can’t wait to see what great ideas come forward in the second round,” said Mark Holland, Minister of Health

For more information on the program, and how to apply, go to the School Health Grant for Youth webpage.

More information about the School Health Grant for Youth

Please be aware that it may take approximately 2 months after the close of the solicitation for approved youth applicants to receive their grant funding. Therefore, ensure that the activities outlined in your Application do not begin within the next 2 months, and plan your activities accordingly.

The School Health Grant for Youth provides Canadian youth, ages 13 to 19 and enrolled in grades 9 to 12 the opportunity to apply for up to $1500 of grant funding. The goal of the grant is to empower youth to develop their own initiatives that encourage and promote healthy living in their schools and communities.

Projects must match up with PHAC’s mandate and encourage healthy living by teaching participants about important topics, sharing resources and information, and helping participants develop healthy skills. Plus, they should focus on 1 of the following priorities:

  • Positive mental health and well-being
    • Example: Create a peer group/community that fosters community connectedness and understanding of different cultures and lifestyles.
    • Example: Host a book club to read and discuss mental health and wellbeing literature in a safe group atmosphere.

Note: For this cycle of grant funding, projects which aim to build knowledge, understanding, and coping skills among your peers to address the mental health challenges arising from events in Canada and around the world are welcomed.

  • Healthy eating and nutrition
    • Example: Organize a cooking workshop to increase awareness of healthy eating. Use Canada’s Food Guide to help you decide on the types of meals to cook.
    • Example: Organize a registered dietician to speak at a school assembly about how to be mindful of daily eating habits, using information from Canada’s Food Guide.
  • Physical activity
    • Example: Organize an intramural sports program to help youth learn a new sport.
    • Example: Start an inclusive sports program that is accessible for youth with disabilities to create a supportive school environment.
  • Reducing substance-related harms
    • Example: Host an awareness event on vaping in your school and how it affects students.
    • Example: Organize a workshop on preventing and reducing substance-related harms, focused on reducing stigma and holding non-judgemental conversations.

Who can apply

To apply you must:

  • be a youth between the ages of 13-19
  • be a student enrolled in grades 9-12
  • be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident in Canada
  • not be a federal government employee at the time of applying
  • Te deadline to apply is Monday, April 15, 2024 (5:00p.m. EDT). Note: Teachers and school administrators are not eligible to submit a grant application. However, they can act as a mentor and a youth ally. To empower youth and to ensure that the projects remain youth-led, youth applicants are responsible for submitting their own applications via their own email accounts. They can choose to copy their mentor, but only applications received directly from youth will be reviewed.

Contact us

For more information about the School Health Grant for Youth, or if you have additional questions (or just need a helping hand), contact us at

Previously funded youth projects

Positive mental health and well-being

  • Wellness and Empowerment Day (WAE Day): Workshops focusing on life skills, stress management, and healthy relationships. This day aimed to support the diverse needs of students and strengthen the school community.
  • Social Justice Coalition Drug Awareness Expo: This exposition was held to increase awareness about substance-related harms and mental health issues through trivia games, poster displays, student-led research presentations and sharing of personal experiences.

Healthy eating and nutrition

  • Cooking and culture club: Cooking club focused on providing students with the skills and knowledge necessary to make healthy food choices. Students learned about the link between food choices and overall health during weekly cooking club meetings. Students also learned basic cooking skills which provided them with resources to make healthier food decisions. Meetings featured unique recipes from a culture within the school community, and used authentic ingredients fostering an appreciation for diversity.

Physical activity

  • Youth Reconnecting Round Dance: A school day event that reconnected youth to Indigenous culture and promoted physical activity with special guests including community Elders and drummers.