Blue Line

Government of Canada announces new fund to complement 9-8-8 helpline to address equity gaps for eligible distress and crisis centres across Canada

September 8, 2023  By Government of Canada

Sep. 8, 2023, Toronto, Ont. – Every action matters when it comes to suicide prevention, from learning the proper language to avoid stigma, to understanding how to support someone who may be considering suicide. Every day, approximately 12 people in Canada die by suicide. Suicide affects people of all ages and backgrounds and the Government of Canada is taking steps to provide people across Canada with the best possible mental health and crisis intervention supports and resources.

Ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th, the Honourable Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced a call for proposals to access $8 million in federal funding to address gaps in equity, diversity and inclusion within Canada’s distress line sector. Distress lines are a vital part of Canada’s public health approach to suicide prevention, and this program will help ensure distress lines and centres are able to respond to the needs and experience of everyone who calls, regardless of their background, culture or experience.

“When people are in crisis, they need immediate support. Crisis Centres are an integral part of our public health approach to suicide prevention and are often the first point of contact for people who are struggling. They provide that urgent support to people who need it most, no matter their race, religion, culture or socio-economic background. With access to this funding, these important service organizations will be able to increase their ability to support and respond to the diverse needs and experiences of every person who reaches out to them,” said the Honourable Ya’ara Saks.

This initiative to enhance equity, diversity and inclusion in the distress line sector is an important complement to the 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline, which will launch in Canada on November 30, 2023.


Existing and eligible distress centres will have opportunities to apply for grant funding to help build their capacity and ability to meet the diverse needs and experiences of those who call and text for help to ensure equitable service.

For more information on how to apply for the grant funding, visit here.

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