CIHR Understanding and Mitigating the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Children, Youth and Families in Canada - Operating Grant 2021


The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) with the CIHR Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH), in collaboration with the CIHR Institute of Aging (IA); the CIHR Institute of Gender and Health (IGH); the CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (IHSPR); the CIHR Institute of Indigenous Peoples Health (IIPH); the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA); the CIHR Institute of Population and Public Health (IPPH); in partnership with the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

For More Information

For additional information, please visit the CIHR website for

  • Program guidelines
  • Application forms
  • Evaluation criteria


This funding opportunity focuses on a gap in research on the impacts of both the co-occurring stressful and traumatic events that stem from the current COVID-19 pandemic, and the restrictions related to associated public health mitigation measures on the health and well-being of families (including single-parent families, families of working mothers and same-sex couples, and multi-generational families), children and youth (boys, girls and non-binary or gender diverse youth) in Canada. Both risks and benefits of settings (i.e., virtual and other models of remote delivery, hybrid, in-person), as well as impacts of differing durations of measures such as closures, are of interest.

This funding opportunity will only support projects relevant to children, youth and families in Canada in one (1) or more of the following research areas:

  • The impacts of changes to and/or disruption of supports (including family and peer interactions, including intergenerational, as well as more formal supports), services and programming (both formal programming, including extra-curricular activities,  and nutrition programs, as well as more informal elements such as outdoor play and access to outdoor spaces) that impact mental and physical health, development and well-being. This includes primary environments such as the home and community, healthcare delivery settings, childcare and schools, as well as external interventions (e.g., special education services, child abuse identification and reporting, mental health interventions, physical health and wellness programs, prenatal classes, cultural programming, school-based and extracurricular programming).
  • The effects of changes in federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and local policies and guidelines regarding the delivery of services, supports and programming on physical health and development, mental health, social and emotional development, and cognitive development.
  • The effects of introducing new and/or alternative services, supports and programming, and/or policies and guidelines on physical health and development, mental health, social and emotional development, and cognitive development.
  • Changes in population health status resulting from decreased access to routine healthcare, including childhood vaccinations and routine childhood screening, as well as changes in physical health.
  • Other factors that may be impacting the health and well-being of children, youth and families related to the co-occurring stressful and traumatic events that stem from the current COVID-19 pandemic (including the impact of decisions made regarding grandparents and other at-risk family members within multigenerational households), and/or the restrictions related to associated public health mitigation measures.


For an application to be eligible:

  1. The Nominated Principal Applicant must be:

    1. an independent researcher (at the time of funding) or a knowledge user affiliated with a Canadian postsecondary institution and/or its affiliated institutions (including hospitals, research institutes and other non-profit organizations with a mandate for health research and/or knowledge mobilization);

      < >If the Nominated Principal Applicant is a knowledge user, there must be at least one Principal Applicant who is an independent researcher.

      an individual affiliated with an Indigenous non-governmental organization in Canada with a research and/or knowledge mobilization mandate;


    2. an Indigenous non-governmental organization in Canada with a research and/or knowledge mobilization mandate.

  2. The Nominated Principal Applicant must be appointed at a CIHR eligible institution at the time of funding (see Administration of Funds).

  3. The Nominated Principal Applicant must have their substantive role in Canada for the duration of the requested grant term.

  4. The applicant team must include at least one Principal Knowledge User.

  5. For applications by and with Indigenous Peoples (including First Nations, Inuit and Métis) the research team must include:

    1. At least one Principal Applicant (may be the Nominated Principal Applicant) who self-identifies as First Nations, Inuit or Métis and/or can provide evidence of having meaningful and culturally safe involvement with Indigenous Peoples.

      • More information on how to complete the Indigenous self-declaration form (Mandatory for applications by Indigenous Peoples) can be found in the How to Apply section under Download Supplemental Application Material
    2. an Indigenous Elder and/or an Indigenous Knowledge Keeper* identified on the application as a Principal Knowledge User or Knowledge User.

  6. The Nominated Principal Applicant must have successfully completed one of the sex- and gender-based analysis training modules available online through the CIHR Institute of Gender and Health and submit a Certificate of Completion. Select and complete the training module most applicable to your project. Applicants are encouraged to review "How to integrate sex and gender in research", “Why Sex and Gender Need to be Considered in COVID-19 Research”, and “Meet the Methods Series: Quantitative intersectional study design and primary data collection”, as well as consult the evaluation criteria. See How to Apply for more details.

  7. An individual or organization can only submit one application as a Nominated Principal Applicant within this competition. If the Nominated Principal Applicant submits more than one application, CIHR will automatically withdraw the last application(s) submitted based on time-stamp of submission.

*A Knowledge Keeper (also known as a Knowledge Holder or a Knowledge Guardian) is an Indigenous person, regardless of age, who possesses the Indigenous cultural knowledge necessary for the proposed research project or activities, as recognized, validated, and authenticated by the Indigenous community.

Funding Availability

The total amount available for this funding opportunity is $3,455,000. 

Maximum Project Value

The maximum amount per grant is $150,000 

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

One year

Special Notes

Please note that research activities carried out in the context of COVID-19 need to adhere to the University of Guelph COVID-19 research principles, policies, guidelines and processes as they may be updated from time to time and communicated on the Office of Research web-page.


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

Internal Deadline

Applicant to submit a copy of the complete application, the routing slip and signatures page(s) along with a complete OR5 form to:,

External Deadline

Applicant to complete and submit Full Application, follow the instructions in the Grants – Application Guidelines, along with any additional instructions found under “Specific Instructions”  in the How to Apply section of the guidelines

Information For Co-applicants

If you need to meet a deadline set by the lead institution for this opportunity, please ensure that you provide the Office of Research with at least five days in advance of the lead institution’s deadline to review the application, or your proposed component of the project. Please be in touch with the Office of Research (contact information below) ahead of the deadline if it looks like it will be difficult for you to submit all the required documentation on time (i.e. budget, proposal, OR-5 Form).

For Questions, please contact


Office of Research

Ornella McCarron, Grants Officer
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x52832

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