Governments at all levels in Canada have responded to the COVID-19 crisis quickly and at scale. They have made a range of policy decisions intended to manage the public health effects of the pandemic, and broadly sought to offset the economic consequences of those decisions with fiscal and monetary actions. All of this has been done quickly and in a dynamic context.

As we move through the spring and into the summer of 2020, we are moving past the initial emergency response and embarking on the early stages of recovery. While the path forward is uncertain, we expect this phase will last at least until a vaccine and/or effective treatment of COVID-19 is widely available, and – following that – until our society and economy have returned to pre-pandemic stability.

Recovery will require public policy innovation on many fronts. Max Bell Foundation seeks to help support that innovation by making grants that align with our existing approach and criteria, but that respond to a new program priority:

Development and implementation of strategies to help Canada and Canadians recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

What public policy and practice strategies could be included? The following issues illustrate the range of possibilities, and is not intended to be prescriptive:

  • For individuals and firms being helped by CERB and CEWS, what are the pathways back to stability?
  • Some occupations may be permanently altered by the pandemic. What should be done to help displaced workers transition into different occupations?
  • Many are calling for infrastructure investment to help stimulate the economy, and some are suggesting such investment should be made with equity and/or sustainability in mind. What are the best options for economic stimulus?
  • Our education systems have undergone significant disruption. Some elements have moved online, bringing equity and other challenges. Other elements have been dropped altogether, leaving significant gaps. What are the pathways to a post-COVID education system?
  • Health systems have been at the centre of the emergency response, revealing both strengths and weaknesses. What should post-COVID healthcare in Canada look like, and what are the pathways to get there?

This program priority is additional to our existing Health and Wellness, Education, and Environment program priorities. All of our regular granting criteria and processes apply to the new priority  – they are descried at

We encourage letters of intent that respond to this priority and will respond to them expeditiously.