Program overview :
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Health Workforce Innovation Challenge?
This 12-month open innovation challenge is designed to support healthcare organizations and their teams in experimenting with innovative ideas and new solutions for the retention and support of their current workforce.
Registration is now open.
The challenge supports teams to move the dial on the retention and support of their current health workforce. In addition, it is designed to help teams go farther, together, through community, networking, and knowledge-sharing.
2. Why should my organization and team participate?
Are you and your colleagues trying—or wanting to try—new approaches that:
- Foster physically safe work environments
- Enhance sustainable staffing
- Build flexible work structures
- Provide equitable and appropriate compensation
- Ensure supportive and inclusive workplaces
- Support career enhancements
Then this innovation challenge is for you.
It features many opportunities for monetary awards with the sooner you join, the more award opportunities you will have. In fact, your team could potentially be awarded up to $122,000, if you are able to maximize all that the program offers.
It also is designed to support teams via community, networking and knowledge-sharing. Specifically, it will:
- Connect your team with like-minded innovators across Canada to share, learn, celebrate, and build on successes together.
- Provide expert coaching supports and a wide array of resources, including webinars, knowledge products and peer-to-peer networking – to help you and your team tackle problems, learn about health workforce retention and support, and plan for long-term success.
- Share evidence-informed tools and best practices to help address gaps and meet your unique community and healthcare workforce needs.
- Help raise the profile of your team and initiatives.
- Support your team in tracking its progress, so you can determine your success.
3. Why now?
If you work on the frontlines, you probably have experienced it firsthand: Canada’s healthcare workers are facing high levels of stress and burnout leading to increased turnover, critical staffing shortages and impacts on the safety and quality care of patients, residents and clients across the care continuum.
Despite these ongoing challenges, those working in Canada’s healthcare sector have proven to be creative and resourceful, with many dedicated people, teams and organizations across the health system working on innovative solutions to address the ongoing health workforce issues head on.
To support and inspire, Healthcare Excellence Canada is offering the Health Workforce Innovation Challenge to teams in any publicly funded healthcare organization in Canada who want to experiment with new ideas and test innovations toward the retention and support of their current workforce.
4. Who can participate?
Teams that have work underway or plans to launch a new initiative are welcome to join and can be from any type of publicly funded healthcare organization in Canada, including hospitals, long-term care homes, home and community care services, mental health and addictions services, and primary care teams.
Teams can include multiple sites, and the Lead Site (see details in questions #6 and #7 below) must represent an organization that provides publicly funded health and/or social services in Canada. Regulated public and private organizations and/or charitable and non-profit organizations providing health and social care related services in Canada are also eligible. Teams can also include supportive partners such as unions, research and safety councils, and consultants from the private sector.
Teams, sites and their members must meet the qualification requirements to participate in the challenge (See Terms and Conditions for full details).
5. Are some individuals or teams excluded from participating?
Specific exclusions are described in the Terms and Conditions. Generally, people employed by Healthcare Excellence Canada or its affiliates, including Supporting Organizations, are not eligible to participate.
Some sites are also not eligible to participate if they are:
- Located outside of Canada
- A department or agency of the Government of Canada
- Do not otherwise satisfy the requirements set out in the Terms and Conditions
6. Who can be a Team Leader?
A Team Leader must satisfy the conditions outlined in the Terms and Conditions. These include being a resident of Canada, having reached the legal age of majority in their province or territory, and having the authority and approval of sites and team members associated with their team. Each Team Leader is required to register and identify:
- One team member who is a senior officer or director from the team’s organization (demonstrating endorsement)
- One team member who is a licensed or regulated health or social care provider and/or who works as a front-line staff
- A patient/ resident/ client and/or family representative who experience and/or need care.
The Team Leader does not need to fulfill one of these roles, but to satisfy the requirements of a team to be eligible to participate in the challenge, teams must include these members and in their registration.
7. What is a Lead Site?
A Lead Site is considered the primary participating organization in the challenge for the purposes of any data submissions and/or recipient of monetary awards. Lead Sites can be organizations in Canada providing health and social care related services, inclusive of:
- Publicly funded health and/or social services organizations
- Regulated public or private organizations
- Charitable or non-profit organizations
A Lead Site must designate one Site Leader, who is often the Team Lead for the challenge. Site Leads must meet the eligibility requirements as outlined in the Terms and Conditions.
8. Can our Team have more than one participating Site?
Yes, teams are eligible to include additional Sites as part of their participation, but each Site must have an identified Site Leader as outlined in the Terms and Conditions.
Sites are also eligible to participate on more than one team, however the data from any one Site may not be used by more than one Team for the purposes of any monetary award opportunities.
9. Can our organization register for more than one initiative?
Yes, as long as the initiatives are not using and reporting on the same data. Please see Section 3 of the Terms and Conditions.
10. What are the benefits of joining the Health Workforce Innovation Challenge?
- Being part of a broader community with opportunities for mutual support, idea-exchanges, and learnings
- Connection with a community of innovators, including access to expert coach, peer support and networking opportunities
- Bragging rights, including opportunities to profile your work more broadly via Healthcare Excellence Canada’s communications opportunities
- Tools to support improvement, as well as webinars and other ways to connect and learn across teams
- Regular reporting to track progress against team-set outcome indicators
- Flexible participation: you can choose the extent to which you take part in learning and exchanging opportunities
11. What monetary awards are available?
A total of up to $858,000 in awards are available and to be earned across participating teams, rewarding measurable impact and success in moving the dial on workforce retention and support and increasing the number of staff reached. The awards are:
- Innovation Kickstart Awards of $2,000 each, just for registering in the Health Workforce Innovation Challenge.
- Innovation Description Awards of $5,000 each for submitting a description summary of your innovation.
- Mini-Challenge Awards of $5,000 each for creating outcomes plans and demonstrating senior leadership engagement and sustainable solutions.
- Dinosaur Mini-Challenge Awards of $5,000 each for submitting a description of how to simplify or change an aspect of your team’s tasks or practices to make it easier to deliver even better, safer care.
- Impact Awards of $5,000 for demonstrating the measurable progress you are making against your primary indicator such as reduced staff turnover, vacancy and absenteeism rates, reduced staff stress rates, or improved workplace culture.
- Collective Impact Achievement Awards of $10,000 focused on teams working together and reaching many* healthcare workers through their collective efforts. (*number to be determined closer to the launch of this award)
- A Mid-Term Retention Progress Award for each stream: $10,000 for the team with the 3rd best score; $15,000 for the team with the 2nd best mid-term score; and $25,000 for the team with the best mid-term score)
- An Overall Retention Achievement Award for each stream: $15,000 for the team with the 3rd best score; $25,000 for the team with the 2nd best score; and $50,000 for the team with the best score)
More information about these opportunities and team deliverables can be found in our key dates document.
Plus, other incentives and opportunities for awards may be announced as the challenge unfolds.
Participating teams are eligible to be awarded up to $122,000 if all program offers are maximized (See Terms and Conditions for full details).
12. How will teams assess and report progress?
Teams will identify and define outcome indicators relevant to their innovations and define one primary indicator to measure against and report on quarterly through the challenge’s portal.
Examples of indicators could include (but are not limited to): reduced turnover/vacancy/absenteeism rates, mental health and wellness, joy in work, psychological safety measure(s), less stress or burnout amongst staff, improved workplace culture, a patient safety consideration, increased team-based care, or others as defined by the team.
Teams will also be invited to join, together, to move the dial even further by contributing data pertaining to a collective reach indicator and targeting interprofessional healthcare worker reach. Participating teams will report their reach on a quarterly basis alongside the submission of their outcomes data.
Healthcare Excellence Canada staff can assist teams with identifying their indicators and measuring and reporting tools.
Also, please see reporting dates and requirements outlined in Section 8 of the Terms and Conditions.
13. Can a team measure its initiative against multiple outcomes indicators?
Yes, teams can select one or more retention and support themes and define one or more outcomes indicators. Teams, however, will have to identify one primary outcomes indicator for the purpose of quarterly reporting and award opportunities.
Please see Section 8 of the Terms and Conditions.
14. What if a team’s outcomes cannot be measured over the course of the challenge?
While teams may be working on long-term outcomes, our Healthcare Excellence Canada team and expert coaches can assist teams with also defining outcomes indicators that could demonstrate progress within the timeframe of the challenge.
15. How will the awards be determined?
Awards will be determined in varying ways – such as random draws, mini-challenge submissions scored by judges, or the progress of teams against their indicators.
For full details, please see Section 11 of the Terms and Conditions.
16. Are initiatives that are already underway eligible to apply for the challenge?
Teams can register with an existing initiative or have plans to launch a new one. At the time of registration, teams should provide a brief description of the current or intended initiative.
Teams also registering with a new initiative should be aware that the Health Workforce Innovation Challenge is not a seed or grant funding program, but an exciting opportunity for award opportunities as your initiative unfolds. It also provides community, networking and idea exchange opportunities and light coaching.
17. What are key dates for the challenge?
- Registration is open until April 30, 2024, at 11:59:59 p.m. ET. Teams can register through the challenge portal.
- The challenge runs until July 2024 for all teams, regardless of when they registered.
- Various awards are available throughout the challenge. Go here for the full list of all awards and their timing.
- Teams can submit quarterly data for their chosen outcomes indicator and/or target reach to track and report on progress and remain eligible to receive larger monetary awards.
- Webinars offering learning and connection opportunities will be offered every second month.
Additional supports and peer-to-peer networking opportunities will be offered throughout the challenge’s entire 12 months. You can keep abreast of all that is available, and when, on the challenge portal.
18. Are there additional supports available for smaller or more remote teams and organizations?
To support teams from a variety of areas and backgrounds, teams should self-select at registration where they best fit within two challenge streams:
- Northern and Remote Teams: this stream encompasses organizations that provide publicly funded and/or social services in the Provincial and Territorial North, including the three Territories, and northern sub-regions of the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Others in the rest of Canada: This stream encompasses organizations that provide publicly funded and/or social services within Canada.
Teams will receive supports tailored to their stream, including monetary award opportunities based on the progress against their outcomes. Healthcare Excellence Canada will also provide content and peer-to-peer networking opportunities tailored to northern and remote teams.
19. What are the chances that teams will win a monetary award?
The sooner teams register, the better chance they have to win awards!
Healthcare Excellence Canada may also announce additional award opportunities throughout the challenge.
20. Are there criteria for how teams can use their monetary awards?
Teams should use the awards toward benefitting their initiatives. There is no reporting requirement for their use of the awards.
21. Will teams receive long-term support from Healthcare Excellence Canada once the challenge is over?
Sustainable solutions awards are part of the challenge and designed to help teams plan for long-term success and sustainability. Please see Section 11 of the Terms and Conditions.
Healthcare Excellence Canada also is exploring opportunities to offer continued support through access to resources and programming.
22. How can I join the Health Workforce Innovation Challenge?
Your team can register here, and anytime up until April 30, 2024.
Joining the challenge is simple and can be done in under 10 minutes!
To register, you will need:
- Name and contact information of your Team Leader
- Name and contact information of each site and its Site Leader
- Name and contact information of each team member associated with the team, including a:
- Senior officer or director within the site (demonstrating endorsement)
- Licensed or regulated health or social care provider and/or who works as a front-line staff
- Patient/resident/client and/or caregiver representative
- The stream applicable to the team
- The person or organization (business name) who will receive awards, if presented
Teams will also need to provide the following information by the timelines specified below to be eligible to participate fully in the challenge:
- At the time of registration, a brief description of the current OR intended intervention(s) or care pathway(s) key to achieving improvements within one or more of any of the suggested indicators highlighted in question #12 above.
- Within 60 days of completing registration, a brief outcomes plan confirming the indicator(s) and population reach that the team has selected for the challenge.
23. Can new members or project sites join the team at a later date?
All are welcome. There is no limit to the number of members or the number of sites on a team and changes can be made throughout the challenge. Beyond the Team Lead that is required to be registered to the challenge’s portal, it is not necessary to have every member of your team registered on the portal – only if desired.
After completing the team’s registration, the Team Lead can make the following changes at any time through the portal:
- Add new team members if they satisfy the eligibility requirements set out in the Terms and Conditions
- Remove team members
- Add new sites if they satisfy the eligibility requirements set out in the Terms and Conditions
- Remove sites
24. Can an individual register if they are not currently part of a team?
An individual can begin registration but will need to assemble a team to meet the eligibility requirements.
25. Do teams need to obtain ethics approval to participate?
Healthcare Excellence Canada does not require teams to complete an ethics approval. However, teams may wish to verify if this is required by their organization.
26. Does Healthcare Excellence Canada expect teams to consist only of personnel from their organization’s Human Resources department, since the challenge is related to staff retention and support?
Healthcare Excellence Canada anticipates that participating teams will include various departments, healthcare providers, and other healthcare personnel within their organizations, which could include team members from their Human Resources Department.
Healthcare Excellence Canada also encourages teams to apply from any type of publicly funded healthcare organization within the care continuum.
27. What is the role of a team’s patient, resident, client or family representative?
Teams are required to include a person from their organization with care needs – such as a hospital patient, long-term care resident, home and community care client, or family member or essential care partner.
Based on their lived experience, their role is to provide input to their team on whether the team’s work and progress are relevant to the care needs of the people their organization serves.
Healthcare Excellence Canada encourages all innovation challenge teams to meaningfully integrate lived experience perspectives through active listening, engagement and collaboration.
28. What is Healthcare Excellence Canada’s definition of frontline staff? Are they required to be a licensed provider? Is a manager considered frontline staff?
Frontline staff includes anyone who is a licensed or regulated health or social care provider and / or who works for the team’s lead site organization. A manager can be considered frontline staff.
For further information, please see Section 3 of the Terms and Conditions.
29. Will Healthcare Excellence Canada provide support to pay for staff and patient/resident/client/ family team members to participate?
Healthcare Excellence Canada will provide support via the challenge’s awards. For example, we have designed an award to help support participating teams with early participation in the challenge. Called the Innovation Kickstart Award, it consists of four random draws throughout the challenge. All teams successfully enrolled in the challenge will be entered for a chance to win one of 45 kickstart awards of $2,000.
Please see section 11 of the Terms and Conditions for more information about the challenge’s award opportunities.
Healthcare Excellence Canada also may announce additional award opportunities throughout the challenge.
30. Who owns the intellectual property of the team’s work?
Participating in the challenge does not affect who owns the intellectual property of the team’s work. However, Healthcare Excellence Canada may share information you’ve submitted to the challenge, such as descriptions of your work (written or submitted videos) and your team profile.
31. Can teams apply if they are currently enrolled in other Healthcare Excellence Canada programs?
Yes, however, any monetary awards received through the Health Workforce Innovation Challenge cannot be used toward initiatives receiving seed funding through other Healthcare Excellence Canada programs.
32. If more than one team in an organization participates, can they share data to be eligible for the awards?
Each team must use their own data. Please see Section 3 of the Terms and Conditions.
33. What is the role of the coaches and can teams schedule times to meet with a coach?
Coaches will bring a range of knowledge, experience, and expertise related to staff retention and support to participating teams. This will include on topics such as leadership for improvement, senior leader and patient/resident/client/family engagement, change management, evidence-informed design, evaluation and measurement, and knowledge-sharing.
Teams will be offered opportunities to meet with their coach throughout the challenge via coaching hubs (alongside other teams), rapid survey responses, and one-on-one coaching.
34. What is the role of supporting organizations?
The Health Workforce Innovation Challenge is supported by a coalition of leading Canadian healthcare organizations. These supporting organizations are helping to:
- Share the news about the challenge
- Encourage teams to register
- Recruit volunteer judges
- Develop content and curriculum
35. Where should we direct questions about the Health Workforce Innovation Challenge?
Please contact us at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you!