The Government of Canada has relied on rapidly evolving science and evidence to inform the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, one that has resulted in over 618,000 reported cases as of January 5, 2021. Although the arrival of a vaccine brings hope to America’s northern neighbor, critical knowledge gaps exist that must be filled to further support ongoing decision-making. Now government officials are taking action as the Honorable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced an $1 million investment to support the COVID-19 Evidence Network. This Network brings together experts to collaborate and rapidly synthesize the best available evidence across the full breadth of Canada’s COVID-19 pandemic response. By providing timely access to the latest research on public health measures, clinical management, health-system arrangements and economic and social impacts, the hope is that policy-makers will better understand the impact that these measures have on Canadian’s health and safety. Led by McMaster University’s Dr. John Lavis, this Network will work with Canadian and international partners to better develop and coordinate ground breaking research on COVID-19, while reducing duplicative efforts around the nation. Along with Dr. Lavis’ leadership comes Jeremy Grimshaw (Ottawa Hospital Research Institute); Andrea Tricco (SPOR Evidence Alliance, based in St. Michael’s Hospital of Unity Health Toronto), and Nancy Santesso (Cochrane Canada based at McMaster University).
The Government of Canada is supporting the COVID-19 Evidence Network through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research so they may provide the latest evidence to decision-makers at the federal, provincial, and territorial levels. In announcing the funding, Minister of Health Hajdu commented Our response to COVID-19 has always been informed by the latest science and evidence, which we get from our internationally-respected Canadian researchers. Through the COVID-19 Evidence Network, our best and brightest will work with provincial, national and international partners so that decision-makers get the information we need to keep Canadians safe through the next phase of this pandemic. Through the Network, we will ensure that Canada continues to be a global leader in COVID-19 research.”