September 28, 2021, Ottawa – The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a harsh light on the challenging circumstances health researchers face every day in their pursuit of new discoveries and better health outcomes. Specifically, it has revealed the fragility of this undeniably critical sector, which has had to increasingly rely in recent years on charitable donations – many of which have been hit hard by COVID-19 – given the erosion of sustainable federal support.
This week dozens of leaders in health research from HealthCareCAN member hospitals and research institutes across the country convened to unpack the Liberal platform and discuss next steps in the wake of the recent federal election. Participants highlighted the importance of continuing to improve healthcare services for Canadians, calling out the need to reimagine older adult care and improve access to mental health services – with a specific emphasis on children and youth mental health – as key priorities.
Researchers also agreed unanimously that a top priority for the federal government will be to move quickly to address Canada’s worsening health workforce crisis, which is struggling right across the country.
Canada’s health research ecosystem is vital to improving outcomes and high-quality care. This sector is full of potential, but it requires federal attention and support to position Canada as a globally competitive leader in health research and protect the health of Canadians tomorrow and into the future.
Researchers noted with interest the election promise to establish a Canada Advanced Research Projects Agency (CARPA) to help develop and maintain Canadian-led technology and capabilities in high-impact areas. Canada’s hospital-based research institutions are eager to work with the new federal government to help this new agency advance health research and improve healthcare for all Canadians by bringing together talent within both the public and private health innovation sectors.
Every single Canadian has benefited in some way from the incredible work of Canada’s health research workforce. If we are to continue to make breakthroughs that innovate the delivery of care, protect people from disease and improve health outcomes for all, the federal government must outline a clear and sustainable strategy for Canada’s health research sector.
Dr. David Hill, co-chair, HealthCareCAN Vice Presidents of Health Research Committee
Ellen Chesney, co-chair, HealthCareCAN Vice Presidents of Health Research Committee
HealthCareCAN is the national voice of healthcare organizations and hospitals across Canada. We foster informed and continuous, results-oriented discovery and innovation across the continuum of healthcare.
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