Research Canada conducts regular national public opinion polls to generate current data on the views of Canadians about health research and health innovation. These public opinion polls demonstrate Canadians’ strong support for health research and further show that Canadians see a strong public and private role in funding health research. Canadians understand health research improves health and creates tomorrow’s jobs. They also know health research holds a promise for the future–possible cures and better health care for all.
A National Public Opinion Poll
On Health and Medical Research
In July 2021, Research Canada once again polled Canadians to ask if they would be likely to vote for a Candidate who supported increased funding for several political priorities.
Once again, 86% said they would be likely to vote for a Candidate who supported increased funding to strengthen health and medical research. Compared with 2019, strengthening health and medical research is a slightly higher priority for Canadians in 2021 than creating more jobs and improving the quality of education.
Key Findings from the CanadaSpeaks! 2019 Poll
Politicians who campaign on increased funding for health and medical research will get more traction with Canadians:
- An overwhelming majority of Canadians (86%) are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports increased funding for health and medical research, a rate of support consistent with four years ago (84%).
Canadians are increasingly convinced that Canada and their province should be global leaders in health and medical research:
- 91% of Canadians say Canada should be a global leader in health and medical research as opposed to 86% of Canadians in 2006 and 89% of Canadians in 2009 while 86% say that their province should be a national leader as compared to 76% in 2006 and 81% in 2009.
Canadians view health and medical research as having greater impact over the past decade:
- 91% of Canadians say that health and medical research makes an important contribution to the healthcare system with a notable increase in the percentage of Canadians who consider it very important (49% in 2015 compared to 61% in 2019).
- 81% of Canadians say that health and medical research makes an important contribution to the economy. More notable is the increase among Canadians who consider it a very important contribution (41% compared to 31% in 2015).
There continues to be a strong view among Canadians that health and medical research should be funded directly by the federal government:
- 9 out of 10 Canadians agree that basic research is necessary and should be supported by the federal government and consider it important that federal and provincial governments invest in the education and training of health and medical researchers.
- Canadians are of the view; however, that government spending on health and medical research has decreased dramatically to an average of 14 cents on the healthcare dollar now compared to an average of 23 cents in 2009.
The majority of Canadians are still willing to pay out of pocket to support health and medical research and to pay more taxes for Canadian-made health science innovations and technologies:
- 6 out of 10 Canadians are willing to pay out of pocket for new health and medical research projects and would be willing to pay $1 more a week in taxes if they knew the revenues would pay for government investment in Canadian-made health science innovations and technologies.
Most Canadians are not familiar with where health and medical research takes place, nor are they aware of opportunities to take part in research; however, their interest in getting involved and their support of clinical research is high:
- Familiarity with local health and medical research going on at universities and hospitals remains low among Canadians with only 29% being familiar in 2019, a slight drop from 2009 (31%), and awareness of opportunities to take part in health and medical research is unchanged since 2015 with only 24% of Canadians aware of current opportunities.
- Interest in getting involved in health and medical research continues to be very high with 63% of Canadians interested in participating in health and medical research and 93% saying clinical research has important value.
The research was conducted by Maru/Blue between March 1st and 3rd, 2019, and was an online survey of 1,511 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada panelists. The survey has a margin of error of of +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.
About the Partners
The six leading health organizations which commissioned the research: Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), the Health Charities Coalition of Canada, HealthCareCAN, Innovative Medicines Canada, MEDEC – Canada’s Medical Technology Companies and Research Canada: An Alliance for Health Discovery.