This is an incredibly exciting time in the biopharmaceutical industry – where we’re seeing unparalleled medical advances across a broad range of therapeutic areas that are revolutionizing how certain diseases are diagnosed, treated and, in some cases, cured. Biopharmaceutical innovation is ushering in a new era of medical treatment that is transforming patient lives though breakthrough science, precision medicines, and first-in-class therapies that represent entirely new approaches to treating disease.
The pandemic has shown that our health research and innovation ecosystem is capable of remarkable speed, productivity and impact when we work collaboratively towards a common goal. It has also underscored how reliant our health security, social wellbeing and economic prosperity are on a fully-supported, future-ready ecosystem, and the potential risks of neglect.
This is why we are calling for a whole-of-government strategy for the health research and innovation ecosystem that will support the unique and essential roles contributed by each stakeholder. To this end we ask that Candidates advocate for the following:
Canada’s post-pandemic recovery and future pandemic preparedness depend on having a robust health research and innovation ecosystem that recognizes the unique and essential roles contributed by each stakeholder, and expects and enables trans-sector partnerships between and among stakeholders.
The pandemic has shown that our health research and innovation ecosystem is capable of remarkable speed, productivity and impact when we work collaboratively towards a common goal. Canada needs a whole-of-government approach to health research and innovation policy and investment that reflects and supports the collaborative nature of our ecosystem.
Recent reinvestments into Canadian research and innovation have been welcome and much needed, but Canada remains significantly outpaced internationally and there is much more to do to catch up and lead. Canada must stay focused and continue to invest in fundamental science through the Tri-Council.
We encourage government leaders and representatives to continue to promote research and innovation initiatives that address the needs and ambitions of diverse, highly-qualified research personnel, including the next generation, Indigenous Peoples, women, racialized communities and those of diverse abilities.
The pandemic has demonstrated the critical need—and demand—for robust health data that can accurately inform decision-making, enhance threat surveillance, educate the public and help health leaders gain the upper hand in a crisis, and for digital health tools that can engage patients more fully in their care, improve access to quality health care and innovations for patients, and facilitate innovative ways of conducting health research.
Frailty today is as important as Medicare was in the 1960s – a topic central to healthcare in Canada.
Dr. Duncan Sinclair, Past Board Member, CFN and Former Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Queen′s University
The member companies of Innovative Medicines Canada have a strong history of success in discovering, developing and delivering medicines and vaccines that Canadians need to live healthy and productive lives. We have, over time and as a country, prioritized innovative health research within the health care system, with the effect of creating an environment that allows our best and brightest to do their complex and important work. We want to work with all levels of government will continue to support life sciences research in Canada through effective and thoughtful public policy. This includes developing policies and programs that ensure Canadians have access to new medicines, when they need them.
Pamela Fralick, President, Innovative Medicines Canada
The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating consequences for older adults, especially those living with dementia, and their caregivers. Research from Baycrest and elsewhere suggests that both direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 on the brain may lead to an increase in the incidence of dementia. Now more than ever, government support of research and innovation in aging, brain health, and dementia is imperative. There is a critical need for significant investment both in foundational research to further our understanding of aging and the human brain, and in translation and innovation programs to develop, spread, and scale novel approaches that prevent, detect, and treat dementia. Together, we can create a world in which everyone is empowered to age fearlessly.
Dr. Allison Sekuler, VP Research, Baycrest and Managing Director, Baycrest′s Rotman Research Institute
Canada’s science infrastructure is challenged to move discoveries from the lab to clinical trials. Many of our inventions become targets of foreign takeovers. By addressing the challenges that hamper translation, we‘ll be better situated to advance made-in-Canada innovations like vaccines and immunotherapies. BioCanRx urges all parties to support predictable, long-term investments for preclinical to clinical development of therapies for the benefit of patients and the economy.
Dr. Stéphanie Michaud, President and CEO, BioCanRx
Older adults and long-term care residents have seen devastating impacts this past year. When Canadians ask ‘what next?’ we need to be prepared to offer solutions backed by best evidence and practice. Research and innovation are the backbone of health care progress, feeding into care and economy alike. If we want to see real-world impact, we need to continue investing in the people and the science that are improving health outcomes for Canadians. The Bruyère Research Institute is dedicated to collaborating with industry and government to address the needs of our aging population.
Dr. Heidi Sveistrup, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer, Bruyère Research Institute
Science is a critical economic driver, as is health of population. COVID-19 pandemic is giving us ample evidence. As we build back our capacity, there will be need for new standards of health security and new expectations. Glycomics can offer new avenues to drug discovery, novel methods of biomanufacturing, and more personalized healthcare. The breakthroughs achieved by GlycoNet researchers are addressing the key gap in Canadian health research infrastructure – developing, translating, and commercializing research to realize its full economic potential. As we bring new areas of science to fruition, we make a more sustainable world for future generations with the help of glycomics-based vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.
Dr. Elizabeth Nanak, Chief Executive Director, GlycoNet
The current global health crisis has only reinforced the importance of strengthening life sciences, especially here in Canada. Roche is committed to continuing our investments in the Canadian healthcare ecosystem and being a trusted partner in building a strong life sciences sector to solidify Canada’s position as a leader when it comes to innovation.
Ronnie Miller, President and CEO, Roche Canada
Our university has a long track record of making and responding to change. Through building partnerships across industries, leading experiential learning programs or committing to advance equity and inclusion, we believe in challenging the status quo in pursuit of new possibilities. I couldn’t be more excited about our plans to launch a new kind of medical school, where we can create a new model for primary care — one that’s community-driven, intentionally inclusive and that trains doctors whose cultural awareness and humility are as crucial as their medical skills.
Dr. Mohamed Lachemi, President & Vice Chancellor, Ryerson University
Health charities play an important and complementary role to other research funders, filling essential gaps, promoting patient-centered research and providing direct connections to patient communities. As our sector recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians living with diseases and/or medical conditions will continue to turn to science and ground-breaking research to identify new and innovative approaches to the challenges they face. Critical federal support is needed to stabilize and grow Canada’s health research and innovation system.
Connie Côté, Chief Executive Officer, Health Charities Coalition of Canada
Mood Disorders Society of Canada (MDSC) is dedicated to working tirelessly on behalf of the patient and family community to tackle mental illness and to ensure our priorities and experiences are consistently brought to the forefront. Known for our collaborative approach in driving research and advocating for policy improvements, MDSC supports community mental health organizations, programs and services, from coast to coast. This is an unprecedented time in mental health where we are seeing the ramifications of the pandemic create even more mental health problems and crises. We must actively pursue investments for innovation in therapies and empower collaborative programs and services. At MDSC, we strive to bring together all community stakeholders including health care, research, professionals, and government with the patient community to work together to fight mental illness and improve mental wellness.
Dave Gallson, National Executive Director, Mood Disorders Society of Canada
Lakehead University’s 2019-2024 Research Plan includes Health and Well-Being as one of five research priorities. Our researchers aim to make a difference in the health and well-being of our communities across the age and health continuum, including rural and remote health, addictions and mental health, and medical imaging. We are making significant advances in health research to positively impact those living in Northern Ontario’s remote and rural communities.
Dr. Andrew Dean, VP Research and Innovation, Lakehead University
Through our work with collaborators, communities, governments, and industry, Queen’s University continues to advance research and drive knowledge mobilization and innovation to make a measured impact on Canada and the world.
Dr. Nancy Ross, Vice-Principal (Research), Queen′s University
Fundamental science is necessary for Canada’s post-COVID economic recovery
HealthCareCAN & Research Canada | Ottawa, Ontario
Fundamental science provided the building blocks for the scientific community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and was the foundation for the rapid development of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines to combat the virus.
Addressing Canada’s digital divide requires equitable access to data
Simon Fraser University | Burnaby, British Columbia
Access to data, including having the power to decide how data is used or what questions it answers, is a growing societal divide that’s revealing a dangerous power differential in Canada. Collectively, we need to reimagine roles and responsibilities that steer the process of using data, and the insights it can generate, to address society’s biggest questions and challenges.