Policy Questions to ask Candidates
Below is a list of questions you may ask federal Candidates when you raise the importance of health research and innovation as key policy issues for this election:
- Does your party support increased investments in the Tri-Council agencies’ (the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) budgets to advance health research?
- Does your party support increased investments to support the next generation of health researchers and innovators—graduate students, trainees and postdoctoral fellows—including young Indigenous and racialized scholars?
- Does your party support increased investments and the development of policies that advance equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility in Canadian health research and innovation?
- Does your party support targeted investments to those sectors that have faced significant challenges due to the pandemic—academic health science centres, health charities, post-secondary institutions and the health and biosciences sector?
- Does your party support increased investments and the development of policies that support an enabling environment for trans-sector partnerships?
- Does your party support investments to help digitalize our health system?
- If your party is elected, will you form a government that signals Canada is a science and innovation nation?
Answers to Questions You May Be Asked
Below are some questions you may be asked by federal candidates when you raise the importance of health research and innovation as key policy issues for this election.
Why should I be concerned about health research when my constituents are more worried about Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery and healthcare?
The pandemic has shown just how critical health research is to our economic and health security. In just one year, four different COVID-19 vaccines were approved by Health Canada—far sooner than the likely 10-year timeline predicted by many experts early in the pandemic—and much of the country is now reopened. Future pandemics and infectious disease outbreaks are inevitable, and reinvesting in health research now is the key to our future preparedness.
Health research was already tackling some of this country’s greatest health and health system challenges before the pandemic. Health research provides us with the evidence we require to decrease wait times and provide better access to health services and treatment. We cannot improve our health system without the knowledge we acquire from research that allows us to make informed decisions about new interventions and innovative system strategies. This evidence can only come from research that is rigorous, integrated and based on fact. Research helps to ensure a health system that is adaptable, responsive, innovative, cost-effective and accountable. It also contributes to economic efficiency by identifying practices and interventions which are not adding value and should be discontinued.
How can your organization ask for an increase in public investment in health research when there has been a substantial increase in your sector over the past several years, and significant investments made during the course of the pandemic? What about other priorities for government?
Canada has made a significant commitment to health research over a decade and a half. The health research community sincerely appreciates the substantial investments made in recent years, as well as the investments made in Canadian health research an innovation as part of the country’s response to COVID-19. As encouraged as we are, Research Canada remains concerned about the impact of previous underinvestment on our next generation of fundamental science research and on our ecosystem’s capacity to respond effectively to future health crises. The health research and innovation communities want to make sure that the full potential of these investments to propel Canada forward through an extraordinarily competitive global market is realized, rather than merely stabilizing the status quo.
Where do Canadians stand on the money being spent on health research?
Canadians have not wavered in their commitment to the importance of supporting health and medical research because they recognize the benefits it can bring to our health and to our economy. Canadians are increasingly convinced that Canada should be a global leader in health and medical research, according to a survey on health research and health innovation released in the spring of 2019 by six leading national health organizations. A majority of Canadians say they 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. In 2021, Canadians are still more likely to vote for a candidate who supports increased funding for health and medical research.
 The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, the Health Charities Coalition of Canada, HealthCareCAN, Innovative Medicines Canada, Medtech Canada and Research Canada
The survey, CanadaSpeaks! 2019 updates the results from landmark surveys in 2006, 2009 and 2015.
Why should I make health research and health innovation my priorities?
The benefits of health research are the priorities of Canadians: improved health, an efficient and sustainable health system and a prosperous economy that creates jobs. Canadians hold their healthcare system near and dear to their hearts. Health research will be critical to facing the most pressing challenges we are currently facing in our healthcare system.
- Provides the evidence that facilitates sound decision-making and provides governments with the information required to develop sound public policy
- Provides the healthcare system with the tools it needs to effectively diagnose and treat Canadians when they become ill
- Provides the means to test the effectiveness of new treatments; first in controlled environments, through clinical trials, then in actual use, through ongoing surveillance
The return on Canada’s investment in health research is measured not only in terms of health, but also in terms of wealth.
The Government of Canada’s investment in health research is underpinning the Innovation Agenda by:
- Providing the foundation for spin-off companies that supply important health services and products to Canadians while generating economic growth and creating jobs
- Fostering partnerships with the health and biosciences and voluntary sectors that are leveraging the federal investment, integrating all partners into the development and implementation of strategic agendas for health research and maximizing the impact of health research dollars
- Providing Canada with skilled graduates who are equipped with advanced levels of training, knowledge and expertise
- Repatriating Canadian researchers from abroad and attracting distinguished foreign researchers to Canada, where their discoveries will benefit Canadians
- Creating a brighter future for Canada’s youth, Indigenous Peoples and women by providing opportunities to harness their energy and creativity in becoming the next generation of health researchers
 The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, the Health Charities Coalition of Canada, HealthCareCAN, Innovative Medicines Canada, MEDEC and Research Canada