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 health innovation as key policy issues for this election:
- Does your party support increasing investments in the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) budget to advance health research?
- Does it also support increasing the budgets of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)?
- Does your party support increasing investments in doctoral trainees and post-doctoral fellows?
- Does your party support increasing support for Indigenous health researchers and for women health researchers?
- Does your party support the development of public policies that catalyze health and biosciences sector investments in Canadian health R&D?
- If your party is elected, will you form a government that signals Canada is a science 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 health innovation as key policy issues for this election.
Why should I be concerned about health research when my constituents are more worried about the economy and health care?
Health research is already tackling some of this country’s greatest health and health system challenges. Health research provides us with the evidence we require to decrease waiting times and provide better access to diagnostic services and treatment. We cannot improve our health system without the knowledge we acquire from research that allows us to make informed decisions about procedures 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.
Secondly, health research provides the means to test the effectiveness of new treatments, first in controlled environments, through clinical trials, then in actual use, through ongoing surveillance. It also helps to prevent disease by teaching us more about the factors that increase the probability of illness and our susceptibility to disease.
How can your organization ask for an increase in public investment in health research when there has been a substantive increase in your sector over the past several years? What about other priorities for government?
Canada has made a significant commitment to health research over the past decade and a half. The health research community sincerely appreciates Budget 2018’s announcement of an unprecedented investment in Canada’s research system. This nearly $4 billion commitment recognized the central role of the Canadian research enterprise in driving economic growth, innovation and producing a highly skilled, competitive workforce. Budget 2019 further strengthened the federal government’s commitment to the research environment and a highly skilled workforce—the cornerstones of a globally competitive knowledge economy; however, as encouraged as we are, Research Canada remains concerned about the impact of previous underinvestment on our next generation of fundamental science research. Canada has not only trailed the OECD average for research and development intensity and growth, but fallen further behind. As Canada works to reverse its previous course, the rest of the world is only gaining further momentum.
The health research community wants to make sure that the promised reinvestment has the best chance of propelling Canada forward through an extraordinarily competitive environment, rather than merely stabilizing the status quo. This includes funding the full costs of research. It also includes building a research system that recognizes the multifold value of Indigenous health research informed directly by Indigenous communities, and that encourages the skilled employment opportunities provided by Canada’s health and biosciences industry.
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.
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 health care 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
- Supports the development of the most efficacious and cost-effective means of delivering healthcare services to Canadians
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