New Council of Expert Advisors to support Canada’s life sciences ecosystem
The advisory body will inform the long-term, sustainable growth of Canada’s biomanufacturing and life sciences sector
March 9, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario
Since March 2020, major achievements have been made to rebuild a vibrant domestic life sciences ecosystem to protect Canadians against future health threats. The growth of the sector is a top priority for the Government of Canada, and with over $1.8 billion committed to 33 projects to boost our domestic biomanufacturing, vaccine and therapeutics capacity, we are strengthening our resiliency for current health emergencies and our readiness for future ones.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force played a critical role in guiding and supporting the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine response. Today, recognizing the importance of science-based decisions, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, are pleased to announce the creation of the Council of Expert Advisors (CEA). The 14 members of the CEA, who held their first official meeting earlier this week, will advise the Government of Canada on the long-term, sustainable growth of Canada’s biomanufacturing and life sciences sector, and on how to enhance our preparedness and capacity to protect the health and safety of Canadians.
The membership of the CEA comprises leaders with in-depth scientific, industrial, academic and public health expertise. The CEA co-chairs are Joanne Langley, Professor of Pediatrics and of Community Health and Epidemiology at the Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine, and Division Head of Infectious Diseases at the IWK Health Centre; and Marco Marra, Professor in Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia (UBC), UBC Canada Research Chair in Genome Science and distinguished scientist at the BC Cancer Foundation.
The CEA’s first meeting focused on the previous steps taken under Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy and on its path forward. The creation of the CEA is an important milestone in the strategy, as it continues to evolve and adapt to new technologies and changing conditions in the marketplace and life sciences ecosystem. The CEA will also inform on investments that enhance capacity across Canada to support end-to-end production of critical vaccines, therapeutics and essential medical countermeasures, and to ensure that Canadians can reap the full economic benefits of the innovations developed, including well-paying jobs.
“Our government is proud to work with some of the world’s foremost experts in biomanufacturing and life sciences who understand the critical importance of this sector in our country and who generously give their time by being part of the Council of Expert Advisors. Their expertise will ensure that we achieve the best possible value for our investments in the industry, which will not only create economic growth and new high-skilled jobs but also help ensure the health and safety of Canadians and people around the world.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“As Canadians have adapted to new realities over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments must also adapt and draw on the lessons we have learned to better prepare for future health emergencies. Our government is working to rebuild Canada’s biomanufacturing sector by focusing on strategic actions and a long-term vision through the Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy to ensure the health and safety of all are prioritized. The launch of the Council of Expert Advisors will be critical to the health and safety of Canadians by enhancing our preparedness for future pandemics and other health emergencies.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health
Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy presents a long‑term vision to protect Canadians against future pandemics and other health emergencies and to grow an innovative, competitive domestic life sciences sector.
Budget 2021 provided a total of $2.2 billion over seven years toward growing a vibrant domestic life sciences sector and securing pandemic preparedness. This budget funding provides foundational investments to help build Canada’s talent pipeline and research systems, as well as to foster the growth of Canadian life sciences firms.
The Government of Canada has a robust process in place to manage potential conflicts of interest, a process that is aligned with similar task forces around the world. To ensure the utmost transparency, a registry of interests will be available online and updated regularly.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force played a critical role in guiding and supporting the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine response. It will continue to be called upon as needed to advise the Government of Canada within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senior Manager, Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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