Government of Canada takes action to address Lyme disease

News release

New investments will advance knowledge and support projects aimed at improving the health of Canadians

October 15, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Public Health Agency of Canada

Every year, an increasing number of Canadians and their families are affected by Lyme disease, an infectious disease spread through the bite of infected ticks. The Government of Canada is committed to reducing the public health risks associated with this disease, which is emerging in many parts of the country due in part to climate change.

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, today announced $4 million for a Pan-Canadian Research Network on Lyme Disease in order to generate knowledge to improve diagnosis and treatment, and an additional $1.25 million to increase Canada’s capacity to respond to the health impacts of Lyme disease.

Co-led  by Dr. Kieran Moore from Queen’s University and Drs. Beate Sander and Samir Patel from the University of Toronto, the Research Network will bring together Lyme disease stakeholders—including researchers, clinicians and patients—and facilitate national collaboration to ensure better health outcomes for people with Lyme disease. The multidisciplinary network will help address the knowledge gaps that exist for Lyme disease prevention and control, diagnosis and treatment options.

In addition to building the research and evidence base, the Government of Canada is also committed to enhancing Lyme disease surveillance, along with increasing awareness, education and training for the public and health care providers. Five new projects will receive a total of $1.25 million under the Infectious Diseases and Climate Change Fund to support these priorities.

These investments, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Public Health Agency of Canada, are part of Budget 2017’s commitment to supporting the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

Quotes

“The Government of Canada is proud to support a network that focuses on collaboration among Lyme disease stakeholders from across the country to improve patient outcomes and access to care. This research will be complemented by projects to address the risks associated with Lyme disease in Canada.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

“Congratulations to Dr. Kieran Moore from Queen’s University and his research team for receiving funding today. We recognize that more research is needed on Lyme disease to provide Canadians with the most appropriate and efficient health solutions. The work you will undertake, in collaboration with patients, is essential to creating new knowledge to translate from bench to bedside to population.”
Dr. Charu Kaushic, Scientific Director
CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity

“With the increasing number of cases reported each year, we must not underestimate the public health impact of Lyme disease in Canada. The establishment of a Pan-Canadian Research Network on Lyme Disease, and projects funded under the Infectious Diseases and Climate Change Fund, will help advance the science of this disease and support the development of new tools, information and resources to help Canadians and communities make informed decisions about their health.”
Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer
Public Health Agency of Canada

“We would like to thank the Government of Canada for the opportunity to advance the science of Lyme disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Our network, based at Queen’s University, will collaborate with patients and our many academic and government partners to protect the health of Canadians from coast to coast. We will provide the national capacity to have a coordinated, integrated and multidisciplinary response to the emerging infectious disease threat of Lyme disease.”
Dr. Kieran Moore
Principal Investigator, Pan-Canadian Research Network on Lyme Disease

Quick facts

  • Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi), which are transmitted to people through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Surveillance in recent years indicates that populations of blacklegged ticks are spreading in Canada.

  • Lyme disease in humans has been a nationally notifiable disease since 2009. Nationally notifiable diseases are infectious diseases that have been identified by the federal government and all provinces and territories as priorities for monitoring and control efforts.

  • The Infectious Disease and Climate Change Fund will provide up to $2 million annually over 11 years to help Canadians, communities and health professionals have the information they need to better understand their risks and take measures to protect themselves from climate-driven infectious diseases. Several of the projects under this fund ($1.25 million) will have a focus on Lyme disease.

  • The Federal Framework for Lyme Disease in Canada was published on May 30, 2017. This Framework outlines federally led commitments to developing and implementing work over a five-year period (2017-2022) within three key areas of focus: surveillance, education and awareness, and guidelines and best practices. 

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Contacts

Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
613-941-4563
mediarelations@cihr-irsc.gc.ca

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.


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