Government of Canada invests $1M in a COVID-19 evidence network to support decision-making

News release

January 13, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve throughout the country, with more than 618,000 reported cases as of January 5, 2021. While the arrival of vaccines brings hope for Canadians, there are still critical knowledge gaps we must fill to further support ongoing decision-making as we respond to this virus to keep Canadians safe.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has relied on rapidly evolving science and evidence to inform our response. To ensure decision-makers have access to the best COVID-19 science in a timely manner, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced an investment of $1 million to support the COVID-19 Evidence Network. The Network will bring together experts to collaborate and rapidly synthesize the best available evidence across the full breadth of Canada's COVID-19 pandemic response. By providing timely access to the latest research on public health measures, clinical management, health-system arrangements, and economic and social impacts, policy-makers will better understand the impact that these measures have on Canadians' health and safety.

Led by Dr. John Lavis from McMaster University, the COVID-19 Evidence Network will work with Canadian and international partners to better develop and coordinate groundbreaking research on COVID-19, while reducing the duplication of efforts so our experts can focus on the latest research and developments to keep Canadians safe. Dr. Lavis's co-leads for the Network include Jeremy Grimshaw from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Andrea Tricco of the SPOR Evidence Alliance, which is based at St. Michael's Hospital of Unity Health Toronto, and Nancy Santesso of Cochrane Canada, based at McMaster University.

The Government of Canada is supporting the COVID-19 Evidence Network through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research so they may provide the latest evidence to decision-makers at the federal, provincial, and territorial levels.


"Our response to COVID-19 has always been informed by the latest science and evidence, which we get from our internationally-respected Canadian researchers. Through the COVID-19 Evidence Network, our best and brightest will work with provincial, national and international partners so that decision-makers get the information we need to keep Canadians safe through the next phase of this pandemic. Through the Network, we will ensure that Canada continues to be a global leader in COVID-19 research."
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

"The COVID-19 Evidence Network will focus on synthesizing the evidence we already have and identifying evidence gaps that exist. The Network will use a highly collaborative approach to rapidly synthesizing evidence for improved decision-making. To ensure sensitivity to how COVID-19 and COVID-19 responses can affect different groups in different ways, the Network will apply principles of equity, diversity and inclusion in all of its work."
Dr. Michael Strong
President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

"The COVID-19 Evidence Network will use a highly collaborative approach to rapidly synthesizing the best available evidence about key COVID-19 topics – in timelines ranging from four hours to 10 days – in response to requests from decision-makers. The network will identify emergent issues where synthesized evidence is needed as well as profile the best available evidence syntheses on all key COVID-19 decisions. We will work with both domestic and international partners to reduce duplication and enhance coordination in the COVID-19 evidence response."
Dr. John Lavis
Director, McMaster Health Forum
Professor, Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, McMaster University

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Cole Davidson
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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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