Government of Canada invests in national clinical trials network to address the COVID-19 pandemic

News release

January 20, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

As the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves, important gaps in research must be addressed to support Canada's response to this global crisis. To ensure that Canadians have access to the latest tests, diagnostic tools, vaccines, and therapeutics, the Government of Canada is investing in a nation-wide clinical trials network to better coordinate these efforts.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced an investment of $6 million in the Canadian Network of COVID-19 Clinical Trials Networks. This investment will expand existing national and international clinical trial networks to coordinate research on tools that prevent, detect, manage, and treat COVID-19.

Led by Dr. Robert Fowler from the Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto, the network will use feedback from citizens and patients to help set research priorities, as well as facilitate collaboration and resource sharing, reduce duplication of efforts, and harmonize clinical trial procedures. The network's diverse and inclusive partnership will maximize the impact of scientific research, build capacity for this research, and provide insight and information for battling future pandemics. With this funding from the Government of Canada, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, our best and brightest will be able to provide evidence to decision-makers across the country and internationally – further solidifying Canada's place as a global leader in research.

The Canadian Critical Care Trials Group is supporting this network of COVID trials networks. The network is partnering with more than 40 networks, groups, and institutions across Canada.


"Our response to COVID-19 has always been informed by the latest science and evidence. Through this partnership, we will be able to better prevent, detect, treat, and manage COVID-19 at the national and international levels. The work that these researchers are doing is helping save Canadians' lives. With this investment, we are ensuring that they can continue this important work – benefiting Canadians and people across the globe."
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

"This national COVID-19 clinical trials network will provide the much-needed infrastructure to ensure strong collaboration and coordination of research capacity here and around the world. Clinical research is an area of strength in Canada. This investment will help us leverage efforts and increase timeliness and impact during health emergencies, such as this rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic."
Dr. Michael Strong
President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

"The Canadian Network of COVID-19 Clinical Trials Networks will help to support, coordinate and amplify existing research trials, catalyze new research trials, and help to improve the speed that research trials can be offered to Canadians. This network will also lay the groundwork for a perpetual and durable pan-Canadian research trial platform, to help generate new treatments now for COVID-19 and future infectious disease threats and causes of severe critical illness."
Dr. Robert Fowler
Critical Care Physician and Senior Scientist, Sunnybrook Research Institute

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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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