Governments of Canada and Ontario and provincial partners renew investment in research that puts patients first

News release

October 24, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Patients, their families, and caregivers have unique insights about themselves and what matters when they are receiving health care services. Through their lived experience, patients bring valuable firsthand perspectives to research that help lead to new and better ways of delivering care that will improve the health of all people in Canada.

Today, the Honorable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced a combined investment of more than $68 million over five years from the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and provincial partners to support the ongoing work of patient-oriented research in Ontario through its SPOR SUPPORT Unit. The SPOR Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Unit connects research with patient needs so that evidence-based solutions can be applied to health care.

The Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit (OSSU) is proud of the impact it achieved in its first phase of SPOR funding. For example, OSSU’s demonstration projects IMPACT Awards aimed to help make Ontario’s health system one that prioritizes patients, their health care experience, and their health outcomes. One of these projects, the Comparison of Outcomes and Access to Congestive Heart failure (COACH) trial, led by Dr. Douglas Lee, examined a novel health systems strategy that improves safety and efficiency for patients who visit the emergency department with heart failure. The intervention employed in the COACH randomized trial has been applied to transform care within Ontario and other jurisdictions for acute heart failure, one of the leading reasons for hospitalization in North America.

This investment is provided as part of Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), a pan-Canadian initiative dedicated to integrating the voices of patients in research and health care. SPOR is led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) with support from partners across the country. 


“To provide Canadians with high-quality health care, we need research evidence to tell us what works. Patients, caregivers, and families help get at this evidence by adding their lived experience to the research process. Through this collaboration, we are strengthening health care systems and improving patient care for Ontarians.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“Our work at CIHR has made patient-oriented research no longer just a concept in Canada; patients and researchers are working together to produce measurable improvements in service delivery and health care practice across the country. Patient-oriented research wouldn’t be where it is today without the ongoing support and contributions from all SPOR-funded entities and their steadfast commitment to patient-oriented research in each of their jurisdictions.”

Dr. Michael J. Strong
President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

“This renewed investment in partnership with the federal government reinforces Ontario’s commitment to prioritizing patient-centred care for all Ontarians. This ongoing work will enable health research to progress on the issues that matter most to patients and help ensure better outcomes for patients and families.”

Sylvia Jones
Ontario’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Health

“OSSU’s renewal allows us to build upon our innovative patient-oriented research infrastructure and culture to improve the health and health system for all Ontarians.”

Dr. Dean Fergusson
Scientific Lead, Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit

Quick facts

  • SPOR is a pan-Canadian coalition of the federal government, provinces, territories, philanthropic organizations, academic institutions, and health charities with the goal of achieving better patient outcomes through patient-oriented research.

  • SPOR SUPPORT Units are patient-oriented research centres in the provinces and territories that improve patient outcomes by enabling equitable access to data for health research, applying knowledge to improve health care practices, systems, and patient outcomes, providing training to conduct and use patient-oriented research, and engaging patients as active partners throughout the entire research process.

  • There are also SPOR SUPPORT Units located in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, the Maritimes, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon. Discussions are underway to establish a SUPPORT Unit in Nunavut.

  • The Government of Canada, through the CIHR, is providing $34.2 million and the Government of Ontario and provincial partners are providing $34.6 million for a total investment of $68.8 million over five years in the Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit. 

  • The Ontario provincial partners include the Government of Ontario, St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation, The Hospital for Sick Children, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, and Hôpital Montfort – Institut du Savoir.

Associated links


Marie-France Proulx
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
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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