Independent panel to review Global Public Health Surveillance System

News release

November 18, 2020 - Ottawa, ON - Public Health Agency of Canada

Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is guided by science, and one of the tools used to inform decisions is the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN), an early warning system for potential public health threats worldwide.

This global surveillance system has played a key role in the early detection of past international outbreaks, including H1N1, MERS and Ebola. However, in light of concerns expressed about this system, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, today announced the independent panel that will pursue the review of the Global Public Health Intelligence Network. 

Selected based on their expertise in public health, governance, health security and intelligence, Margaret Bloodworth, Dr. Paul Gully and Dr. Mylaine Breton will conduct a review of GPHIN’s current effectiveness, its contribution to public health intelligence domestically and internationally, and its role in informing the Public Health Agency of Canada’s early response to COVID-19.

The panel members will look at the current state of GPHIN’s capabilities, services, operations, and management, and how they have evolved since GPHIN was created. They will also look at the key limitations of the current system and opportunities for improvement. Their recommendations and advice on lessons learned from COVID-19 will help inform the Government of Canada for future public health events.


Our government will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to keep Canadians safe and supported during this pandemic. This review will help determine what kind of changes are required to ensure this global public health surveillance system serves Canadians well. I thank the reviewers for accepting to do this work, and I look forward to receiving their recommendations.

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health

Quick facts

  • Terms of Reference will be developed in consultation with the panel members and will be shared once finalized.

  • The panel is expected to provide a final report in spring 2021. This report and recommendations will be submitted to the Minister of Health and will be made public.

  • The panel members will be made aware of any relevant findings from the surveillance audit being conducted concurrently by the Office of the Auditor General.

Associated links


Cole Davidson

Office of Patty Hajdu

Minister of Health


Media Relations

Public Health Agency of Canada


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