COVID-19  Advisory Groups and Task Forces Fact  Sheet


The Government of Canada has established a number of advisory groups and task forces composed of stakeholders from the public sector, private sector and/or academia and research community, to provide recommendations or actions to address the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.

Advisory Groups

National Advisory Committee on Immunization
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is a national advisory committee of experts in the fields of pediatrics, infectious diseases, immunology, pharmacy, nursing, epidemiology, pharmacoeconomics, social science and public health. NACI provides the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) with ongoing and timely medical, scientific, and public health advice relating to immunization, including the identification of groups at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases for whom vaccination should be targeted. During the COVID-19 pandemic, NACI is providing PHAC with advice on prioritization of key populations, as well as on the use of COVID-19 vaccines once they have HC authorization.

COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel
As part of the Government of Canada’s continued commitment to engaging science and policy experts, the Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel onto provides evidence-informed advice related to innovative approaches to testing. Innovative approaches may include: emerging technologies; different uses of testing; how technologies could be effectively combined; parameters of planned innovation challenges; sensitivities and specificities that could be tolerated in different settings; and testing strategies in specific settings. The Panel will take a ‘big picture’ look at diagnostic technology, including use cases, public health and, international and Canadian technologies.

Industry Advisory Roundtable on COVID-19 Testing, Screening, Tracing and Data Management
Rapid and effective testing and screening is a critical element of the Government of Canada’s plan to safely reopen the Canadian economy while protecting Canadians and containing future outbreaks. Health Canada launched the Industry Advisory Roundtable on COVID-19 Testing, Screening, Tracing and Data Management on October 5, 2020, in consultation with the Industry Strategy Council. The Roundtable enables the government to hear directly from and collaborate with leaders across Canadian industry sectors, which play a key role in supporting public health measures and the economic restart.

The Roundtable’s work complements the science- and policy-related work of Health Canada’s Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel. The Roundtable provides recommendations and advice on key issues such as:

  • the role of testing, screening, tracing, and data to address challenges faced by Canada’s industrial sectors and to assist in identifying solutions;
  • development of industry workplace pilots to determine best approaches for testing and screening in the workplace; and,
  • guidance on rolling out more broadly if pilots are successful.

COVID-19 Exposure Notification App Advisory Council
To help Canadians monitor their exposure to COVID-19, the Government of Canada developed a nation-wide mobile app called COVID Alert. To ensure that the app meets the highest standards in public health outcomes, technology and privacy, the Government of Canada created the COVID-19 Exposure Notification App Advisory Council. The Council includes people with various expertise and perspectives including health, privacy, data governance, science, and innovation. Council members also reflect Canada's cultural diversity.

Expert Advisory Group on the pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy
The Government of Canada is committed to addressing data gaps and longer-term systemic issues hampering the collection, sharing and use of health data via a Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy.

As part of this commitment, PHAC will launch an Expert Advisory Group on December 9, 2020 to inform the development of this strategy. Membership will include renowned experts across diverse perspectives, expertise, and lived experience with health, population and public health systems data.

Expert Advisory Group members will provide advice to on key issues such as:

  • Strategic direction for the use of health system, population, and public health data to improve the health of Canada and Canadians
  • Principles to guide the creation, collection, storage, and use of data to achieve that direction

Task Forces

COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force
Comprised of multidisciplinary experts and industry leaders in the field of vaccines, the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force (VTF) provides invaluable insight, on a volunteer basis, to help the Government of Canada make sound evidence-based decisions to protect the health and safety of Canadians during the pandemic. The Task Force’s mandate includes:

  • prioritizing vaccine projects seeking support for activities in Canada;
  • attracting to Canada promising non-Canadian vaccine candidates, or partner with developers of non-Canadian vaccine candidates;
  • optimizing the tools needed to develop vaccines;
  • supporting effective research and development, and supply chain coordination for COVID-19 vaccine projects;
  • facilitating solutions to manufacture the most promising COVID-19 vaccines in Canada; and,
  • identifying opportunities to enhance business connectivity globally to secure access to vaccines with key commercial sponsors.

COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force
The Government of Canada is working in collaboration with top life science industry leaders and scientist/research advisors, with expertise in drug research and development and commercialization, to support the work of Canada's COVID-19 response. The COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force is providing expert advice to the Government of Canada on COVID-19 therapeutics, as well as assessing and prioritizing COVID-19 therapeutic projects seeking government support.

The Task Force has seven core members, including two co-chairs, drawn from research and business leaders who have proven ability to bring new therapies to market in Canada and science advisor members who will review and provide advice on projects within their area of expertise.

The COVID-19 Immunity Task Force
The Government of Canada launched the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF) on April 23, 2020 to lead a Canada-wide unified effort to test blood samples for signs of COVID-19 infections. The CITF is coordinating national serological surveillance studies and special supplemental research studies across Canada and in sub-populations with unique or high-risk profiles.

The CITF aims to shed light on immune responses to COVID-19 in a diversity of communities, age brackets, populations, and occupational groups across the nation. To generate this information, the CITF is drawing on experts from universities and hospitals across Canada, working closely with provincial and territorial public health officials, and engaging communities and stakeholders from inception through to dissemination of findings. The CITF is also working with an Indigenous Advisory Circle with representatives from Indigenous communities across the country to promote immunity testing in Indigenous communities.

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