CATMAT Terms of Reference

Reporting Relationship

Assistant Deputy Minister
Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Branch
Public Health Agency of Canada

Travel and Migration Health Division


At its 1988 meeting, the Advisory Committee on Epidemiology (ACE) expressed the need in Canada for rational, consistent and widely disseminated guidelines for travel medicine and tropical medicine, and recommended the creation of an advisory committee for that purpose. The Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel (CATMAT) was formed, and held its first meeting in February 1990. On April 12, 1994, the Health Protection Branch (HPB) published a new directive (Information Letter No. 810) on advisory committees.


  • To provide recommendations relating to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases and other health hazards that may be encountered by Canadian travellers outside of Canada;
  • To suggest mechanisms for the widespread dissemination and utilization of such recommendations and other travel or tropical medicine-related health information; and
  • To advise on priorities for epidemiological research and other activities related to travel or tropical medicine.
  • The scope of CATMAT's activities may include developing:
    1. Recommendations on malaria prevention and treatment.
    2. Recommendations on the use of approved immunization products prior to travel. Due to the differences in disease prevalences internationally, these recommendations may extend beyond those developed for Canada by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).
    3. Recommendations on the use of biologic and other drugs to treat or prevent tropical diseases in travellers, based on current scientific evidence. Should any CATMAT recommendation make reference to the use of a class of agent not marketed or licensed in Canada, the acquisition of any such agent (through emergency drug release or investigational new drug protocol) must comply with the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act.
    4. Recommendations on surveillance of tropical diseases acquired by Canadians travelling abroad.
    5. Recommendations relating to the dissemination of information and guidelines, as described above, to Canadian health professionals, the Canadian travel industry, and the Canadian public.
    6. Recommendations relating to standards and quality of the travel medicine advice provided to travellers in Canada.


Use of the Member's official language of choice is encouraged.

A meeting of the full committee will occur at least annually. Consideration may also be given by Travel and Migration Health Division (TMHD), Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Branch (IDPCB) for additional meetings/conference calls of the main committee and/or any subcommittees, should circumstances warrant.

The agenda for each meeting will be developed by the Chairperson in collaboration with the Executive Secretary.

Deliberations, recommendations and final reports are to be developed by CATMAT in concert with Agency specialists at the appropriate working level. These reports are to be submitted by the Committee Secretary through directorate management, for presentation to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Health Agency of Canada.

CATMAT may, as the need arises, create sub-committees to examine specific issues or to develop position papers. Recommendations developed by sub-committees are brought back to the committee as a whole and thus, if approved, become recommendations of the full committee.

Membership / Representation

The Agency will select individuals for membership or as representatives on CATMAT in accordance with the principles and factors set out in the HPB Advisory Committees Policy, Information Letter 810, dated April 12, 1994.

As a condition of membership a summary of expertise, experience, affiliations and interests (conflict of interest) will be publically disclosed online with members consent.

The Committee may request services of specialized consultants to provide advice in a particular scientific or medical area of expertise. Such requests should be conveyed to the Executive Secretary of the Committee for approval by the Agency. At the discretion of the Committee, and with the approval of the Agency, interested parties or concerned Members of the public may be invited to make presentations to the Committee in writing or in person.

Appointments / Tenure Lifecycle

Due to the ongoing need for advice and recommendations on travel and tropical diseases, the Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel is deemed to have a long-term existence. The Committee's constitution and progress will be reviewed on an annual basis. The Agency retains the prerogative to cancel/disband the Committee following such review.

Size of the Committee - the number of Members will not exceed 10 people

Selection of Members - The Chairperson will be selected by the Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Health Agency of Canada, on the recommendations of the Executive Secretary and the Director of TMHD. The Chairperson's term will be specified: three years, with the possibility of a one-term (three years) renewal. In the year after completion of the term, the Chair, if not reappointed, will become the Past Chairperson. During this year, the Past Chairperson will assist and support the Chair in the operations of the Committee, providing advice, collaboration and editorial assistance as required.

Should the selected Chairperson also represent an agency or organization, the Agency will seek an alternate representative from that agency or organization, in order to avoid any possible conflicts.

Members will be appointed by the Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Health Agency of Canada, on recommendation by the Executive Secretary and the Director of TMHD and following consultation with the Chairperson. Members will include recognized experts in travel health, tropical medicine or infectious diseases. Consideration will be given to ensure appropriate geographic representation. Members' terms will be limited to a maximum four-year period. In appropriate circumstances, the Agency may consider an extension to an individual term of office for up to four years.

Liaison Members may include representatives from the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada; the Canadian Paediatrics Society; the Canadian Public Health Association; the Canadian Society for International Health; the National Advisory Committee on Immunization; the Department of National Defense; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; and/or other agencies or societies concerned with travel health or tropical medicine.

Ex-officio representatives may include representatives from the Workplace Health & Public Safety Program, HECSB; the Biologic and Genetic Therapies Directorate, the Therapeutic Products Directorate and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Liaison and ex-officio representatives are recommended by their organizations for a period of time specified by their organization, and appointed by the Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Health Agency of Canada, in the same manner as Members.

The Agency will endeavor to ensure that appointments are scheduled in such a way as to allow for the systematic rotation of membership and representation. An individual may withdraw from service as a committee Member or representative at any time, upon written notification to the Agency. Membership may be terminated for cause at any time on written notice from the Agency.

Conduct and Conflict of Interest

Members, representatives and consultants are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner and must comply with Treasury Board Guidelines on Conflict of Interest. They must refrain from any conflict of interest and, indeed, its very appearance. In situations where conflict of interest, or the appearance thereof, arises in the course of the work of the Committee, the individual involved must declare its existence and disqualify himself/herself from participation in the discussion or from further participation on the Committee according to the circumstances of the specific situation.

Members, liaison representatives and consultants will be required to submit annual conflict of interest declarations to disclose to the Agency any circumstance that may place, or be seen to place, the Member in a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest. It will be incumbent upon the Member to update their disclosure in writing, should their personal situation change.

Members, representatives and consultants are expected to protect and maintain as confidential any trade secret or privileged information divulged during the work of the Committee. They must not discuss or divulge information obtained from the work of the Committee, including its recommendations, until such time as this information has been officially made public.

Current Subcommittees of Main Committee

Malaria Subcommittee

Responsibility for Expenses

The costs of all travel and per diem expenses for Member and approved consultants will be borne by TMHD, and paid in accordance with Treasury Board policies.  Liaison representatives' expenses are paid by the organization they represent.

Travel and per diem expenses for the CATMAT Member/representative to attend NACI meetings as the CATMAT liaison representative will be paid for by the TMHD, in accordance with Treasury Board Policy.

In addition, committee Members who qualify under terms of Information Letter No. 810, are entitled to receive honoraria in accordance with relevant Treasury Board policies. Honoraria will be applied equally to all Members. Payment of honoraria is conditional upon approval by the Committee as a whole. The option for honoraria will be discussed annually.

Directorate Coordination

A qualified officer of the Agency will serve as Executive Secretary. Within the constraints of available resources, the Agency will provide reasonable and necessary administrative support, public information services and technical assistance. The Executive Secretary will ensure that minutes are prepared for all committee meetings. These should be certified for accuracy by the Committee chairperson. Minutes of meetings will be kept to the minimum detail required to summarize the proceedings effectively and to reflect the decisions taken. The minutes of all committee meetings are accessible under the Access to Information Act.

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