Short-term data priorities to support the COVID-19 response

COVID-19 highlighted challenges with collecting, sharing and using health data and evidence in Canada. In response, we've been working with the provinces and territories since the fall of 2020 to co-develop the pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy (pCHDS). The pCHDS supports the creation, exchange and use of critical health data to benefit people and health systems in Canada.

Our goal is to ensure that there is useful and timely data to help monitor health, make decisions and respond to the pandemic. The table below summarizes a set of short-term priorities to address key knowledge and data gaps.

Priority Area Priority What We've Done
Critical data Improve national data on COVID-19 cases Set up weekly, monthly and quarterly reporting on COVID-19 cases and health system use (such as emergency room visits, hospitalizations, ICU use, long-term care and health care workers)
Improve hospital data
Improve community and long-term care data
Improve lab testing capacity and data for COVID-19

Increased lab testing capacity to 200,000 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests per day nationally

Reported data on variants of concern (VOC) along with COVID-19 case data

Improve the collection of public health information on travellers to Canada

Created ArriveCAN application to capture key public health information on travellers

  • Digital submission rates > 80% every week
  • Provinces and territories receive information within 2 days of submission by travellers
Vaccines Acquire data on vaccine safety, coverage and effectiveness

Increased reporting of vaccine coverage and safety data

Published weekly data reports on vaccine doses administered and adverse events

Data and Knowledge Exchange Launch a COVID-19 data portal

Launched a COVID-19 data portal

Developed a new cloud environment for efficient and timely reporting of case and vaccination data

Share best practices for data and analytics

Created forums for provinces and territories to share best practices and innovations in COVID-19 data management

Held a special session on best practices for race-based data collection and use

Priority Populations Enhance data on the impact of COVID-19 on health care workers

Developed numerous information products to fill key knowledge gaps. These are available in the COVID-19 health data and evidence virtual library:

  • 21+ products on priority populations (such as health care workers, racialized populations, First Nations, Inuit and Metis populations)
  • 47+ products on health systems impacts (such as emergency department visits, hospitalizations, long-term care, home care)
  • 82+ products on wider health impacts (such as chronic conditions, mental health and substance use)
Enhance data on the impact of COVID-19 on racialized populations
Enhance data on the impact of COVID-19 on First Nations, Inuit and Metis populations
Health Systems Learn more about COVID-19 impacts on health systems
Wider Health Impacts Learn more about the wider public health impacts of COVID-19

To access information products that address these short-term COVID-19 data priorities, visit the COVID-19 health data and evidence virtual library.

To learn more about the long-term strategy, refer to Moving Forward on a Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy.

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