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Prime Minister announces support for health research

Canadian government announces $450 million in new funding to help academic research community during covid-19 pandemic. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking at a podium outside his home

Health researchers in London and across Canada welcomed news that the federal government will provide urgently-needed financial support for research teams whose work has been largely shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced $450 million in new funding to help Canada’s academic research community during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Research staff in Canada are the source of new innovations and ideas that help keep us healthy, protect our environment, and drive our economy. We are fortunate to have some of the world’s brightest minds. We are making sure Canadian universities and health research institutes have the support they need to sustain their research capacity through this difficult situation, and continue to attract and retain talent, for the benefit of all Canadians,” says The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. 

The investment will: 

  • Provide wage supports to universities and health research institutes, so they can retain their research staff who are funded from industry or philanthropic sources and are unable to access some of the government’s existing COVID-19 support measures. This would apply even if their work has been temporarily suspended. The government will provide up to 75 per cent per individual, with a maximum of $847 per week. 
  • Support universities and health research institutes to maintain essential research-related activities during the crisis, and to ramp back up to full research operations once physical distancing measures are lifted. This will cover up to 75 per cent of total eligible costs, and will support activities such as the safe storage of dangerous substances and restarting data sets that were interrupted during the pandemic. 

“Research personnel in our universities and health research institutes are significant drivers of science, discovery, and innovation in Canada. By providing these institutions with immediate support, we continue to nurture Canada’s talent pipeline and sustain our innovation capacity, while helping to mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the research community,” says The Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. 

This announcement follows a tremendous effort by organizations and individuals across Canada over the course of this pandemic to secure support for hospital-based research. From outreach and meetings to letters and media interviews, many advocacy-based initiatives were undertaken to bring this important issue to the attention of key decision-makers. HealthCareCAN spearheaded these efforts, working tirelessly on behalf of the national health research community. 

Lawson is extremely thankful to the federal government for recognizing the critical importance of protecting Canada’s research enterprise and providing urgently-needed financial support. “While we know financial pressure remains, this will help to keep research teams intact while research has been interrupted and provide assistance for when research activities gradually resume,” says Dr. David Hill, Lawson Scientific Director. 

A special thank you to local MP Peter Fragiskatos for London North Centre who took up this issue in Ottawa. His strong leadership and representation made the key difference in successfully securing this new funding. 

“Tackling the COVID-19 crisis in Canada has required an all-hands on deck approach and Canada’s health researchers have answered the call by suspending all other crucial hospital-based research to meet the challenge,” adds Dr. David Hill. “With this federal support we can now work to ensure that we can maintain other critically needed research on other diseases even as we pursue what promises to be a lengthy battle against COVID-19.” 

Background: 
  • Canadian healthcare-based research is a $3 billion annual sector of the economy and employs 50,000 highly skilled researchers and other staff across the country. 
  • Health research is one of Canada’s great national achievements and biomedical research conducted in Canada is at the forefront of current essential research and clinical trials around COVID-19. 
  • This work is fundamental to life in a society and a key driver for progress, innovation and the economy. Canada’s health researchers are global leaders in driving improvements in disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. 
  • Ontario’s research hospitals have long been the engines of health invention and discovery in provincial and national innovation. From Ottawa, London, Toronto, Kingston, Sudbury and Thunder bay, the more than 20,000 researchers and staff at these hospitals are driven by their passion to improve health. 
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