Appropriate Funding for Health Care Research

The NDP have pledged to improve the funding available for health research across the board, however no specifics were provided at this time.

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The Conservative government provides funding to health research through CIHR and CFHI, providing new funds to targeted initiatives, however the total funding is decreasing. While specific investments such as Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation are encouraging, stronger overall support is required.

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The Liberal Party places a strong emphasis on importance of scientific research as a catalyst of progress, promising increased support for scientific community, including in the health sector. The party has announced they will support and disseminate research and best practices to reduce unnecessary over-prescribing of medications However, there is currently no available information on the specifics of these planned investments.

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The Green Party supports properly funding Canadian Institutes for Health Research to ensure Canadian ingenuity continues to be part of our health care system.

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Appropriate Funding for Primary Care Research

The NDP have pledged to improve the funding available for health research across the board. As an example, they have committed $20 million in grants for community-based health research.

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While the Conservative government has dedicated some funding for primary care–focused projects, that funding is not sufficient to properly provide evidence for the large-scale primary care reform needed in Canada.

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The Liberal Party places a strong emphasis on importance of scientific research as a catalyst of progress, promising increased support for scientific community, including in the health sector. The specifics of this support in terms of planned investments are not currently available.

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The Green Party supports robust funding for primary care research in order to appropriately ensure the patient-centred care model is adequately supported and guided by evidence. Their platform lacks suggestions of specific targeted pools of funding for primary care-focused projects.

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Appropriate Evidence for New Policies

The NDP plans to establish a Scientific Advisory Council that will report directly to the Prime Minister. This structural change intends to make scientific evidence more central to the decisions of government, and combined with a commitment to make government data more publicly available and accessible to assist with research both inside and outside government.

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While research should play a strong role in formulation of health policy, certain policy changes the government has made are lacking evidence; and some contradict existing data. The CFPC calls for support for evidence-based health policies.

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The Liberal Party plans to introduce a Chief Science Officer – one of the new position’s roles will includes ensuring that new policy relies on scientific evidence. There is a commitment to increase the resources available to the Parliamentary committees for the purpose of obtaining expert analysis of proposed legislation. They pledge to make information used for decision making available in the public domain.

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The Green Party is committed to prioritizing scientific evidence in guiding health policy creation. Their platform indicates that they will prioritize scientific evidence in creating new policies.

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Communicating Research into Policy and Action

The NDP platform materials indicate a pro-research stance across the board, with specific intent to restore the long-form census, re-establish research capacity across federal ministries and expand federal research grants and funding.

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The clarity of communicating health research varies greatly—some is well-written, other materials can be unapproachable. Withdrawing funds from Cochrane Canada as valuable sort of evidence meta-analysis further compromises the Conservative government’s performance in this area.

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The Liberal Party aims to leverage the input from data users to determine the direction of research, the kind of information it generates and the way it is presented and utilized.

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The Green Party supports initiatives to better communicate health research to health care professionals and Canadians to better facilitate the movement of research into clinical practice. The specific of how this improvement would be achieved is not yet available though.

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