Innovation Policy encompasses all policies governing the innovation ecosystem, including social innovation. It focuses on putting the outputs of research (knowledge, technology) into use for broad socio-economic benefits. Innovation policies generally support and promote technology transfer, product, process development, validation, commercialization and scale up, national and regional innovation systems with the objective of improving productivity and competitiveness and driving economic growth and job creation. Social innovation is considered as an integral part of innovation policy. CSPC encourages nominations from all disciplines of science (natural sciences and engineering, social and human sciences, and health sciences) and from all sectors (governments at all levels, academia, private and non-profit sectors, media, and others).
The Science for Policy Award
The Science for Policy Award recognizes an individual who has distinguished themselves via the application and use of scientific research and knowledge to inform evidence-based decisions for public policy and regulations. Science for Policy is the application and use of scientific research and knowledge to inform evidence-based decisions for public policy and regulations in all policy areas, not limited to but including public-interest policy priorities such as health, environment, national security, education, criminal justice and others.
The Policy for Science Award
The Policy for Science Award recognizes an individual who has pioneered policies and practices to improve the development of new technologies, capacity building and research infrastructure. Policy for Science focuses on management of science enterprises, the production of new knowledge, the development of new technology, capacity building, training highly quality personnel and research infrastructure. In general, the key targets of Policy for Science are post-secondary institutions, research funding organizations and government science-based departments and agencies.
Science Policy Definition
Science Policy is inclusive of both policy for science and science for policy. Policy for Science focuses on management of science enterprises, i.e., the generation of new knowledge, the development of new technology, capacity building, training highly qualified personnel and research infrastructure. In general, the key targets of policy for science are post-secondary institutions, research funding organizations and government science-based departments and agencies. Science for policy is the application and use of scientific research and knowledge to inform evidence-based decisions for public policy and regulations in all policy areas, not limited to but including public-interest policy priorities such as health, environment, national security, education, and criminal justice and others.
Natalka Cmoc, Director General of Science and Policy, Science and Parliamentary Infrastructure Branch, Public Services and Procurement Canada
Claire Samson, Manager, CFI’s research infrastructure funding programs, Programs and Planning, Canada Foundation for Innovation
Alexandra-Gwyn Paetz, Berlin University Alliance
Peter Wenzel-Constabel, Head of Division “Infrastructures for Research” at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Danika Goosney, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature
Fred Wrona, Professor, Integrated Watershed Science, University of Calgary
Science undertaken in Germany is often described as excellent and innovative, enjoying an outstanding reputation around the world. It is one of the world’s leaders, especially in emerging and disruptive areas that drive socio-economic benefits. Its success relies on the superb research infrastructure, research networks, and broad-based science activities. This panel will focus on German best practices across themes that could be adapted and developed in Canada: (1) encouraging thoughtful competition that rewards collaboration and partnerships; (2) breaking down jurisdictional barriers to co-fund infrastructure; (3) piloting cooperation between federal and academic science that include strategic partnerships with Canada.
Communication is key, as we ensure transparency while keeping different communities involved in science. Relevant information sharing and effective design planning involve politicians, policymakers, scientists, etc.
To promote comprehensive understanding across diverse groups, focus on inclusive language and knowledge translation. Academic institutions, industry partners, and government agencies are all encouraged to work together to develop research projects and collective talents.
Gaining insights into each other’s worlds as well as building relationships along the way are important. Let’s continue to create opportunities (e.g. national conferences such as CSPC, student networks like OSPN) for people to move the conversation forward and advocate for causes related to science policy.
Establishing trust in relationships and partnerships between organizations is a top priority for maintaining resilience, which contributed to how well the biomanufacturing strategies in Canada responded to the pandemic.
It is productive to create multiple channels of communication and networks for collaboration to continue discussions about scientific research and its pervasive impacts on society.
Universities should implement programs and strategies while highlighting diversity and balancing competition and collaboration. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, as each school has its own culture, mode of operation, as well as links to government and politics.
In terms of funding research, programs should strive for fairness and inclusivity by setting clear objectives. Consider incorporating a pass/fail system into the evaluation criteria and expanding eligibility criteria for applicants to include researchers outside of academia.
We should prioritize funding and flexibility with other organizations internationally to strengthen the resources and infrastructure related to research. Additionally, there is great value in engaging directly with the researchers to exchange ideas and feedback.
Implementing equity, diversity, and inclusiveness (EDI) in Canadian science policy: What have we learnt so far? What is the path forward?
Panel Abstract: Canada’s science-policy community has started taking action to advance equity, diversity, and inclusiveness (EDI) in research, training, and policy. In this session seasoned and emergent leaders discuss the current state of play on EDI in Canada’s science policy community: What have we learnt so far? What worked, what did not? How can we address the challenges ahead?
Co-organized by uOttawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy, the Institute on Governance, and Science & Policy Exchange, this session will foster a collective learning process on EDI by identifying gaps between EDI ambitions and implementation and ideas how to close them.
Maxime Lê, Founder and Principal Consultant, Lê & Co. Consultants
Monica Gattinger, Director, Professor and Founding Chair of Positive Energy, Institute for Science, Society and Policy, University of Ottawa
Denise Amyot, President and CEO, Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan)
Jamilah Dei-Sharpe, PhD Candidate in Sociology, Founding Director, Co-Founder Concordia University Decolonial Practices & Perspectives, HubNational Black Graduate Network
Rhonda Moore, Executive Director, Science and Innovation, Institute on Governance
Chelsie Johnson, Health Emergency Specialist, Canada’s Chief Science Advisor’s Youth Council; Executive, Board of Directors TAIBU Community Health Centre
Paalini Sathiyaseelan, PhD, Co-Founder SP.HERE Society
Canada’s science-policy community has started acting to advance equity, diversity, and inclusiveness (EDI) in research, training, and policy. In this session, the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy brought together a group of seasoned and emergent leaders to discuss the current state of play on EDI in Canada’s science policy community. The discussion focussed on the need to move from EDI ambitions to actual implementation and integration of EDI into science policy. Panelists each shared their perspectives on lessons learned to date, identifying challenges and good practices. While panelists presented slightly different interpretations of EDI and how it is incorporated in their everyday work there was consensus that missteps have occurred but a lot of progress has been made. More needs to be done to mobilize expertise, reconceptualize systems of power, and to incorporate EDI principles in science policy in meaningful ways.
State of Affairs
Science’s relationship with society is fractured and needs to be rebuilt. The pandemic was a catalyst that showed the degree of this fractured relationship. The current governance model, based on the Endless Frontier report from 1945, positions scientists above other types of knowledge brokers. This governance model is no longer consistent with the way science is viewed today, as a global enterprise where scientists build international collaborations, where scientists are not representative of society and where science uses a different vocabulary that is difficult for the public to understand. We are in the midst of big changes that recognize EDI in the intersection of science and society.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is not only a moral imperative but is essential for a sustainable future. CICan uses the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for EDI and believes that following and acting on these goals can reduce inequality.
Many organizations continue to boil EDI down to diverse representation at decision tables and feel accomplished when this is achieved. In reality, EDI should not be boiled down to diverse representation as this can be seen to further legitimize systems and processes of harm. Diverse representation as an end goal negates intersectionality and puts a real burden on those chosen to represent certain segments.
There is a need for greater true engagement of equity seeking communities by providing appropriate resources and support so that they can be involved in the whole process and foster more self-determination. Focus groups are one tool that can be used to better understand how communities are being affected by changes in policy and can help to come up with applicable solutions.
More can be done to look at approaches within Canada and beyond that better incorporate EDI into science policy. For example, TAIBU Community Health Centre has seen success practicing a non-western approach, based upon the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa which includes Kujichagulia (self-determination), Umoja (unity) and Ujima (collective work & responsibility).
There is also a need to remember that implementing EDI successfully is an ongoing process with a need to constantly revisit and reinvent our approaches.
There is a need for greater transparency to hold organizations accountable for EDI. Transparency will keep organizations incorporating EDI practices more accountable.
Need to empower equity seeking groups to contribute to Canada’s research and innovation ecosystem. Diversity leads to different perspectives, leads to different questions, different insights, new techniques, and new knowledge.
EDI needs to be valued. There is a need for continuous EDI training in universities and academic settings and for these learning opportunities need to be provided at all career stages. In professional settings, practitioners require training and recognition for investing time to build relationships with diverse audiences and collaborators.
Health Symposium | Panel 185
Breaking down barriers and improving outcomes: Towards an integrated and inclusive patient and family-centered mental health research and innovation strategy
Kevin Fitzgibbons, Retired Federal Senior Executive
Cynthia Clark, Family Advisory Council at The Royal
Florence Dzierszinski, PhD, President of University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research (IMHR)
Glenda O’Hara, Chair of the Client Advisory Council, The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Care Centre
Srividya Iyer, PhD, Psychologist and Associate Professor at McGill University; Researcher at the Douglas Research Centre in Montreal, Canada
Today, one in four Canadian adults demonstrate symptoms of depression, anxiety or PTSD, up from one in five in 2020. In Canada, an average of more than 10 people die by suicide a day. 1.2M children are affected by mental illness, with suicide being the second leading cause of death; an issue that is particularly acute among Indigenous communities. This panel engaged in an interactive discussion on the state of mental health research funding and emerging trends to improve outcomes for people living with mental illness.
Impactful mental health research is grounded in co-design and collaborative engagement with different stakeholders. Individuals with lived experience and their family support systems play an essential role and can be engaged in a variety of ways. Examples and case studies where such engagement took place included:
Co-design of educational materials about mental health with Royal Ottawa Hospital staff and patient partners. For example, Cynthia Clark, one of the panelists, helped to co-develop a how-to manual for research engagement with researchers at the Royal Ottawa Hospital.
Tangible progress in mental health research has been made but more opportunities abound.
There is a cultural shift and political and societal awareness on the importance of mental health and the need to invest in related services, policy and research. For example, for the first time a Canadian Minister of Mental Health and Addictions was announced in 2021.
Social determinants of health (including: the role of intergenerational trauma, climate considerations, age and contextual events in one’s life) are being better understood in relation to mental health. Some services aimed at addressing needs include e-mental health services, and ACCESS (a CIHR-funded initiative aimed at increasing access to evidence informed mental health services in a culturally relevant and contextually sensitive manner across 16 communities).
Data-driven strategies are enabling a framework of a learning health system, whereby information is integrated to further improve services in real time
Research institutes play a critical role at informing cutting-edge research, but also policy change and access to the best care.
Social and family support networks play a critical role in an individual’s mental wellness and this is acknowledged by health care personnel and administrations.
Hospitals and research institutions should strive for continuous engagement of all stakeholders, notably patient partners (also referred to as clients), and others with lived experiences to inform policy and research decisions.
Expenditure on mental health research and care in Canada is small compared to peer countries and relative to other disease areas, and more advocacy is needed to enhance funding levels.
Geography- and demography-influenced inequities in access to mental health services still exist and need to be addressed.
More research is needed to help develop approaches to creating evidence-based mental health programs and services.
Health Symposium | Panel 157
Integration by design: Empowering the research-commercialization-care continuum to address health challenges by enabling collaborative discovery and partnership
Integration by design: Empowering the research-commercialization-care continuum to address health challenges by enabling collaborative discovery and partnership.
Identifying solutions to address today’s brain health challenges requires integration across the research, commercialization, and care continuum. However, diversity in thought, time-to action, approaches, and priorities exists across these sectors. The Ontario Brain Institute and their industry, research, not-for-profit, and patient partners weigh in on the functionality, value, and barriers to interdisciplinary partnerships, with a focus on the essential elements for health research partnerships: people and data. They will share their insights and identify the roles and services needed from intermediaries to successfully create and sustain an effective cross-sector network. By enabling cross-sector partnerships, discovery, innovation, and patient care can improve.
Shelly Philip LaForest, Executive Director, Ontario Black Nurses’ Network | Registered Nurse, SickKids, RN, BN, MN, CVAA(C)
Brendan Behan, PhD, Manager, Informatics & Analytics, Ontario Brain Institute
Complex health conditions, such as those involving the brain, many of which do not have adequate treatments or cure, pose special challenges for patients, their families and healthcare providers. Working together across sectors is key to reducing patient burden and supporting patients. In the field of brain health for instance, different sectors bring different approaches and tools for generating new research, providing care and treatment, and improving the quality of life of those with brain disorders. Although the healthcare sector does take a patient-centred approach, it is important to recognize that the entire ‘family unit’ is impacted by the complex health challenges of a single person. To advance our understanding and ability to care for people with brain disorders, greater efforts should be devoted to strengthening cross-sectoral linkages between clinicians, researchers, community agencies, government, industry, and research intermediaries such as the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI).
During this session, the panel illustrated the importance of stated themes by focusing on a case study exemplifying a patient named Sally and her extended family. The context of the case study were summarized as follows:
Sally is a 10 year old epileptic and autistic child, who is cared for by the hospital’s child development program
Sally has been facing difficulties at school, which contributes to mental health challenges for her parents as well
Sally’s parents want the best care but are unsure of the best course of action. They also wish to have Sally’s experiences and health data to be used to help other children and families in the future
They key questions discussed in the panel zeroed on optimizing patient care, exploring the role of, responsibilities towards, and engagement of patients’ families, as well as systemic changes required to advance these goals
Siloed, hierarchical, top-down approach to healthcare has proven to not be ideal. There is a need for greater partnership among healthcare providers, community partners, industry partners, and researchers in a manner that places families at the center.
Patient care is multidimensional, and the full package must be considered including support for the families and caretakers.
Patients and families must have sufficient information regarding data collection, sharing, and usage to allow for informed consent when there is an option to take part in a particular study.
Patients and families should be compensated for participation in research studies.
Results of studies must be shared with the patients and families, so they understand their impact.
Organizations such as the Ontario Brain Institute are very important as a bridge between researchers and industry and the community.
Most public funds are dedicated to clinical studies; sustained funding for industry and community-based studies and partnerships are needed.
OBI provides incentives and guidelines on how science can be conducted collaboratively across academic disciplines, and by partnering with industry, community, and especially families with lived experience.
The role of Epilepsy Ottawa and other community agencies is to bring in a patient perspective. Such organizations take strain off emergency departments, schools, and help in so many different ways. They also provide valuable input that can benefit industry and researchers. Many Epilepsy agencies don’t receive sustained funding; they depend on donations, grants, and fundraising, which limits opportunities for collaborations with industry and researchers.
Despite the diversity of experience of the panelists, the panel converged on the idea that there is a need to focus on the family experience as well as the patient experience.
There needs to be greater support systems and standards around how data can be collected and shared across organizations and regions efficiently.
Industry opportunities to apply for funding in the medical technology space remain limited and paths to existing opportunities unclear. Organizations such as OBI can play as an intermediary and help to identify gaps or silos and create connections between industry, community, and researchers.
There is a need to refine and rebuild structures that enhance learning about the health system. Such understanding would allow research to be integrated with clinical care as well as policy and training in a more timely manner.
Health Symposium | Panel 126
Current and future implementation of the National Dementia Strategy: Delivering sustainable programs and supports for the prevention and early detection of dementia.
Rosanne Aleong – Executive Director of Research, Baycrest Academy for Research and Education; Director of Research, Innovation, Translation, Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation
Jane Rylett – Scientific Director – CIHR Institute of Aging; Distinguished Professor, University of Western Ontario
Eliav Shaked – Chief Executive Officer, RetiSpec
Saskia Sivananthan – Chief Science Officer, Alzheimer Society of Canada; Adjunct Professor, McGill University
Jim Mann – Advocate living with Alzheimer’s; Recipient of honorary Doctor of Laws degree, University of British Columbia
Nicole Anderson – Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Toronto
The Alzheimer Society of Canada’s Landmark Study highlighted that 1.7 million
Canadians could be living with dementia by 2050, barring significant interventions. The panel started with brief presentations on the first objective of the National Dementia Strategy (Preventing Dementia), followed by thematic breakout sessions focused on the themes below:
1) community-based and online solutions to risk reduction;
2) accessing Canada’s diversity in the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy;
3) supporting current and next generations of researchers;
4) making early detection accessible in primary care; and,
5) breaking the stigma of dementia. Discussions will be incorporated into a white paper.
Suggested ways identified to reduce stigma, included:
building on past work, including furthering research
showing empathy towards those affected
promoting awareness through open dialogue and knowledge sharing using social media, the arts
Life Course Approach to Dementia Prevention
Preventing dementia starts early in life and continues throughout life
Prevention education play a role; the earlier, the better (ages 0-30)
Trauma, depression, diabetes can contribute to early-onset dementia if not addressed in time
Social networks are essential, especially in later in life (ages 60 +)
The Power of Dementia Reduction
Number of Canadians with dementia is expected to reach 1 million by 2030, from about 600,000 today
Dementia reduction strategies are highly desirable
Having good social media messaging, incentivizing healthy lifestyle changes, and making screening more accessible can reduce dementia incidence
Subsidized exercise classes to promote fitness for all and empowering those who are affected are ways to reduce dementia burdon
Kemel Family Centre for Brain Health and Wellness
Building on existing programs, planning for sustainable living and subsidizing prevention programs can reduce dementia risks
Large-scale impacts can be achieved through collaboration with government, engaging with our communities, and doing high quality research
Democratizing Timely and Equitable Accurate Alzheimer Diagnosis
There is an urgent need for health system improvement to reduce wait times
There is limited access to costly diagnoses as primary care settings don’t diagnose Alzheimer’s disease
Healthcare system improvements suggested include:
Advocating for more resources and capacity in the health system
Improving access to specialists and making referrals easier
Ensuring that physicians and healthcare authorities are more educated on dementia
Make scanning available to the general public through available technologies
Ensure open access to scholarly articles
Health Symposium | Panel 183
Moving Canada to Person-Centric and Data-Driven Learning Health Systems
The pandemic revealed significant problems in Canada; critically, one is health data. We are in the midst of an explosion in the generation and application of digital data. These data can support real-time clinical decision-making, as well as the development and evaluation of health technologies and health system interventions. This panel will present examples and discuss the potentials for health data and learning health systems to improve health and address health inequities. We will identify barriers, which are not primarily technological, and the major changes needed, especially in governance, approaches to privacy, public and stakeholder engagement, and federal-provincial relations.
Kimberlyn McGrail, Professor, University of British Columbia and Health Data Research Network Canada
Bartha Knoppers, Full Professor, Canada Research Chair in Law and Medicine
Doug Manuel, Senior Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Stephen J. Hoffman, Vice President of Corporate Data and Surveillance Branch, Public Health Agency of Canada
Michael Wolfson, Adjunct Professor, Epidemiology and Law, University of Ottawa
During the pandemic, public health officials didn’t have or could not access the data needed to be able to mount nimble and targeted public health responses that would reduce infections and save lives. At the same time, the data available became a focus for many Canadians as they tried to understand the situation. As a result, the Public Health Agency of Canada created an Expert Advisory Group (EAG) to develop a Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy to examine the challenges facing the use of health data in Canada and paths to mitigate these challenges. This panel discussed aspects of the EAG’s reports, specifically the barriers to creating a learning health system to improve health and address health inequities and the major changes needed.
State of Affairs
The environment for change related to health data may be a silver lining coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, there is consensus about the problem: the cacophony of too often siloed health data systems in Canada needs to be ameliorated. There is also agreement about what needs to be done. The main barrier, while often thought to be technology-related, has long been overcome.
We need to take action to build learning health systems across the country that maximize opportunities to improve the health of Canadians. High quality, analysis-ready, and analysed data form the essential foundation.
We must recognize that analysed data, in addition to offering tremendous benefits, can become highly political, especially when it may embarrass important groups.
Analysed data gives voice, requires decisions about what is collected or not collected, and brings issues of governance, legal, sovereignty and privacy to the forefront.
The need for person-centric data to be available is not new. There have been decades of major reports & large investments in organizations such as the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and Infoway, but relatively little progress has been achieved.
A repeated issue is jurisdiction over health care. Constitutionally, health care is a shared jurisdiction, but the provinces and territories repeatedly claim jurisdiction over health and related health data. They have too often refused to share data or across provincial and territorial boundaries. Previous attempts by the federal government to create comparable data and indicators across the country have largely failed, but the recent health ministers’ meeting indicates that the federal government is prepared to try again.
Privacy concerns are growing even though there have been no significant privacy issues with authorized health research and health care quality analyses. Because of this “privacy chill”, we see too many data custodians erring on the side of blocking access.
Provincial and territorial health ministers may be reluctant to share health data out of concern that it may reveal poor quality care in their jurisdiction.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted that barriers to sharing data are cultural and organizational challenges related to anxiety, shame, fear and need for acknowledgement, validation, trust and safety. An important example is the reluctance to share wastewater surveillance data, which was population-based (hence there are no privacy issues) and was a new type of data with an unencumbered history.
Adopt the Health Data Charter, created by the Expert Advisory Group on Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy across Canada. The Health Data Charter is an aspirational document to create a level of shared ideas, inspired by the universal human rights – to health, to benefit from science, and to non-discrimination, and founded on the five principles of the Canada Health Act of public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability, and accessibility.
Enhance data-driven social and technological innovation through partnership, invention, discovery, value creation and international best practice and promoting health data literacy, harmonization of data governance, support for First Nations, Metis and Inuit data sovereignty, and inclusion of diverse groups.
Revisit the governance structures of our health data institutions that already exist like CIHI and Infoway to make them more effective. There is a need to shift from a health data custodianship model to a health data stewardship model with the creation of the Health Data Stewardship Council.
Require researchers that produce new data to have an explicit plan for how data will be made publicly available as a condition for funding.
Address public trust by creating a culture that is more comfortable with data. A key culture change is needed through enhancing data literacy of Canadians.
Promote data champions to exemplify how health data can be utilized to promote public and population health and enable learning health care organizations.
Alexandre Le Bouthillier, Co-Founder and Partner, Linearis
Laurent Tillement, Director Partnerships, AI & Health, Mila – Quebec AI Institute
Fanny Sie, One Roche Head of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Health Canada, Roche Canada
Benjamin Haibe-Kains, Senior Scientist & Associate Professor, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network and Medical Biophysics Department of the University of Toronto
Ross Mitchell, Chair in AI in Health, Alberta Health Services
Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to be a major driver in innovative progress for various sectors. The ongoing development of AI and adoption, particularly in healthcare, continues to highlight some challenges from the lens of ethical deliberation, legal risks and societal gains.
The panelists discussed projects they lead that illustrate the use of AI in healthcare with a focus on responsible AI principles.
The Montreal Declaration for Responsible Development of AI (2018) outlines 10 principles to support advancements in AI while limiting potential risks. They include:
Equity: development and use of AI systems (AIS) must contribute to social equity.
Democratic Participation – AIS must meet intelligibility, justifiability and accessibility criteria, and be subject to democratic scrutiny, debate and control.
Privacy: privacy and intimacy must be protected from AIS intrusion and data acquisition and archiving systems.
Prudence: persons involved in AI development must exercise caution by anticipating adverse consequences and take appropriate steps to avoid them.
Responsibility: the development and use of AIS must not lessen the role and responsibility of humans in decision making.
AI holds tremendous promise in health care. It has the potential for earlier disease detection, more accurate diagnosis, better understanding of human physiology, and personalized medicine among others.
Forging appropriate partnerships with a focus on diverse involvement, including involvement of patients, and at all stages can help to develop and implement solutions faster.
Current legal frameworks can be seen as barriers since they are often outdated and have not been adjusted to recognize or accommodate AI. There are significant efforts from Health Canada to accept medical devices that will learn and ongoing discussions to provide equivalence when a medical device is approved in other jurisdictions.
AI is currently not widely used in health care in Canada, hampered by restrictions on access to data, which prevents us from discovering patterns in the population that could improve health outcomes.
The difficulties and barriers with respect to privacy and security to the use of health data across the population creates a form of harm to the population and could be viewed as unethical itself. This is an important issue to address as new learning frameworks, such as Federated Learning, can ensure protection and sovereignty of data while developing AI models.
AI applications in healthcare include: medical image analysis, medical text interpretation, electronic health records processing to decipher novel insights, diagnostic, monitoring, digital biomarker & drug discovery.
Canada has a unique advantage since public health care systems tend to support a more centralized set of health records per province – creating opportunities to build models that are representative of the population and reduce bias and inequities. The addition of intra-provincial agreements could make Canada more competitive internationally and AI models developed more robust and provide AI differentiators for Canadian clinical trials.
Select examples of AI-related initiatives discussed included:
AI with Roche (aiR) – Replicated and formalized external collaboration/partnership vehicle to enable a coalition to resolve challenges in healthcare using responsible collaboration practices based on Montreal declaration (transparency, sharing responsibly, consent, governance)
Mila works focussed on developing AI talent, cutting edge research, AI adoption and social influence. It collaborates with industry partners to help companies to develop tools with a positive societal impact.
The Cancer Digital Intelligence Program at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre aims to accelerate the application of discoveries in cancer care through the fusion of human wisdom, data and technology to deliver the best care to people affected by cancer.
Climate Change Symposium | Panel 253
Towards a shared language around societally inclusive science for global environmental change
Nicole Arbour, Executive Director, Belmont Forum
Marlene Lynda Poitras, Assembly of First Nations/Assemblee des premières Nations
Jean-Marc Mangin, President & CEO, Belmont Forum
Anna Stewart-Ibarra, Scientific Director, Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI)
Javier Gracia-Garza, Senior Advisor: Climate Change, Agriculture, Environment and Forestry
Climate change is a major global challenge with consequences that could affect humans for generations to come. This panel had some difficult conversations regarding major obstacles that arise when trying to tackle climate change. This panel was designed to encourage the audience to be more conscious of what is happening around them and to contemplate on the ways they engage with their peers and community.
Making science accessible should include language accessibility. It is essential to foster shared understandings, shared languages around common themes like Climate Change and sustainability that pose a challenge to everybody.
Language can be a force for inclusion or exclusion. Each discipline has their terminology and in order for us to come together, we need to create a common language and think about how pieces fit together.
The use of language of doom and gloom is very disempowering. Encouraging organizations and citizens to act, regardless of magnitude, helps them to feel empowered, creates hope, and engages them to increase pressure for policy change.
The urgency of the climate situation was highlighted by one panelist who uttered: “We are on the way to climate hell, and we have our foot on the accelerator”, highlighting the need for cross-sectoral collaboration.
Overcoming distrust among indigenous and visible minority communities, bred by colonialism, is a key step in the effort to develop a societally inclusive language around climate change.
The most societally relevant research looks to engage everyone in an equal, equitable space from the beginning, creating a shared platform, a shared language, and defining the problems and solutions.
There is a clear need to address prejudices and biases, conscious and unconscious and discuss the underlying social issues through a decolonising lens to end systemic racism.
Encourage active listening when indigenous and racialized people express their trauma and distrust after centuries of colonization so that they can be active participants in discussion around climate change.
Since English is not the first language for a significant portion of scientists, provide interpreters, translations, and other opportunities for them to apply for funding or submit a paper in a language of their choosing.
Realize the wealth of knowledge that could be gleaned from a diverse population of stakeholders with varied experiences and perspectives.
Engage youth in climate change discussions
Many Indigenous peoples feel misunderstood and excluded in the discourse on climate change and should have a seat at the table when it comes to climate change policy development.
Be wary of efforts at Greenwashing and hold corporations accountable.
Make translation of knowledge more efficient.
Co-creation and co-development in research are critical, because it will give people a sense of ownership and responsibility.
There is a need to not just create safe spaces, but brave spaces as a way towards building trust.
Translating scientific findings to be understandable by a wider audience is critical. We should all act as translators of knowledge and less as gatekeepers of knowledge.
Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research is essential to address climate change, and hence should be encouraged.
Climate Change Symposium | Panel 179
Mission-oriented RD&D federal tools and measures to translate theory to practice for Canada’s regulated energy systems
Panel Abstract: Mission-oriented innovation is a mechanism to facilitate coordination of many actors and limited resources to achieve ambitious goals. The theory is relatively understood, the practice is more difficult, especially in a context such as Canada’s energy sector. This panel will discuss the complex issue of transforming Canada’s electricity systems to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, and how the federal government can enable mission-oriented innovation to accelerate that transformation. NRCan’s Office of Energy R&D will present its Innovation Systems Analysis Tool and Innovation & Electricity Regulation Initiative developed to facilitate a mission-oriented approach. Panelists will respond with their perspectives transitioning to a mission-oriented approach within the electricity sector.
Amanda Wilson, Director General of the Office of Energy, Research and Development, Natural Resources Canada
Speaker(s) Name & Affiliation:
Dr. Bronwyn Lazowski, Senior Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Canada
Katherine Sparks, Director of Innovation, Research and Development at the Independent Electricity System Operator
Geri Yin, Head of Grid Innovation at Alectra
Context: This panel discussed what innovation looks like in practice for three of the key players for electricity, namely: grid operators, distribution companies and economic regulators. Grid operators ensure that the supply of electricity can meet demands, maintain other aspects of balancing the large-scale power system, and plan for future electricity system needs. Electricity distribution companies ensure that electricity safely reaches individual customers to meet their needs – whether it is to run their appliances, charge electric vehicles, or accept power from their rooftop solar back onto the grid. Economic regulators protect customer and market interests, largely by ensuring reasonable electricity rates through transparent and fact-based decision-making. This session explored a mission-oriented approach, notably popularized under the OECD, to enhance innovation in regulated energy sectors. The ultimate result of which, is to accelerate systems transformation towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050 for Canada.
Regulatory Innovation in Research and Development
Regulatory innovation is the act of changing the regulatory system to embrace future energy system needs. This transformation can take place in multiple ways. Regulatory innovation can take place through changes in processes and procedures (e.g., justification criteria and regulatory frameworks). Innovation can also be through the demonstration and trials and new solutions. Regulatory innovation can support the adoption of new solutions at a system-level, bringing broader benefits to the energy system including advancing customer participation models, improving system reliability, and progressing on climate goals. reliability of the system. With the current regulatory frameworks, it might not be possible to use business models to recruit and enable customer participation. Natural Resources Canada is investigating clean technology regulatory innovation through its Innovation and Electricity Regulation Initiative (IERI).
To learn from jurisdictions across Canada and internationally to review mechanisms for regulatory innovation that support grid modernization and smart grid technology integration.
To identify common regulatory challenges, possible solutions and opportunities to advance the market development of smart technologies.
To consider approach to federal program development to target systemic needs.
IERI Focus and Action
To achieve the objectives, IERI is working on 1) understanding the Provincial and Territorial legislative landscape; 2) identifying roles and needs of stakeholders, 3) assessing mechanisms for regulatory innovation; and 4) investigating the role of the Government of Canada for future programming. IERI’s work is predominantly around stakeholder engagement and research.
Industry Perspectives: Focus and Action
IESO – to enable innovation and system transformation in Ontario
The IESO is responsible for the reliability of Ontario’s bulk electricity system; the IESO is working to enable emerging clean resources to provide the various electricity services to mandate grid reliability and electricity affordability in the face of increasing consumer demands for clean energy to support electrification and decarbonization. The IESO is meeting this challenge by working with partners to deploy and evaluate the potential of new technologies (like storage and distributed energy resources) to provide electricity system services and to increase competition. Through these projects the IESO and partners will also evaluate solutions to the policy, regulatory and electricity market barriers of the participation of novel technologies in Ontario’s electricity system.
Alectra – to test and demonstrate new service models to support customer participation
Through its projects, Alectra is demonstrating the role of utilities in energy transition as a Distribution System Operator, acquiring Distributed Energy Resources for grid services through operating local electricity market, testing new customer participation models, engaging local business and community and enabling them to play an active role in being part of the grid solution by supplying clean energy to the grid while being able to earn a return on it – a win-win-win for the customer, the grid and the community. These projects can provide insights to regulators as they look to successful demonstrations of new forms of customer participation, remove regulatory barriers, and evolve regulatory framework to scale up and operationalize the pilots that have been proven successful. The changing role of the utility in the energy transition is imperative, and Alectra is exploring this within their work.
The systems change required for meeting 2050 targets will need coordinated efforts. Mission-Oriented framing can be a useful approach for collective action towards a common goal across different actors.
Scaling-up solutions from innovation to deployment will require advancing technology, adoption, and institutional ecosystem factors in parallel.
There is a need for programmatic approaches to structure the learning from projects in areas of planning and operations.
It is important to also focus on innovation of business models and the building of human resource capacity to deliver and scale-up these solutions.
Experimentation in the institutional ecosystem in parallel with technology and business model development is needed to unlock pathways to scale.
Information sharing across jurisdictions and sectors can identify pertinent opportunities and challenges between stakeholders.
Going forward, roles in the energy system might advance. For example, distribution companies might act as the local market authority to help electricity systems to become more flexible and deliver affordable options for customers.
Transforming knowledge production: Science infrastructure & tools that support transdisciplinary collaboration
Moderator: Mr. Paul Thompson, Deputy Minister, Public Services and Procurement Canada
Dr. Dominika Dolzycka, Head of the team Sharing Resources at Berlin University Alliance
Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation
Francis Bilodeau, Associate Deputy Minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Our most complex societal challenges require creative solutions that bring together multiple perspectives. The role of science along with the assumptions held about how knowledge is produced and used is changing. In this shift toward transdisciplinary collaboration, federal governments have a role in enabling the sharing of ideas and resources across different disciplines and partnerships, including the design and use of infrastructure.
Representatives from Canada and Germany discussed how shared science infrastructure can support the transdisciplinary collaborations needed to solve current and future global challenges, consequently enhancing the training of the next generation of scientific leaders and building public trust.
Key Takeaways: Key lessons to draw on from the COVID pandemic
It is important to stay on top of emerging science, recognize its incredible power, and promote collaboration and knowledge sharing
Several dimensions were identified to be critical to respond to pandemics, including:
speed of action and tapping into ingenuity of others
understanding long term care and strengthening measures of care
the role of modelling and scenario planning to better prepare
partnership with industry can be highly impactful (e.g., production and deployment of rapid COVID tests)
research coordination and supporting the work of the Immunity Task Force proved essential
making racialized, indigenous, new canadians, and the homeless feel supported and have equitable access to care and prevention
genomics played a key role in pandemic response
We need to explore how can we support indigenous peoples and make use of traditional knowledge in science
We need a strong effort in supporting research and and coordinating and recognizing efforts made (e.g., through the CIHR, CRCC, and Canadian Immunization Task force)
We need to combat racism, collaborate with Indigenous peoples to discover how Indigenous knowledge sharing can help transform knowledge production
Everything old is new again: Proven ingredients to successful mission-oriented program design from the Networks of Centres of Excellence Program
Moderator: Karimah Es Sabar, CEO & General Partner, Quark Venture LP
Bill Borland, Principal, Borland & Associates Inc.
Stéphanie Michaud, PhD, President & CEO, BioCanRx
Elizabeth Nanak, PhD, CEO, GlycoNet
Diana Royce, PhD, President, The Deerfield Group Inc; President & CEO, AllerGen Inc; Executive Director, NanoMedicines Innovation Network (NMIN)
Context: Mission-oriented research (now better recognized as moonshot initiatives) and innovation serve the idea that societies should leverage research and innovation activities to achieve clear, ambitious goals. Activities can span different stages of the innovation cycle from research to market deployment and cut across various policy fields, sectors and disciplines. Although slated for termination in 2024, the Network Centres of Excellence (NCE) program’s rich history, program structure, successes and failures should be used to inform and efficiently implement future mission-oriented research and innovation program design. The panellists provided examples of NCE program successes and failures through funding renewal and early termination from their own experiences with this program.
The opening remarks by the moderator to introduce the panel were the following:
What is our “status quo” in Canada? There is a stronger value to the research, development and innovation ecosystem if Canada can build upon successful programs rather than continuously reinventing the wheel (i.e., build and sustain)
The purpose of the panel is to discuss ways in which we can better modernize and sustain innovation using a mission-oriented approach.
The purpose of the panel was to learn from an over 30-year-old program to inform future program design. Of note, 16 out of 35 organizations invited to full Strategic Science Fund application have roots in the NCE program.
In response to COVID, there is a renewed focus on the life sciences, and we have observed a rapid response from the government (e.g., via the commitments to the Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy).
A strong governance structure at all levels of oversight is essential
The panel emphasized the value of strong governance in two settings: a) a board of directors for the program (e.g., NCE programs such as GlycoNet, BioCanRx and AllerGen) and b) a steering committee at the program Secretariat level (i.e, within the Government funding body) that oversees the Networks/programs’ activities.
The purpose of the board is to oversee and govern all program activities, allowing for an arms-length oversight body and management of conflicts of interest. At the Secretariat level, continuous annual performance monitoring ensures accountability to the stated goals of the organization.
Performance monitoring to ensure a high-performing research program
The panel highlighted the importance of monitoring operational activities against stated deliverables at both the level of the Board of Directors and the Secretariat.
Research programs should also have oversight by international, and arms-length peer review committees that track performance of funded projects and make recommendations to the Board of Directors.
Performance monitoring needs to be clear and transparent and performance metrics need to be well-defined.
The NCE program’s benchmarking opportunities with international best practices offer lessons for the elaboration of new initiatives.
Long-term sustained funding ear-marked for research
The panel noted that the funded NCE programs historically had a 15-year funding commitment. This represented sustained financial and operational capacity to achieve long-term goals and to allow nascent technologies to develop to maturity.
Multidisciplinarity and Partnerships
The NCE programs were designed with a specific goal of spurring partnerships.
A value of the NCE program was its ability to act as a “collision space” both within and across networks, a function that is important to maintain.
Funding to support intellectual property (IP) protection
Embedded in moonshot projects should be funding to support IP generation and protection to foster an innovation culture.
Other takeaways and commentaries
Integration of Indigenous Knowledge should be mandated, informed by examples such as The Canadian Mountain Network.
The NCE model has been imitated internationally (e.g. by Australia), and rather than re-starting programs, we should work to modernize and extend it.
Strengthening Linkages between Federal and Academic Science: Success through Partnership
Cara Tannenbaun, Professor, Universite de Montreal, and Departmental Science Advisor, Health Canada
Jeff Griffin, Vice-President, Science and Technology, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Ontario, Canada.
Duncan Retson, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Science and Parliamentary Infrastructure Branch, Public Services and Procurement Canada, Ontario, Canada.
Shannon Quinn, Secretary General, National Research Council, Ontario, Canada.
Guy Levesque, Vice-President, Innovation, Partnerships and Entrepreneurship, University of Ottawa
Context: Research has increasingly become collaborative, a trend motivated by many factors, including the effectiveness of interdisciplinary science, the efficiency of sharing infrastructure and equipment, and a stronger emphasis on challenge-driven research to generate socio-economic impacts. The pandemic has underscored the importance of collaboration and has demonstrated that the research ecosystem, if nimble, can achieve great things quickly when researchers work together. This panel brought together individuals from a range of federal departments and laboratories, as well as from the academic community, to address key questions about the promises presented by federal-academic research collaboration and ways to stimulate it.
Breaking down silos between industries and institutions is key to success and developing long term partnerships.
COVID-19 challenged and changed the way we work and collaborate.
NRC was able to pivot rapidly due to the existence of strong partnerships with universities and industries. On short notice, the organization was able to build a biologics manufacturing centre to enhance capacity to produce vaccines.
Similarly, the Canadian Nuclear Laboratory (CNL) was able to work with partners to manufacture ventilators to overcome shortages in a few months.
There is significant value in maintaining a broad network of partnerships and collaborations.
Having an open mind and navigating cultural differences are key to successful partnerships.
Institutional barriers sometimes make the process of developing collaborations difficult; for instance security considerations can be a hindrance to collaboration.
Working with local institutions and awareness of opportunities is keen to develop partnerships.
There is a need to enhance collaborative programs between industry, academia and government institutions.
Working and developing projects with different time frames can leverage the strength and the expertise of different members can lead to successful partnerships.
Constructive disruption and need for win-win relations is key for successful problem solving and long-lasting partnerships.
Developing flexible partnerships to be able adapt to different time frames is a key requirement to attract and retain fresh talent.
How do we make open access sustainable for scientific publishing?
With the demand for an all-in transition to open access imminent, publishers are at an inflection point. The sustainability of new and untested publishing models poses uncertainties for publishers and may raise unintentional financial burdens to researchers, reinforcing systemic inequalities and global inequities. How does Canada make open access a sustainable way forward for discovery and dissemination of scholarly communications? This panel is a solutions-focused and audience-driven discussion to propose realistic next steps for Canada’s science stakeholders to develop and test frameworks that support a sustainable shift to open access.
Michael Donaldson – Director, Strategic Initiatives, Canadian Science Publishing
Stefanie Haustein – Associate Professor, University of Ottawa
Adrian T. Stanley – General Manager, JMIR Publications, Society for Scholarly Publishing
Clare Appavoo – Executive Director, Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN)
Sapna Mahajan – Director of Genomics in Society, Genome Canada
Context: Open access publishing has grown in the last 20 years. New open access (OA) journals are being launched, more open access content is being published, and there is a growing shift from subscription-based content to open access. Rapid dissemination of knowledge during the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the value of open access publishing. The panel discussed challenges to and opportunities for ensuring a sustainable open access future.
State of Affairs
Open access business models and landscapes are still evolving.
There is a drive to create equitable and sustainable open access, but the public does not fully appreciate the benefits from open free access to publicly funded research.
Reduced barriers to readers also means that authors, research funders and institutions are now often responsible for paying for publication fees, posing new challenges.
The culture of academia encourages researchers to publish in high impact journals such as Science and Nature, which are often governed by large for-profit publishers. The academic incentive and reward systems need to be re-examined.
It is important for Canada to develop approaches and mechanisms for continued multi-stakeholder dialogue for open access publishing, while also partaking in global discussions and learning from international successes.
Stakeholders from the researcher, library, funder, and publisher communities, need to collaborate within and outside of Canada to support a sustainable shift to open access.
Policy changes by leading institutions are necessary to bring about needed changes. Community action is necessary and collaboration between funders, researchers, publishers, and policy makers is required to create this change. We need to create a format and environment for safe, open, and trusted discussions between stakeholders.
There is a need to create more robust policies and waivers to address challenges related to author/reader fees in low and middle-income countries.
Funding agencies do encourage open access as written in their policies, but to follow through, agencies must monitor the actions associated with their policies.
We need to recognize the value of bibliodiversity. Many Large for-profit publishers own the brand-name of high impact factor journals. Canada is also home to many independent journals, not-for-profit publishers, and university presses. Existing journals (and researchers) have the option of creating their own open access journals, but this has cost implications and central OA repositories need to be carefully considered.
Funders need to change how they fund research and encourage exploration in knowledge mobilization as the traditional ways of translating research are not always effective in reaching the intended audience.·
Many believe that open access publishing represents the future of scholarly publishing. But the shift to open has many challenges. All stakeholders need to come together to identify the barriers, look for opportunities, and think strategically about how we can work towards a sustainable open access future. There is an urgency around this since many research-intensive countries are developing national open access policies to accelerate and support this change.
Canadian academic libraries and the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) are looking to support open access progress through applying subscription fees to offset publishing costs for authors in several publisher agreements.
Implementing just and equitable Nature-based Solutions in Canada-opportunities and knowledge gaps
Eliane Ubalijoro, Global Hub Director, Canada, Future Earth, and Executive Director Sustainability in the Digital Age
Mary-Kate Craig, PhD, Coordinator, Carbon Rights and Responsibility group, University of Guelph, Co-founder of Anwaatin Inc
Kim Neale, Founder, Manitoulin Climate Collaborative, Project and Operations Assistant, Municipal Natural Asset Initiative (MNAI), Core Group, Carbon Rights and Responsibility group
Gordon McBean, PhD, Professor Emeritus at Western University
Jérôme Marty, Project Director, Council of Canadian Academies, Executive Director, International Association for Great Lakes Research
Context: Nature-based Solutions (NbS) has the potential to reduce carbon emission while protecting biodiversity and improving the well-being of humanity. Many applications for NbS are envisioned but overall their long-term impacts are still poorly understood. The panel’s objective was to discuss preliminary Canadian NbS trends and ways to enhance such applications in a variety of sectors. This panel also explored recent gatherings towards strengthening Indigenous Carbon Rights as a crucial pillar of NbS success in Canada and globally.
Nature-based solutions include applications such as the “greening” of systems design to protect ecological systems (e.g. how we manage forests, plan to avoid large scale fires, and manage watershed)
We need systemic transformations that enable us to make things happen, and must do so urgently to deal with challenges facing humanity
Many nature-based solutions are being used as a key adaptation strategy
Forward-thinking NbS that utilize a replacement costs measurement approach can be adaptive and provide significant financial savings. For instance, the Town of Gibson saved $400 M by investing $180 M to enhance water absorption and retention.
We need to change practice so that instead of taking nature from being valued at Zero to it being valued at significant, when accounting for replacement costs
Nature-based solutions need to be connected to communities and include indigenous perspectives, with the aspiration to have NbS include indigenous perspectives by 2030
Need to support teams w/n Canada to demonstrate our leadership role
Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform healthcare, addressing long-standing problems of safety, quality and access. Yet, AI itself also raises concerns relating, for instance, to algorithmic bias, apportionment of liability, safety, privacy and informed consent. Are our existing legal structures, across Canada, sufficient to meet these 21st century challenges? Our panel will discuss their research program of work shopping case studies with a multidisciplinary group (legal, clinical, computer science, engineering, ethics) of a range of health-related AI across healthcare settings. In doing so they will illuminate the heterogeneity of challenges AI presents and the needs we have for adroit law reform.
André Picard, health reporter and columnist for The Globe and Mail
Colleen Flood, Professor, University Research Chair in Health and Law Policy, Inaugural Director, University of Ottawa Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics
Catherine Régis, Professor, University of Montreal Law Faculty, co-founder of the Health Hub – Policy, Organizations & Law, and JusticIA Research Group
Devin Singh, Paediatric Emergency Medicine Physician & Clinical AI Specialist, SickKids, co-founder & CEO Hero AI.
Tanya Horsley, Associate Director, Research, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Canada
Teresa Scassa, Canadian Research Chair in Information Law and Policy at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law
Zachary Kaminsky, DIFD Mach-Gaensslen Chair in Suicide Prevention Research, The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research (IMHR)
Context: Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to improve efficiency and be a catalyst for innovations to overcome some of the challenges currently facing our healthcare system. AI can change the way patients are diagnosed and treated, how research is conducted and also address long-standing problems of safety, quality and access.
The panel brought together a multidisciplinary group of collaborators from the Machine M.D. project working in the area of governance of health-related AI. Through an examination of case studies on the application of health-related AI by innovators across health care settings, the group reflected on the current set of legal and ethical guidelines to understand if the current regulatory oversight is sufficient.
Understanding legal ramifications for incorporating AI in healthcare requires an examination of different risk profiles. These can be explored through the development of case studies. Two case studies were presented that illustrate different legal and ethical concerns:
Case study – Machine-Learning Based Medical Directives: Automated Test ordering in Paediatric Emergency Departments
The case study looked at building real-time efficiencies and expediting care in EDs by examining whether machine-learning (AI) can be used to predict outcomes and automate the ordering of diagnostic tests based on patient triage data.
Case study – Suicide Artificial Intelligence Prediction Heuristic (SAIPH)
SAIPH is a machine learning algorithm that uses natural language processing to examine speech patterns in public Twitter posts to identify suicidal ideation risk by looking for signs of mental distress such as burden, stress, loneliness, hopelessness, insomnia, depression and anxiety. SAIPH has the potential to assist clinicians with decision-making in point of care settings, in addition to other benefits.
This case study highlights the important challenges related to law and ethics related to access to data and informed consent for individuals involved.
A timely technology assessment by the federal government is needed for all healthcare AI prior to implementation.
A regulatory mechanism for adaptive AI is also needed to ensure that it is evolving over time in a safe way and data is being collected about how it is working in real time. It was noted that when AI does not evolve it can also become unsafe highlighting the urgent need for regulatory pathways for adaptive AI in healthcare.
Legal reform is needed to address issues with liability, privacy, and informed consent before AI can fully be implemented in health care.
Challenges with AI in Healthcare:
Possibility of Errors: The scale and impact of a mistake within an AI tool can be significant, impacting many people. As the training of AI tools relies on existing data, if that data is not representative of the population than there could be errors in the diagnosis or treatment decision for certain population segments.
Liability Issues: There may be friction between clinical judgement and AI recommendations, which have a bearing on liability. Also, with more players involved, how should liability be apportioned between clinicians, hospitals, technology innovators and manufacturers? Technology innovators and manufacturers may try to avoid liability through the inclusion of warnings on the limitation of use.
Informed Consent: From a legal point of view informed consent is not required when AI is being used for quality improvement or diagnostics purposes. However, it is required for treatment. At a practical level, informed treatment means the patient needs to understand the nature of treatment, and physicians need access to information about the tools they use. The law about informed consent could evolve to include a duty to disclose the use of AI in health care for prevention, diagnostic and treatment, as enshrined in French law.
Privacy Dimensions: Privacy laws are complex, largely outdated, and fragmented across multiple jurisdictions in Canada. This creates challenges when trying to combine data, balance access and privacy, and deal with data ownership and mobility. Strategies to alleviate these concerns include anonymizing data and penalizing reidentification of data.
With a focus on brain health, our health system has an opportunity to seek and enact models and mechanisms to find innovative ways to support people living with neurological disorders like Dementia. This panel will foster dialogue on how we can learn from other jurisdictions, understand the impact of the current care continuum, and highlight the need to drive better outcomes through partnerships.
Cathy Barrick, Chief Executive Officer, Alzheimer Society of Ontario
Jennifer Dotchin, Senior Manager, Innovation Partnerships and Strategy, Hotchkiss Brain Institute
Padraic Ward, Head of Commercial Operations, Roche Pharma International
Context: Dementia is an umbrella term for a collection of symptoms caused by disorders affecting the brain, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common. Dementia leads to increasingly severe memory impairment, behavioural and emotional changes. It is not a normal part of aging. The impact of dementia will intensify as the population ages. Over 55 million people currently live with dementia and a prevalence that is predicted to increase to 140 million by 2050.
Through discussion the panel highlighted how Canada is not dementia ready, and ways that we can learn from other jurisdictions to drive better outcomes through partnerships.
Dementia is stigmatized and many seniors are afraid of getting it and do not seek care, which is itself severely lacking due to low investments and lack of effective treatments. A systemic approach is needed to build appropriate support for those affected.
Complicating Dementia care are: lack of data and measurements that can inform dementia care, no billing codes for treating people with dementia, most general practice physicians are not prepared to recognize, diagnose or treat dementia patients.
To overcome challenges, we need partnerships, collaboration, adoption of innovations and working with strong established communities such as the Alzheimer’s disease community.
Stakeholders from different backgrounds, governments, health care professionals, private sector, scientific organizations, and the public are coming together to address this growing public health challenge.
Other jurisdictions like the UK are facing the same challenge and provide learnings for setting up a health care system to support brain health.
We should continue to foster collaborations like the Campus Alberta Neuroscience initiative, a network of three university centres for neuroscience in Alberta, to accelerate research and innovation by developing talent related to innovation and commercialization, entrepreneurship, and collaborations.
We must ensure that there is a pathway for rapid integration of innovation for patient care in a sustainable way for all stakeholders.
Organizations like Alzheimer’s Society of Ontario have provided solutions to the government for systemic changes to treat dementia in a sustainable and coordinated way. The Roadmap to a Renewed Dementia Strategy for Ontario had 56 policy and 21 funding recommendations requiring an investment of $812 million dollars for implementation.
Research security within Canadian research institutions
The panel will discuss how Canadian institutions are handling the issue of research security. Research security refers to the ability to identify possible security risks to a researcher’s work and determine the measures that minimize these risks to protect scientific research and discovery. Canada and like-minded countries are attractive targets to hostile actors with malicious intent, and this year’s panel will invite experts from universities and third-party organizations that conduct research to discuss what these organizations are doing to maintain an open and secure research environment in an era of increasing risk.
Wendy Therrien, Vice President, Government Relations and Director of the Office of the Rector, Université de Sherbrooke
Nigel Smith, Executive Director and CEO of TRIUMF, Canada’s particle accelerator centre
Charmaine Dean, Vice-President of Research, University of Waterloo
David MaGee , Vice-President of Research, University of New Brunswick
Balancing Open Science and Research Security in an Increasingly Collaborative Environment
The concept of science and diplomacy in research and collaboration with individuals opens space for new ideas to combat national barriers.
Open science should ensure that researchers are able to network and connect with other individuals within the same field. There needs to be a culture change so individuals can understand that open science and research security need to co-exist.
The importance of focusing on the concept of national resilience and its link to collaboration as that provides the ability to remain resilient in the face of adversaries, such as COVID-19.
International collaboration and the implementation of mitigation strategies by both researchers and Canada is important as a whole to protect research.
We are heading towards the direction of open science and we need to make it a priority to educate researchers about research security risks and measures.
Incorporate Research Security courses and tools into every researcher’s orientation.
Integrating Research Security measures into International Collaboration
Transparency in research partnerships is most important, this is explained in four areas:
International corporate partners: The international organizations who sponsor research in specific sectors needed to help identify the issues in the respective sectors (e.g., in the mining sector).
Geopolitics: a change as global open science initiatives are now being constrained in making sure that specific areas/specific countries are looked at.
International Research: Research security tools and measures can be equally as beneficial for researchers conducting work internationally, as they are for Canadian researchers
Bilateral arrangements: Important to look at the risks that arise when collaborating internationally and how we can mitigate these risks. She also noted the importance of making sure that graduate students, both nationally and internationally, are protected as creators of IP and maintaining access to their IP.
Many universities are decentralized in how they operate which presents complications for research security. Often, international partnerships are not done through the VP’s office which can cause an oversight of due diligence if there isn’t proper communication.
There is a need for a high level of due diligence when building agreements with researchers and organizations, nationally and internationally.
Difficulties with keeping IP in Canada: When a company is sold, the IP ends up moving creating a big challenge for longevity of a relationship.
Research security is not on everyone’s radar/not always a priority and the disparity in the size of RS offices within academic institutions contributes to this factor.
There’s hopes that the expansion of the National Security Guidelines on Research Partnerships will increase the number of offices that will be conducting due diligence which presents an opportunity for regionalization: looking at pooling resources, lists of who is collaborating, who is a trusted partner, who is not, and institutions who are open to sharing that information.
Discussions of cybersecurity and changing the narrative of what that means, given that there is much greater action in this area which goes beyond individuals; nation states are conducting these attacks. There is a need for more resources to protect against the scale of attacks by nation states.
Institutions need to take more ownership of protecting their intellectual property as it is currently very independent.
The potential for racial profiling within RS, noting that this is not an issue that is often addressed by the community.
Inform the institutional office at the very beginning, not at the very end. The office’s early involvement will reduce the number of problems in the long run.
Creating more engagement with researchers using a strategic approach. Ask all institutions how they plan to support risk mitigation strategies.
Acquiring awareness from the researcher about the current situation is critical to communicate the lessons learned to current research teams.
The culture of mutual understanding between security departments via ISED with universities has been very good. There wasn’t a common framework before when researchers were being briefed and this new development has been welcomed. It is important for institutions to be in discussions on the threats so that they know how to act and to convince their contractors that there’s an issue.
The concluding thought was that all stakeholders need to work together to create a common culture of awareness around risk.
Going for the gold: Building a world-class evidence-support system for health for future preparedness
The response to COVID-19 placed an unprecedented demand on the creation and use of evidence to support timely and effective decision-making, both domestically and globally. This panel will reflect and build upon learnings from COVID-19 concerning how evidence is funded, synthesized, and used across different stakeholders in a learning health systems approach. The interdisciplinary and multi-organizational panellists will reflect on the different types of, and approaches to gathering evidence; responsiveness to shifting needs; opportunities to formalize collaboration and scale rapid response capacity; strengthening health equity through engagement of community and cultural partners; and better utilizing the information in decision-making.
Sarah Viehbeck, PhD – Chief Science Officer, Public Health Agency of Canada
Shannon McDonald, MD – Chief Medical Officer, First Nations Health Authority
John Lavis, M.D., PhD – Director, McMaster Health Forum; Professor, McMaster University
Matthew Tunis, PhD – Executive Secretary for Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization, Public Health Agency of Canada; Adjunct Professor, University of Ottawa
Tammy Clifford, PhD – Vice-President, Research-Learning Health Systems, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Context: During this unprecedented time, evidence-support systems are necessary. The pace and rigor of developing evidence has grown in the last three years and our systems of data/evidence processing have been overwhelmed. It is time to reflect on how we develop and sustain evidence-support systems for the future of health and healthcare in Canada, applying our learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic. From the COVID-19 experience, we can improve how we synthesize evidence to arrive at policy recommendations, rapidly scale evidence synthesis, and recognize opportunities to formalize collaborations.
Challenges & Opportunities
Currently, the mobilization of evidence in support of decision-making faces an unevenly supportive culture, insufficient enablers, and is unevenly distributed. There is a need to be more strategic in building a responsive evidence support system: in what evidence we demand (fund) and how we use regional/national/global evidence as well as evidence support structures that already exist.
There is a need for greater credibility in sources of information. We cannot continue to respond to policymakers’ questions with preprints, singular expert opinion or with other select forms of evidence. All forms of evidence should collectively be taken into consideration as part of the decision-making process.
Traditional models of science such as peer-review publications are too slow in an evolving crisis. A living (real time) repository of pre-print literature is necessary.
Throughout the pandemic, and in other situations, there has been a need to adjust public messaging and conveying of standards, which has sometimes provoked uncertainty and diminished confidence within the general public. Hence, there is also a need to strengthen public awareness and appreciation of the continuous evolution of scientific knowledge, while at the same time providing accurate and accountable communications and recommendations in the context of rapidly evolving situations.
During the pandemic, policy questions kept changing because of the uncertainty and unknowns of the virus and vaccines. Hence, situational awareness, such as surveillance and case data, can be equally important as systematic repositories and evidence syntheses. We need to be able to recognise in real time when something potentially transformative is unfolding, or very likely to happen, and integrate the situation into models of understanding and response.
During the pandemic, the First Nations and other communities have been held back in their cultural practices, and the effects of this disruption do not show up in national data. Nor do other unintended consequences of COVID-19 such as food insecurity and isolation. These aspects deserve greater attention.
Historical and continued impacts of colonialism on First Nations health and wellness must be considered in research and policy while ensuring that the way forward includes a strength-based approach to health and wellness for First Nations.
Formalize and strengthen evidence support systems; understand the national or provincial context and mobilize evidence units.
Evidence planning and prioritizing should be incorporated into grant submissions as a normalized process, and not an after-thought. Furthermore, evidence synthesis should be used to identify funding calls and priorities going forward.
Advisory committees should be created to support policy and practice recommendations. Those committees should be maintained and leveraged in normal times and roles adjusted as needed during times of emergency response.
Evidence support networks must be community-oriented and equity-driven; there is a need to prioritize the voices of people with lived experience and those who serve as community knowledge-holders.
There is a need to build collaborative models of public health service delivery and knowledge mobilization with a goal of promoting First Nations health sovereignty where First Nations have primacy in partnerships and decision-making.
Under the microscope – Artificial Intelligence for Scientific Discovery and Design
Dr. Joel Martin, Chief Digital Research Officer and Chief Science Officer, National Research Council.
Elissa Strome, Executive Director of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy at CIFAR
Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy at the University of Ottawa
Ratmir Derda, Professor at University of Alberta
Nicole Janssen, Co‐founder and Co‐CEO of AltaML
Alain Tchagang, Research officer with the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada.
Context: Science and discovery are a driving force of global economies. The use of AI and machine learning for science and engineering has the potential to radically transform the nature of scientific inquiry and discovery. This panel will: 1) examine the unique legal, ethical, social and policy considerations for AI for science and discovery; and 2) engage with the audience to identify gaps in current policies and next steps for addressing those gaps.
State of Affairs
AI can help us in making choices.
AI can enhance data collection through Computer Vision/Speech processing (Natural Language processing)
AI driving Robotics and Automation.
AI is currently being used for peer-review and in evaluating researchers and their output and making decisions about granting/funding.
It has become inevitable that we learn to interact with AI in some form or the other.
Canada lags in the development of policy and regulations regarding the application of AI.
There is a lack of adequate investment for developing data infrastructure and data sharing systems.
There are considerable gaps in data sharing frameworks between levels of the government.
Groups/ sectors tend to work independently, which may be hindering progress.
Rate of adoption remains low compared to the rate of investment.
Fear/Lack of public trust in AI in part due to lack of knowledge about AI.
Use of existing data may reinforce pre-existing/historical biases in what type of research gets funded and who gets funded.
Industry is looking for development of Responsible AI as there is no regulation or concrete definition of what Responsible AI is and what is the methodology and standard practices that should be followed.
Opportunities and recommendations
Canada has a great opportunity to be a leader in Responsible AI.
We need a foundation to learn best practices regarding implementation of AI, data collection and sharing practices.
Establishment of AI practice standards is required for broad applications of AI in society.
Interdisciplinarity is an important factor required for collaboration between fields and institutions for successful development and deployment of AI.
AI, as a tool, depends on who and how it is being used. The government should take steps to regulate AI.
Education and creating public awareness regarding AI are necessary to improve trust in AI systems.
Transparency and Public Engagement in development of frameworks on the use of AI can improve the trust and adoption of AI.
Greater investment is needed for developing data infrastructure and data sharing systems/frameworks.
Weaving Indigenous Science and federal research: barriers and bright spots
The purpose of this panel is to highlight practices and innovative insights for the equitable and ethical treatment of Indigenous Science (IS) in federal research. With the help of a few case studies from diverse and intersecting contexts, this panel will discuss, dialogue, and identify fundamental elements to acknowledge the meaningful inclusion of IS in federal research. In the course of discussion and dialogue, this panel aims to underscore some key elements as bridging agents to enable a fuller understanding, and valuing of IS in federal science. Additionally, the panelists are uniquely positioned to reflect on how bridging knowledge systems can support and enhance the mutual interests of Indigenous communities and federal science.
Cara Tannenbaum – Departmental Science Advisor, Health Canada; Scientific Director, Institute of Gender and Health at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; Full Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal/University of Montreal
Steven Alexander – Science Advisor, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Amy Cardinal-Christianson – Indigenous Fire Specialist, Parks Canada Agency
Gary Mallach – Air Health Effects Scientist, Health Canada
Kyle Bobiwash – Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba; Office of the Chief Science Advisor
Context: The panel explored the notion of reconciliation and how it relates to the topics at hand. It was posited that experiencing reconciliation from multiple perspectives is necessary to elevate the equitable and inclusive practice of Indigenous sciences in federal research through an approach that indigenous communities refer to as two-eyed seeing; a concept that blends indigenous knowledge with modern science. The Truth and Reconciliation commission brought us to where we are today in this discussion. This panel aimed to support participants in feeling more empowered to take the next step towards Truth and Reconciliation.
Key Takeaways and Recommendations:
The past history of extractive research and paternalistic policy decisions continue to pose challenges for the federal researchers working with Indigenous communities.
Non-Indigenous public servants evaluating/approving Indigenous programs leads to community needs not being adequately considered or met.
There is a challenge with paying honorariums to Indigenous collaborators. Recognition of contribution should take the form of a guaranteed compensation.
Over-reliance on Indigenous staff, in the conduct of research activities, is prominent and leads to burn out.
Representativeness of Indigenous peoples, communities, and research practices should be improved.
Short-term (e.g. 3-5 years or less) research funding structure inhibits trustworthy relationship building with Indigenous communities.
The publish or perish model in academia causes challenges. More emphasis should be paid on collaborative research and quality of Indigenous participation, data sovereignty, quality of findings, and evolving relationships.
Indigenous research principles and methodologies should be respected and research conducted in partnership, and with acknowledgement and credits as relevant.
There is a need to recognize Indigenous histories, trajectories, and futures and to understand that there will be ‘knots’ to work through and strong ‘braids’ to create; and we can do this together, to elevate Indigenous systems.
Policymakers need to advocate for long-term commitments to Indigenous community collaboration, for instance by building dedicated Indigenous research funds with different requirements that is often the norm. An Indigenous research advisory committee is a plausible approach to be inclusive of Indigenous perspectives.
Compensation and recognition for Indigenous contributions can be planned as a cash payment or through targeted support that will ensure the compensation process is accessible, not complicated, and timely.
True allyship can help in supporting Indigenous staff as well as cohort hiring. Being conscious of the need to hire or to instead create agreements and work in collaboration with First Nations communities. See “Accomplices Not Allies”.
Ethical standards (formal or informal) should be identified and agreed upon between Indigenous and non-Indigenous parties and should guide research interactions.
Government-affiliated individuals should only enter Indigenous grounds and homes by invitation only to show respect and enhance trust.
Research methodologies and data collection/analysis techniques should ensure that outcomes are applicable and impactful for the community being studied, and that this benefit is understood by them.
We need to take strength-based approaches in research involving Indigenous Peoples. Strength-based research can help shift the focus on deficits and begin by analyzing the strengths of both individuals and communities.