Canada - Global health R&D
At a glance
Canada’s global health R&D funding focuses mainly on HIV/AIDS
According to G-FINDER data, Canada’s funding for research and development (R&D) on poverty-related and neglected diseases (PRNDs), referred to as ‘global health R&D’ in this profile, stood at US$15 million in 2018. Canada’s funding in this sector has been steadily increasing since 2016.
Most of Canada’s financing for global health R&D went to basic research (US$8.6 million or 56%) and vaccine development (US$2 million or 10%). In 2018, funding was primarily directed toward HIV/AIDS (US$7 million or 48%). Other focus areas included tuberculosis (US$3 million or 19%), kinetoplastid diseases (US$2 million or 10%), and malaria (US$1 million or 9%).
According to G-FINDER data, the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) was the main public funder for global health R&D in 2018, spending US$14 million (92% of total funding) in the sector. CIHR is the Canadian government’s agency for health research, supervised by the Ministry of Health. Within its support for global health R&D, CIHR provided funds to various research and academic institutions. The main recipient for this funding in 2018 was the University of British Columbia (US$4.6 million or 30% of all funding), followed by the University of Laval (US$2.1 million or 14% of all funding).
Canada has contributed to global R&D efforts around COVID-19. As of early May 2020, Canada had announced CAD850 million (US$656 million) in support of the development of diagnostics, treatment, and vaccines for COVID-19. These funds (not all of which will be reportable as ODA) are being channeled toward domestic research, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the World Health Organization (WHO) Solidarity Trial, and diagnostic support for partner countries. In particular, the government has allocated CAD40 million (US$31 million) to CEPI, an increase from previous commitments announced at G20 summits in 2018 and 2019, which total CAD14 million (US$11 million).
GAC and CIHR jointly lead decision-making on global health R&D
Responsibility for global health R&D policies and funding lies with GAC and CIHR, as well as the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
Within CIHR, overall strategic directions are set by the Governing Council. The Science Council of CIHR is a management committee that develops and implements CIHR’s work. Within the three business portfolios — Research, Knowledge Translation and Ethics (RKTE); External Affairs and Business Development (EABD); and Resource Planning and Management (RPM) — RKTE is responsible for the administration of funding programs, including for global health R&D. CIHR is also guided by a Framework for International Relations and Cooperation (2006).
The CIHR, IDRC, and GAC jointly support the ‘Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa’ program (CAD36 million from 2014 to 2020, US$28 million). The program supports Canadian and African research organizations around R&D on strengthening health systems. Priority areas include: 1) high impact, community-based interventions, 2) quality facility-based interventions, 3) policy environment, and 4) human resources for health.