With an announcement of $2.2 billion invested in the life sciences sector, the federal government has shown that it recognizes the sector’s importance for Canada’s economy and health. Nevertheless, the various branches of the federal government currently need to be aligned if the full potential of those investments is going to be realized. In addition, consistency and complementarity with the work of the provincial governments is becoming a priority. Several provinces are currently working on developing their own life sciences strategies. Québec has a head start. Its “Innovation Comes to Life” strategy has been in place since May 2017. The Ministère de l’Économie et de l’innovation (MEI) recently began work to update it by this fall to take into account the impact of the pandemic on the sector’s needs and issues. One of the keys to the success of the first version of the Québec Life Sciences Strategy was the process put in place. The process made it possible to involve all industry players in drawing up the recommendations made to the Ministers of the Economy and Health who co-chaired the Strategy working group. I feel it is imperative for the success of this update that we regain the same level of commitment and support from the two current ministers. And why not from the Officer of the Prime Minister himself?
The federal budget includes the creation of a $250-million fund for clinical research. In this month focused on clinical research awareness, this announcement could not come at a better time. How will the Canadian Institutes of Health Research use these amounts? I hope a decision will be made to support organizations already present and active in the field to strengthen existing capacities in Québec and Canada (Catalys Québec, Q-CROC, McPeak Sirois, etc.). And what if this fund were to be leveraged to develop new clinical research niches such as home-based clinical studies through the use of connected health technologies?