Catalyst Grant : Policy Research for Health System Transformation

Well-being, Health and Biomedical Discovery


Academic Unit: Inquire with Unit

Memorial Deadline: Wednesday 12th, October 2022

External Deadline: Monday 17th, October 2022


High-performing health care delivery and public health systems are a vital part of preventing illness, treating disease, managing complex health conditions, preparing for and responding to health emergencies, and promoting population health and well-being for all.

The year 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Canadian Medicare – the legislative framework that has long been regarded as a hallmark of Canadian culture and identity. There is much to celebrate regarding the principles that Medicare established for universal access to physician and hospital services based on need, not ability to pay, and the conditions it fostered for excellence and innovation in the delivery of publicly funded health care services. However, despite pockets of innovation and examples of success, Canada’s health systems have long underperformed in key domains such as access, equity and health outcomes when compared to other high-income countries with similar or lower per capita spending levels1. Long wait times, a lack of timely access to publicly funded care, and inadequate intersectoral attention on the upstream drivers of health are long-standing challenges consistently identified by Canadians and top priorities for policy attention.

Canada’s health systems are often seen as hospital- and physician-focused, siloed across sectors, inequitable in the provision of services outside the Medicare basket, and focused on illness and treatment instead of prevention and wellness. Value for money is questionable when considering investment in relation to outcomes, especially in comparison to international health systems1. As outlined in the Chief Public Health Officer’s State of Public Health in Canada 2021 report, integrating public health programs such as prevention and health promotion with the health care delivery system is needed to achieve good health for all Canadians. The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the need to build more resilient, equitable and inclusive health systems that improve health and well-being for all by exposing or exacerbating existing and long-standing faults in our health care delivery and public health systems (e.g., in long-term care, inequities in access to prevention and care, inadequacy of health workforce data for planning, socioeconomic and ethno-racial inequities, insufficient surge capacity to respond to emergencies, a lack of coordination across federal, provincial and local public health organizations) and, in some cases, accelerating promising innovations (e.g., uptake of virtual care.

Building back stronger and more equitably in a post-pandemic context requires robust research evidence on the policies and policy levers that best support high-performing health care delivery and public health systems. Research is needed on the effectiveness and equity implications of the policies that determine how health care and public health are financed, how services are funded, organized and delivered, and how delivery systems are governed and held accountable in order to ensure our health systems meet the current and future needs and priorities of people, populations, and the health workforce.

Additional information can be found at ResaerchNet.

Funding Sources

Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)

This opportunity was posted by: RGCS

Last modified: September 28, 2022