CIHR – Team Grant: Strengthening the Health Workforce for System Transformation – Application

Well-being, Health and Biomedical Discovery


Academic Unit: Inquire within unit

Memorial Deadline: Thursday 2nd, November 2023

External Deadline: Thursday 9th, November 2023


RIS will be offering support with application development for this opportunity. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Jennifer Stevens ( or Dr. Amanda Crompton ( early during the development process to discuss the services available to them.

Canada is facing substantial health workforce challenges that threaten the ability of the system to provide timely, equitable, accessible, quality services and care to Canadians. These workforce challenges have been longstanding and stem from an outdated health system that is fragmented, siloed, lacking in accountability, and poorly organized to meet today’s population and health workforce needs.

The health workforce challenges reflect a combination of factors characteristic of an unorganized and fragmented system. These challenges include supply shortages, sub-optimal capacity planning, inequitable workforce utilization and distribution, governance and funding models that do not support care coordination or interprofessional team-based care, lack of system support to respond to provider distress and burnout, and lack of interoperable data standards and systems.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated such factors with certain regions, populations, and communities experiencing disproportionate impacts. Resulting consequences include recruitment and retention challenges, increasingly unsafe work conditions affecting the physical and mental health of the workforce, lack of access to primary care, overcrowded emergency departments, inequitable access to care, and suboptimal health system performance and outcomes. COVID-19 further highlighted systemic challenges within the Canadian health system (e.g., structural racism, gender inequities, and issues with diversity and inclusion of equity-seeking groups within the workforce) and drew attention to the glaring inequities experienced by health workers and, interconnectedly, the populations receiving care. Additionally, Indigenous Peoples and health workers face unique challenges related to colonialism, social exclusion, and racism that have led to poorer care experiences and outcomes, lack of physical and cultural safety, and barriers for entry into the health workforce.

To address the current health workforce crisis, Health Canada commissioned the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) to undertake an evidence-based assessment to provide policy and decision-makers with pathways to inform strategies to address the health workforce crisis. The Assessment on Health Human Resources Overview Report identified six prioritized areas for attention (hereon referred to as CAHS Themes):

  • Indigenous Peoples and Communities (e.g., Indigenous-led design and implementation of health services and policies; increasing capacity of Indigenous learners and practitioners; disrupting racism; Indigenous data sovereignty).
  • Rural and Remote Communities (e.g., encouraging retention through effective incentives and support; embedded practice-based learning; mobility of healthcare practitioners; responsive, context-specific models of care).
  • Systemically Disadvantaged Populations (e.g., increasing the diversity and representativeness of those in training and leadership positions; integration of internationally educated healthcare practitioners; safe, anti-racist work environments; culturally and linguistically safe care; data collection and analysis for solutions aimed to increase diversity, address racism and discrimination, and improve cultural safety).
  • Support and Retention (e.g., developing supportive leadership; creating healthy, just, equitable and safe working environments; enhancing autonomy; providing individual and group support to enhance the mental health, wellbeing and resiliency of the workforce; reducing administrative burden).
  • Deployment and Service Delivery (e.g., optimized scopes of practice to meet community needs; team-based models of care; optimizing digital health technologies; aligning funding and remuneration models to enhance health outcomes).
  • Planning and Development (e.g., ongoing health workforce planning; standardization of health workforce data; engaging partners in health workforce planning decisions; career development and education options that address supply and capacity challenges).

Within these six themes, CAHS identifies 26 solutions-focused pathways as critical to addressing the health workforce crisis within the next two to five years that, when addressed, are expected to lead to a strengthened workforce that can provide high quality care to all Canadians. Please refer to the Assessment on Health Human Resources Overview Report for more details.

True system transformation towards a healthy and resilient workforce requires collaborative, evidence-informed effort to address the needs of workforce members (i.e., the people who form the foundation of Canada’s healthcare and public health systems). This effort should prioritize equity-focused solutions for the governance, accountability, and funding models that shape health delivery. Additionally, it should address the broad CAHS themes and include investment in research to ensure that solutions are informed by the best available evidence. Collaborative action is needed to generate evidence on which innovations and solutions work (and don’t work), for whom, in what contexts, and how to equitably spread and scale successful innovations for maximum reach and benefit.


Important Dates

Competition 202311HWS
Registration Deadline 2023-10-05
Application Deadline 2023-11-09
Anticipated Notice of Decision 2024-05-22
Funding Start Date 2024-06-01

More details available on ResearchNet.

Funding Sources

Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)

This opportunity was posted by: RGCS

Last modified: June 22, 2023