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Ministry Status: Recovery

The ministry is resuming regular operations and supporting health sector stabilization.

Research at the Ministry of Health

The research program at the Ministry of Health is designed to support all areas of the ministry with a strong evidence base to enable improvements to the health system. These programs are managed by the Research, Analysis and Evaluation Branch (RAEB) which has a mandate to:

  1. Fund Strategic Research: Invest in high quality, policy relevant, patient-oriented health services and policy research that is aligned to key ministry priorities.
  2. Lead Integrated Knowledge Translation: Bring together researchers, patient and family advisors, and health system knowledge users to collaborate in all aspects of research including designing research questions, conducting research, and translating findings into policy and practice.

  3. Provide Expert Analysis and Advice for Evidence-Based Decision Making: Provide expert analysis, advice, and consultancy services in the areas of health economics, evaluation, and evidence synthesis, drawing on both internal expertise and our external research partners.
  4. Lead Evidence-Related Policy, Planning and Governance: Develop and manage strategic initiatives, within and across ministries, that advance the use of evidence within the health system and across the public service.

*Note that the former Health System Research Fund has been reprofiled as the Applied Health Evidence Program.

COVID-19 Activities

Research programs are contributing to create a better, faster, and more efficient response to COVID-19 in order to protect the health of Ontarians.

COVID-19 Evidence Synthesis Services

The Evidence Synthesis Unit produces evidence products in response to inquiries from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Long-Term Care. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Unit has focused their efforts on COVID-19 products including two new initiatives:

  • The Evidence Synthesis Network comprises representatives of organizations in Ontario and Canada with expertise in evidence synthesis and knowledge translation who work in partnership to respond to questions from the health care sector. The ESN’s website hosts relevant COVID-19 evidence products, as well as a platform that allows decision-makers from the health sector to submit new questions to the Network.

  • RAEB’s COVID-19 Evidence Updates were developed in order to share trusted information about COVID-19 to a wide health system audience. Evidence Updates are disseminated weekly in order to highlight timely information.

For more information about the work of the Evidence Synthesis Unit, or to be included on the distribution list for the Evidence Updates, please contact EvidenceSynthesis@ontario.ca or visit the Evidence Synthesis page.

Ontario Health Data Platform

Ontario is supporting the response to COVID-19 through the Ontario Health Data Platform (OHDP). The OHDP is led by the province, and is a collaboration with ICES and Compute Ontario, Ontario Health, Vector Institute, the University of Toronto, and Queen's University. The OHDP helps researchers better detect, plan, and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by providing access to a large range of databases through an integrated, secure platform.

COVID-19 Health Research Priorities Framework

The COVID-19 Health Research Priorities Framework, provides guidance on the Ministry of Health’s key research priorities needed to support Ontario’s COVID-19 response. The Framework will continue to evolve over time and be refined as new information, gaps, and priorities emerge.

The COVID-19 research themes include:

  • Understanding the Disease
  • Transmission
  • Case Testing and Surveillance
  • Disease Management
  • Health Equity and Vulnerable Populations
  • Public Health Measures
  • Infection, Prevention and Control in Specific Settings
  • Frontline Workers
  • Supply Chain
  • Data Analytics, Modeling and Measurement

You can read more about the COVID-19 Research Themes on the COVID-19 Health Research Priorities Framework page.

Funding COVID-19 Research Projects

Ontario Together COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund projects

The Ontario government is investing over $2.9 million to fund eight research projects that will help support Ontario’s response to COVID-19. These eight research projects were submitted through the Ontario Together portal and focus on mental health and addictions, ventilation, imaging, and transmission related to COVID-19. This is in addition to the 35 projects selected through the $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund.

CIHR COVID-19 Mental Health and Substance Use Needs and Delivery Fund projects

RAEB has partnered with the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) to co-fund Ontario projects through CIHR’s COVID-19 Mental Health and Substance Use Service Needs and Delivery funding opportunity. This funding opportunity is part of the Government of Canada's continued rapid response to address the major health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Projects will address mental health and substance use issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the intentional and unintentional effects of the public health measures to contain and mitigate its impact. More information on the CIHR rapid research call is available on https://www.researchnet-recherchenet.ca.

For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at:
1–866–532–3161 (Toll–free)
In Toronto, (416) 314–5518
TTY 1–800–387–5559.
In Toronto, TTY (416)327–4282
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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