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Investments are needed to bolster health innovation in Canada

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – January 21, 2020 – Today, the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) released its report “Health innovation in Canada: Optimizing health and Canada’s prosperity” which asks the government of Canada to make a $250 million investment to develop an innovative and learning health care system. This report was created by the AFMC Standing Committee on Research and Innovation, chaired by Dr. Dermot Kelleher, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia. If implemented, the eight recommendations would bolster health care innovation in Canada.

The research and innovation that is conducted by Canada’s medical schools lead to healthier Canadians, reduces health care costs and grows the economy. This research includes ground-breaking discoveries that lead to new drugs, vaccines, devices, tests, advice and systems. These health innovations alleviate suffering and prolong productive life. In recent years, Canadian research has resulted in innovations in areas as diverse as cancer, ageing and infectious disease.

Fixing the innovation deficit is a key part of ensuring a sustainable health care system.


“A new $250 million investment to develop an innovative and learning health care system will quickly pay for itself by reducing health care spending, growing Canada’s economy, and creating knowledge economy jobs.”
Dr. Brian Postl, Chair of the AFMC Board of Directors

“Research carried out in faculties of medicine span the domains of fundamental biomedical science, clinical, health systems and population health including societal, cultural and environmental determinants of health. Faculties of medicine are an essential part of the solution to boosting innovation in health research and training of highly qualified physicians and scientists.”
Dr. Geneviève Moineau, President and CEO of AFMC

Quick Facts

  • Of the over $250 billion invested in health care per year, less than 2% is spent on research and innovation.
  • 60% of all publicly funded health research in Canada is conducted within Academic Health Science Networks, which include Faculties of Medicine.
  • 91% of Canadians consider that health and medical research makes an important contribution to the healthcare system while a strong majority (81%) think it makes an important contribution to the economy.


Founded in 1943, the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) represents Canada's 17 faculties of medicine and is the voice of academic medicine in this country. Our member faculties graduate over 2 ,700 MDs per year; teach over 11,500 undergraduate medical students; train over 15,000 postgraduate trainees; employ nearly 48,000 full and part-time faculty members and undertake over 3 billion dollars of biomedical and health care research annually.