Read about our advocacy efforts, and contribute! Contact us with your ideas and initiatives:
Chair: Karun Singh, McMaster University
Charles Bourque, McGill University
Liisa Galea, U of British Columbia
Kurt Haas, U of British Columbia
Christopher Anderson, U of Manitoba
Karun Singh, McMaster’s University
Lisa Saksida, U Western
Nafisa Jadavji, Carleton U, Liaison to CSMB
Read the questions we have sent to the four main parties in advance of the upcoming federal elections:
Dr. Katalin Toth, PhD, President
Dr. Karun Singh, PhD, Chair of the Advocacy Committee
Canadian Association for Neuroscience
Dear Federal Election Candidate,
The Canadian Association for Neuroscience is the largest association of neuroscientists in Canada dedicated to the promotion of all fields of neuroscience research. Our association counts over 1100 members, all active researchers, and represents the thousands of scientists working in our laboratories, including technical laboratory personnel, graduate students and undergraduate trainees. Our common goal is to ensure that Canadian neuroscience research remains one of the strengths of this country. As support from the federal government is essential to attain this goal, the Executive Committee of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience has chosen to write to candidates of all major parties for the 2019 elections to learn more about their policies to support both basic and applied research.
Here are five questions about your party’s research policy that we would like answered:
- Financial support from the Canadian government is essential to ensure Canadian researchers continue to innovate and make important independent discoveries. Between 2005 and 2018, many research teams had seen their budgets cut because of increasing demand and therefore decreasing success rates in open funding programs, which ultimately impedes innovation in Canada. The fundamental science review (http://www.sciencereview.ca) was released in 2017, highlighting critical areas that the federal government needed to invest in to maintain Canada as a leader in innovation. However, only a partial implementation of the report was performed. Is your Party committed to fully implementing the report of the Fundamental Science Review (Naylor report) with additional financial investment into open competitions to maintain Canada as a forefront leader in research innovation and research discoveries?
- How do you see the role of government in research? Should government agencies take an active role in identifying and targeting specific research priorities or should they benefit from the wealth of knowledge and information within our scientific communities by emphasizing the value of peer-review in determining the most exciting and important scientific research questions?
- Many recent governmental policies favour research with immediate applied value and potential industrial partnership. However, most great discoveries in science come from basic, curiosity-driven research, and supporting basic research is therefore an investment in the future. Canadian scientists are worried the balance is currently shifted too strongly towards applied research, at the detriment of basic research. How would your government work to balance the need for both applied and curiosity-driven basic research?
- Promoting equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in research is important for Canada to strengthen the scientific community and quality, social relevance and impact of research. For Canadian businesses, EDI is critical to promote a more creative and innovative workforce while reducing costs. How would your government promote and implement EDI in Canada’s research and workforce?
- In order for Canada to remain competitive globally, it is essential to invest in the next generation of trainees to provide them the financial support and resources they need to succeed. How would your government support trainee development?
We plan on publishing the answers to these questions on our website, https://can-acn.org, around mid-September, and would therefore appreciate if you could take the time to send us a response by that time.
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions about our association, our members or our objectives. We wish to thank you in advance for your collaboration.
May 22, 2019 in Toronto – CAN-SfN Advocacy Training workshop:
Advocacy Training: Be an effective advocate for science: Be involved & Tell your story
SfN and CAN join forces to bring you advocacy training that explains:
- Why advocacy matters
- How you can make an impact
- How informing lawmakers can advance neuroscience priorities
- How the Canadian budget process works
- How SfN and CAN can be your resource
- How to plan a #neuroadvocate activity
Michael Heintz, Director of Advocacy & Training at Society for Neuroscience
Melanie Woodin, Chair of the CAN advocacy committee
Julie Poupart, CAN Advocacy Officer
(you are free to use / reuse this content – please acknowledge the Society for Neuroscience and the Canadian Association for Neuroscience if you do).
Other CAN-ACN Resources
Participate in online budget consultations launched by the Finance Minister
Deadline is Jan 29th, 2019
CAN participation in the advocacy reception at SfN18
CAN President Jaideep Bains was invited to present CAN Advocacy efforts at the advocacy reception at SfN18 in San Diego, California.
CAN advocacy officer Julie Poupart presented a poster on Neuroscience advocacy strategies in Canada. View the poster here:
Opportunities to participate in #yourbudget2019 consultations of the the FINA committee of the House of Commons.
The permanent committee on Finances of the House of Commons of Canada have announced dates of the in-person consultations in advance of Budget 2019.
These are great opportunities to highlight the importance of increased funding for health research in Canada, and supporting the next generation of scientists.
The first is in Ottawa, Sept 26th at 6:45. Details here.
Other dates include
- 1 October: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
- 2 October: Saint John, New Brunswick
- 3 October: Québec City, Quebec
- 4 October: Oshawa, Ontario
- 5 October: Toronto, Ontario
- 15 October: Whitehorse, Yukon
- 16 October: Victoria, British Columbia
- 17 October: Edmonton, Alberta
- 18 October: Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Exact locations and hours are posted on the FINA committee website a few days in advance.
2018-08-03: Read CAN-ACN’s submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance for the consultations in advance of budget 2019, calling for increased investment in the three main granting councils of Canada and in the next generation of Canadian scientists.
SfN feature on CAN advocacy
Read an article in SfN’s Neuroscience Quarterly on CAN’s advocacy efforts: http://www.sfn.org/news-and-calendar/neuroscience-quarterly/summer-2018/can
Science Policy Session at CAN2018 in Vancouver
Response to budget 2018
Read our response to budget 2018 here:
Read our letter to Ministers Duncan, Morneau and Trudeau here:
Read our thank you letter to our members:
Release of the Report of the Standing Committee on Finances (FINA)
Use this link to view the report of the FINA committee, released after the budget consultations of the Fall 2017.
Use the Fundamental Science Review (the Naylor Report) as a framework for long-term support of science and research. In particular, the government should invest in investigator-led research, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, applied sciences research institutions, as well as in agricultural research. The government should also expand access to the Canadian Graduate Scholarship program.
Call to action: Budget 2018
Read our latest Call to action to encourage increases tri-council investments in Budget 2018:
The Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, has launched a new consultation for the 2018 budget, which is currently being drafted. We encourage you strongly to participate in this initiative, to convince the government that science funding can’t wait.
Read our latest advocacy reports
Visit the SupportTheReport.ca website to find resources and calls to action to support the implementation of the Naylor Report.
CAN participates in Canada’s Standing Committee on Finance pre-budget consultations
CAN representatives and members participated in the pre-budget consultations of Canada’s Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) in Montreal and Toronto on October 18th and 20th 2017.
CAN advocacy officer Jason Tetro, CAN member Melanie Woodin, and CAN Chief Operating Officer Julie Poupart all made statements to the committee, which can be viewed here: CAN participates in Canada’s Standing Committee on Finance pre-budget consultations
Canada’s Fundamental Science Review
Have you read the Naylor report yet? It is available on the sciencereview.ca website. We will work, with partners, to ensure it is implemented in policy.
A step-by-step guide for researchers connecting with Members of Parliament, by the Association of Canadian Early Career Health Researchers
Read it here: http://www.acechr.ca/summerofsciencecan.html
Plan a visit to your MP to talk to them about the importance of implementing the Naylor report.
Canada-wide Brain Research Strategy Development
Canada needs a national brain research strategy, which could be implemented with additional government funding, in order to drive transformative outcomes in neurological and mental health for Canadians.
A presentation of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy (CBRS) was made at CAN2017 by Lynn Raymond and Yves DeKoninck, partnered with presentations from the Neurological Health Charities Canada (NHCC), the Canadian College of Neuropyschopharmacology (CCNP), and Brain Canada.
View the CBRS fact sheet here (PDF)
We are seeking feedback from the community on this proposal.
The CBRS website has been launched: http://www.canadianbrain.ca/
View the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/canadianbrain
March for Science, April 22 2017
The Canadian Association for Neuroscience is proud to endorse the March for Science, which is a call to support and safeguard the scientific community, and to reaffirm that science is a non-partisan, fact based endeavour that benefits the whole of humanity. (read our full statement here: March for Science, April 22 2017 )
CAN Presenting Canadian Neuroscience to MPs in Ottawa in February 2017!
CAN participated in a Neuroscience luncheon, organised with Research Canada for the Health research caucus on Parliament Hill on February 13th 2017. During this event, Beverley Orser and Charles Bourque delivered lectures to showcase great examples of how investment in basic research can and does lead to improved treatment strategies.
If you would like to inform your Member of Parliament about our event, you can
Read our statement from January 31st 2017:
Science as a uniting global force: A statement by the Canadian Association for Neuroscience
Letter from January 4th 2017
Dear CAN Members,
The federal budget for 2017 is being finalized right now. We encourage you to send an email to Prime Minister Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau to urge them to increase the CIHR budget. As you know, Project Grants are expected to have a 7-8% success rate unless the CIHR budget is significantly increased by the current government. It is very important to let the government know about the dire situation our labs are facing. These emails do matter! Please, send your letter and encourage your colleagues to do the same.
You can use this model letter that you can modify and send.
Please, send your email to these addresses:
Prime Minister’s) email:
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Finance minister’s email
The Honourable William Francis Morneau
Please also consider signing the petition launched by the Canadian Society of Molecular Biosciences:
The double-double: Investment in scientific excellence and job creation
After the important investments into infrastructure and equipment we now encourage the federal government to take the third and most important next step: enable our researchers to use their equipment and facilities by providing them with the necessary operating funds. On behalf of Canadian scientists, we request a doubling of the budgets for open operating grants of CIHR and NSERC by the end of the first mandate of the Liberal government.
View the petition on the CSMB website, and add your name:
Happy New Year!
Katalin Toth, Chair of the CAN Advocacy Committee and
Freda Miller, President of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience.
Recent advocacy articles of interest
We invite you to read these recent articles of interest:
Shifting Demographics among Research Project Grant Awardees at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
The present study was initiated because of concerns expressed by NHLBI-funded mid-career investigators regarding perceived difficulties in the renewal of their grant awards. This led us to ask: “Are mid-career investigators experiencing disproportionate difficulties in the advancement of their professional careers?”
Unexpected benefits of open-ended science – a report by the Royal Swedish Academy of Science
Read our 2016 Advocacy Report
Learn about CAN-ACN’s advocacy activities in 2016, and some of our plans for 2017 in our 2016 Advocacy report
CAN supports the development of a Canadian Action Plan for Brain Health
The Canadian Association for Neuroscience strongly supports the development of a Canadian Action Plan for Brain Health, an initiative proposed by the Neurological Health Charities of Canada. Read our support letter here.
Read CAN-ACN’s contribution to the review of federal support of fundamental science
We have submitted our contribution to the review of federal support of fundamental science, launched by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Canadian Minister of Science.
This contribution also included the results of the survey we conducted in July and August about funding reforms at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Read our submission to Sciencereview.ca: CAN-ACN_Science_Review_Contribution.pdf
View the results of the CAN 2016 survey about CIHR reforms: https://can-acn.org/new-cihr-reforms-survey-results
Recommendations to the Honorable Bill Morneau for pre-budget consultations
1) The mid-term objective should be a doubling of the operating budgets of the NSERC and the CIHR.
If Canada invests in science 2% of the GDP, we will only return to the level of support science had 10 years ago. We believe that Canada’s demonstrated excellence in research can only be sustained with support that reaches 3% of the GDP, which would make Canada’s research investment comparable to Germany’s and the USA’s research investments. Doubling funds that are available in open competitions through the CIHR and the NSERC would be essential to stop the downward trend experienced by fundamental discovery research laboratories across Canada.
2) An increase of $150 million to the 2017 Budget for CIHR.
In the latest competition, the 13% success rate was made possible by moving the 2016- Autumn competition to the 2017 budget of the CIHR. This means that next year the expected success rate will be 5-6% unless the government decisively steps in and restores science funding in Canada. These investments would ensure that the standard of research excellence is maintained in Canada. Canadian scientists are willing and ready to continue to make important contributions that benefits all Canadians. It is important to ensure that we have the means to do so.
New CAN CIHR survey
Thank you to all who completed the new CIHR survey today. Results of the survey are being shared with the Science Review panel, launched by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science.
CAN advocacy news
Read our July 2016 Calls to action:
New Advocacy corner
Please view the advocacy corner section, on the right hand side of this page to view current Calls to action and recent articles of interest.
Letter by Jim Woodgett about CIHR Peer-review reforms
We invite you to read a letter by Jim Woodgett, Director, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, to the right Honorable Jane Phillpott, Minister of Health, about the CIHR reforms. You can read and sign the letter here:
Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan launches review of federal support of fundamental science
Read the letter of support the Chair of the CAN Advocacy Committee Katalin Toth and CAN President Freda Miller sent to the minister:
Minister Duncan Honoured at Research Canada’s AGM
Research Canada held its 11th Annual General Meeting last week where the Honourable Dr. Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, was honoured for her six years of service to the Parliamentary Health Research Caucus, a non-partisan forum which educates Parliamentarians about the social and economic benefits of Canadian health research and health innovation.
Advocacy and public outreach session at CAN16
The CAN advocacy committee invites you to a special advocacy and public outreach session at the upcoming 2016 Canadian Neuroscience Meeting, May 30th from 5:30 to 7PM. Two neuroscientists with extensive experience in public speaking and outreach, Paul Zehr and Wendy Suzuki, will make presentations, and awards will be given to the best neuroscience outreach initiatives in Canada. More details here: Advocacy & Public Outreach
The Canadian Association for Neuroscience sponsors the Welcome reception of the new Health Research Caucus in Ottawa
The Canadian Association for Neuroscience was happy to sponsor the welcome reception of the new Health Research Caucus, which took place March 7th, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. It was an occasion for members of the CAN advocacy committee to meet members of parliament and talk with them about the importance of government support of scientific research. The reception was hosted by the honorouble Jane Philpott, Minister of Health. Dr. Philpott was one of the speakers at the event.
Budget 2016: The Canadian Association for Neuroscience thanks the honourable Bill Morneau for his support of scientific research
The Canadian Association for Neuroscience (CAN), is grateful to the Federal Government for increasing the budgets of
the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the National Science and Engineering Council by $30 million and supporting the Brain Canada Foundation with $20 million for the next 3 years.
Read our full thank you letter : Post-budget2016-final
The honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, responds to CAN’s recommendation letter
Read the response Minister of Finance Bill Morneau sent CAN in response to our pre-budget consultation letter:
CAN contribution to the Canadian government pre-budget consultation
The CAN Advocacy committee has submitted recommendations to the honorable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, for the pre-budget consultation by the Canadian government. Read the letter signed by CAN President Doug Munoz and the Chair of the Advocacy Committee, Katalin Toth: CAN-Pre-budget20160121
CAN is looking for the best neuroscience outreach and advocacy initiatives in Canada
Two $1000 prizes will be awarded, and the winning initiatives will be presented at the CAN2016 meeting in Toronto – view all the details here: https://can-acn.org/contest-best-neuroscience-promotion-advocacy-groups-in-canada
Parliament Hill event hosted by the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health on March
CAN-ACN is now a member of Research Canada and will have a booth at a Parliament Hill event hosted by the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health on March 7th. More details to be posted here soon.
Press review – October- December 2015
Read recent articles, interviews and opinion pieces by Canadian neuroscientists in our October – December 2015 Press review. We share these articles on our social media streams, so please inform us of papers we should be sharing with our membership.
Invitation to write to your local MPs and ministers – Nov 27th letter from Katalin Toth
Begin forwarded message:From: Kristin Baetz <firstname.lastname@example.org>Date: November 25, 2015 at 6:39:58 PM GMT+1To: Kristin Baetz <email@example.com>Subject: Time to demand change at CIHR
Dear Friends and Colleagues,We have all been impacted by the CIHR reforms and many of you have told me that you felt helpless in effecting change. Today Michael Rudnicki took a stand on the issue. When talking to Elizabeth Payne at the Ottawa Citizen last week about his recent discovery on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Michael let her know about the crisis that is occurring at CIHR and how it is impacting researchers across the country. This led to an outstanding article on the front page of the Ottawa Citizen today:http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/demoralized-scientists-demand-changes-at-1b-health-research-agencyMichael, along with many other scientist and societies across Canada have begun the discussion. Indeed, this article instigated a series of meeting today in Ottawa. But more scientists need to be engaged in the discussion. It is critical that new Liberal government hear about how the CIHR reforms have impacted your research program. Email/letter volume on a topic remains an important advocacy tool.I encourage you to contact Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of HealthJane Philpott, Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Singh Bains and your newly elected MP. Demand changes at CIHR!The Liberal Government has strongly indicated that Science will once again become a priority. Not only does Canada now have two Minsters with science portfolios and the mandate letter from Prime Minister Trudeau to Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan outlined one of her top priorities to “Examine options to strengthen the recognition of and support for fundamental research to support new discoveries.”The time is right to tell the Liberal Government your concerns about fundamental research funding in Canada and demand changes at CIHR.If you are not already a member, today I ask you to please join the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences. We are working hard on your behalf to advocate for increased funding for discovery research – including our petition, advertisements targeted to MPs/policy makers, letters to committees and speaking to MPs on your behalf. Our next focus will be on advocating for change at CIHR. Our membership fees are essential for paying for advertisements, website designs, PR consultants and hosting networking events on Parliament Hill. Without increased membership we will be limited in our ability to advocate for the changes we need to keep Canada’s innovation pipeline strong.CheersKristinKristin Baetz PhDInterim Director of the Ottawa Institute of Systems BiologyPresident of the Canadian Society for Molecular BiosciencesCanada Research Chair in Chemical and Functional Genomics and Associate ProfessorDepartment of Biochemistry, Microbiology and ImmunologyuOttawa613 562-5800 X 8592
We invite you to sign the petition by the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences at
October 19th 2015 Canadian federal elections
- View the CAN questions about science funding to the candidates – 3 of 4 major political parties have responded
- View our letter: Increased investment in Brain Research must be a priority for the next Canadian government – A shorter version was sent to newspapers across the country.
- Read and sign the CSMB Petition asking for increase support for discovery research in Canada
- Read this Call for increased research funding in the CMAJ blog by Doug Zochodne
- Election day is October 19, advance voting is October 9-12 – make sure you are on the election list!
- Two articles about the Canadian federal elections in Science Magazine: In Canada, science campaigns for attention from voters and Editorial: A chance to get science right
- This website tracks how our elected mps vote
CIHR reforms questionnaire
View our member’s responses to the questionnaire about the recent CIHR reforms