The importance of science and evidence is particularly clear in the face of the pandemic. Scientific research is required to understand COVID-19 and develop treatments, vaccines, and medical technologies. Robust and transparent data is needed to track the virus and make informed policy decisions that take into account the diverse needs of our communities. As well, it is critical that governments have the tools to find and use the best evidence to inform their decisions, and that the public can navigate a challenging information landscape rich with dangerous misinformation.
Over the past several years, we’ve seen the Government of Canada invest in science and evidence-informed policy, including funding for the federal granting councils, support for scientific trainees, and development of tools to foster a culture of science and evidence. In order to build upon those important investments and navigate the challenges brought by COVID-19, science must continue to be a priority in the federal budget. To that end, Evidence for Democracy recommends the following investments in Budget 2021:
- Provide increased funding and an expanded mandate for the Office of the Chief Science Advisor, and secure the position through legislation.
- Combat misinformation by building on existing investments that increase science literacy and digital citizenship.
- Promote openness and transparency through full implementation and adherence to Scientific Integrity Policies and open access to government science and data.
- Improve coordination and communication of science through investments in innovative tools and programs.
- Support fundamental science through continued investment in the federal granting councils and scientific trainees.
- Increase funding to agencies collecting critical data on COVID-19.
The policy decisions our government makes over the next several years will be critical in this unprecedented time. Investments in science, research, and evidence-informed decision-making in light of COVID-19 will ensure we are prepared for the uncertain future we are facing.
You can read our full submission to the consultation here. Participating in the Government of Canada’s pre-budget consultation is a great way for the public to give their input into our federal funding decisions. While the current consultation has now closed, you can monitor any upcoming budget consultations at the Finance Committee website for upcoming ways to take part. For resources and guidance on how to participate in the pre-budget consultation process, visit our training page or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.