Dr. Charles Bourque
President, Canadian Association for Neuroscience
Now is the time to increase investment in health research that will promote brain health in Canada.
Neurological conditions — disorders that affect the brain and nerves — are the leading cause of disability and second cause of death worldwide. There’s an urgent need to develop innovative treatments and cures for hundreds of diseases and injuries that affect millions of Canadians. Understanding how the brain works is key to addressing this complex challenge, and Canadian researchers from coast to coast are working diligently in laboratories to meet this challenge.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of scientific research in Canada in times of crisis — scientific discoveries will help to end the pandemic. We now need to ensure that the Canadian scientific research ecosystem is prepared and ready to meet Canada’s next health challenges, many related to brain health. However, fundamental research remains chronically underfunded by the federal government. For several years now, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research has been forced to reject more than 82 percent of project proposals because of underfunding. This means that many research studies that could lead to the next blockbuster drug for brain diseases or brain cancer aren’t being funded. According to the latest data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada is the only country in the G7 whose investments in research and development have steadily declined in the last 15 years.
Now is the time to increase investment in health research to support the laboratories and highly-qualified personnel who will make life-changing discoveries that will promote brain health in Canada.
Discoveries that lead to therapies and new breakthroughs stem from years of research to understand the basic science of how the brain works. To meet the growing challenge posed by neurological conditions, the Canadian government needs to significantly increase its funding for health research. It’s an investment in Canada’s health and prosperity now, and for the future.