Governments of Canada & BC are putting patients first with new research investment

30 August 2022

Representatives from Island Health, Curve Lake First Nations, the federal government and Michael Smith Health Research BC stand in front of the All Nations Healing Room at Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria BC.

From l-r: Krista Allan, Rebecca Hay, Adam van Koeverden, Sunny Loo and Stirling Bryan at Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria BC.

Victoria, British Columbia – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Patients and their families have unique insights about themselves and what matters when they are receiving health care services. Through their lived experience, patients bring valuable perspectives to research into new and better ways of delivering care that will improve the health of all people in Canada.

Today, Adam van Koeverden, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and the Minister of Sport, announced, on behalf of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, a combined investment of more than $32 million over five years from the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia to support the second phase of the BC SUPPORT Unit.

The past few years have been both busy and significant for the BC SUPPORT Unit. It became part of Michael Smith Health Research BC, an organization dedicated to the growth and evolution of BC’s health research system and life sciences sector. The Unit made a major investment in methods development with the funding of 42 projects that explored the use of data science, health informatics, and other methodologies to address patient priorities. In partnership with the Emergency Medicine Network, the Unit also evaluated changes to virtual care provided through HealthLink BC during the COVID-19 pandemic. This project leveraged the Provincial Health Data Platform, one of the Unit’s key data initiatives.

This new investment will help the BC SPOR SUPPORT Unit continue its important work in supporting the development of high-quality research, informed by patients, clinicians, and others to generate evidence that addresses issues of concern in the health care system.

The federal funding is provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) as part of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), a pan-Canadian initiative dedicated to integrating the voices of patients in research and health care.


“To provide Canadians with high-quality health care, we need research evidence to tell us what works. Patients, caregivers, and families help get at this evidence by adding their lived experience to the research process. Through this collaboration, we are strengthening the health care system and improving patient care for people in British Columbia.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“We are pleased to be partnering with the Government of British Columbia on this patient-oriented research initiative. The BC SUPPORT Unit has created the foundation to not only facilitate meaningful engagement with patients throughout the province in research, they have also shown their tremendous value as a resource that can be rapidly mobilized to respond to health emergencies as demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic. We wish the SUPPORT Unit team continued success as they embark on their next phase.”

Adam van Koeverden
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and the Minister of Sport

“Our work at CIHR has made patient-oriented research no longer just a concept in Canada. Patients and researchers are working together to produce measurable improvements in service delivery and health care practice across the country. Patient-oriented research wouldn’t be where it is today without the ongoing support and contributions from all SPOR-funded entities and their steadfast commitment to patient-oriented research in each of their jurisdictions.”

Dr. Michael J. Strong
President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

“In partnership with the federal government, we’re dedicated to growing and evolving the health research system and life sciences sector while valuing patients’ experiences. People across the province have and will continue to benefit from patient-oriented investments that advance high-quality health care.”

The Honourable Adrian Dix
Minister of Health, Government of British Columbia

“This is a great day for patient-oriented research. We’re proud to continue engaging patients and their caregivers across BC for their unique perspectives that will improve health research and care.”

Dr. Stirling Bryan
Chief Scientific Officer, Michael Smith Health Research BC

Quick facts

  • SPOR is a pan-Canadian coalition of the federal government, provinces, territories, philanthropic organizations, academic institutions, and health charities with the goal of achieving better patient outcomes through patient-oriented research.
  • SPOR is about moving scientific discoveries to the bedside and producing the information that decision-makers and health care providers need to improve care.
  • SPOR SUPPORT Units are patient-oriented research centres in the provinces and territories that improve patient outcomes by enabling equitable access to data for health research, applying knowledge to improve health care practices, systems, and patient outcomes, providing training to conduct and use patient-oriented research, and engaging patients as active partners throughout the entire research process.
  • SPOR SUPPORT Units develop tools and provide opportunities for researchers, policymakers, and patients to work together to foster a research culture and environment that addresses inequitable health outcomes and access to health care in Canada
  • There are also SPOR SUPPORT Units located in Alberta, Manitoba, the Maritimes, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon. Discussions are underway to establish a SUPPORT Unit in Nunavut.
  • The Government of Canada, through the CIHR, and the Government of British Columbia, are providing an investment of more than $32 million over five years to help the BC SPOR SUPPORT Unit continue its important work.

Associated links


Marie-France Proulx
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health

Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research