Public policy today is increasingly informed by science. Decisions related to issues such as climate change, pandemic preparedness, energy, and innovation can only benefit from a sound understanding of the science behind them.
The Council of Canadian Academies supports independent, authoritative, and evidence-based expert assessments that inform public policy development in Canada. The Council’s work encompasses a broad definition of science, incorporating the natural, social and health sciences as well as engineering and the humanities.
“At a time when innovation and the discovery and application of new knowledge have never been more important, the Council of Canadian Academies continues to produce material that informs public discussion and to bring together some of the country’s top minds to help steer a path towards a better future.”
-Jeffrey Simpson, Globe and Mail
Through its expert assessments the Council helps to identify: emerging issues, gaps in knowledge, Canadian strengths, and international trends and practices. Assessments examine the current state of knowledge and are diagnostic, rather than prescriptive. They can also include expert insights on short-term future trends and directions. Assessments provide government decision-makers, academia and stakeholders with the high-quality information required to develop informed and innovative public policy.
The Assessment Process
An assessment is initiated in response to a question submitted by a sponsor and is carried out by a multidisciplinary panel of expert volunteers from across Canada and abroad. The findings of an expert panel — i.e., the answers to the assessment question — are developed into a report that undergoes formal review by expert peers to ensure its quality and objectivity. To protect the independence of the assessment process, sponsors do not participate in the assessment process, review drafts of the report, or propose any changes to the report before its publication. All final assessment reports are published and made available to the public free of charge in English and French.
Some assessment topics — up to five per year — are submitted by the Government of Canada, in accordance with the terms set out in its funding agreement with the Council. The Council may also conduct assessments outside this funding agreement. These assessments can be referred to the Council by foundations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, or any level of government.
All assessment questions and the final reports, regardless of source, must be approved by the Council’s Board of Governors.
For information on the Council’s current assessments, visit Assessments in Progress. For details on how to sponsor an assessment, see Sponsor Information
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“It is clear the Council is well on its way to becoming recognized as a powerful organization for all aspects of research critical to Canada and, at the same time, useful for science globally.”
Rita R. Colwell, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and former Director of the National Science Foundation (1998-2004)