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Evidence of meeting #40 for Health in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was disease.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Bin Hu  Professor, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary, As an Individual
David Simmonds  As an Individual
Joyce Gordon  President and Chief Executive Officer, Parkinson Society Canada
Edward Fon  Director, McGill Parkinson Program and National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University; Parkinson Society Canada
Daniel Krewski  Professor and Director, R. Samuel McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa

9:40 a.m.

Director, McGill Parkinson Program and National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University; Parkinson Society Canada

Dr. Edward Fon

Certainly.

9:40 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Parkinson Society Canada

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

I need to hear it, folks. Thank you.

9:40 a.m.

Professor and Director, R. Samuel McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa

Prof. Daniel Krewski

I could be even more specific and give you some examples of funding levels for NCEs that have sort of a similar level of complexity.

PrioNet, which Dr. Fon and I both are a part of, was $35 million for the first seven years, so $5 million a year. We had a plan for a larger program that would run to $55 million. I'm also part of another NCE on carbon capture and storage that is $50 million over five years.

These are the sorts of levels of investment that tend to give a big payoff. If you underfund it, you'll make little incremental advances, but this level of investment offers the potential for significant breakthroughs.

If you could structure the research initiative so that it covers all facets--the basic biology by which neuro-degenerative disease is occurring--you have to understand that before you can think about treatment and cure.

We had some notions about possible therapeutic and prothotic vaccines for certain neuro-degenerative conditions that I think are within a decade of coming to fruition. This could be part of the treatment aspect.

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Sorry, Dr. Krewski, I'm going to move this on, because I want to get some more recommendations in here.

What value of investment are we looking at to get some real change?

9:40 a.m.

Professor and Director, R. Samuel McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa

Prof. Daniel Krewski

I would say more is always better, but I think an investment of an additional $5 million a year for at least five to seven years would be the minimum.

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Thank you.

9:40 a.m.

Professor, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary, As an Individual

Dr. Bin Hu

May I make a comment here?

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

I'd like to move on, if you don't mind, Dr. Hu.

Should it be a recommendation that government fund a pan-Canadian training program to nurture the next generation of neuroscientists with stable funding for a period of four years?

9:40 a.m.

Professor, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary, As an Individual

Dr. Bin Hu

Yes, absolutely.

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Yes? That's terrific.

Should it be a recommendation that the government recognize that in a globalized, competitive world it is Canadian brain power that will determine Canada's success economically?

9:40 a.m.

Director, McGill Parkinson Program and National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University; Parkinson Society Canada

Dr. Edward Fon

It certainly is.

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Okay, I have one more for you, which is that the government should strengthen research in critical neurological and psychiatric disorders, promote innovation and knowledge transfer, and ensure innovative ideas are turned into new products and services that create growth and quality jobs and assess neurological and psychiatric disease and disorders. Should that be a specific recommendation?

9:45 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Parkinson Society Canada

Joyce Gordon

Can I ask a question? What does “critical” mean? Sorry, it's a great recommendation, but I wasn't sure if that was limited to a group....

9:45 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

No, it's not limited, Joyce.

9:45 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Parkinson Society Canada

Joyce Gordon

Okay, yes.

9:45 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

So that should be a recommendation.

I'm going to ask one more. We have focused on neuro-degenerative issues. As you know, in the future this committee might consider that there are some neurological diseases that would be environmental, such as FASD; developmental, such as perhaps autism; or a combination of environmental and developmental, such as CP. Should this be something we look at, going forward?

9:45 a.m.

Professor, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary, As an Individual

Dr. Bin Hu

Yes, but there's limited scope.

9:45 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Just as a study--

9:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

I'm sorry, Dr. Duncan, time is up. Thank you so much.

9:45 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Thank you, Madam Chair.

9:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

We'll now go to Dr. Carrie.

April 26th, 2012 / 9:45 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

I want to thank our colleague from the Liberal Party for being here. Normally we wait for recommendations from witnesses, we usually don't plant them ahead of time, because the committee talks together and comes up with recommendations. But there were certainly some good points put out there, some of them within provincial jurisdiction, though, and we do have to be careful of that.

I am very pleased to hear your testimony today, and the good news that Canada is a leader in the world. I do have to ask, though, Dr. Krewski, because you come from the R.S. McLaughlin Centre.... As you know, I'm the MP for Oshawa, and he's our most famous citizen, so it's nice to see that the wonderful things that he brought, not only to my community, have been spread out across our great country.

I know you've received funding from the government to lead this study, a team of researchers from across Canada conducting the systematic review of factors influencing the onset and progression of 14 neurological diseases, and you did go over a review of that, or a little synopsis of it. But it's such a big project, it's so important, not only for Canada but for the world, and I was wondering if you could expand a little bit on how the project is going.

Also, after you get all this data together, how is it going to be applied by clinicians on the ground, and how is it going to help with the management of these conditions over the next few years, which are so important with the demographic changes?

9:45 a.m.

Professor and Director, R. Samuel McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa

Prof. Daniel Krewski

Thank you for the chance to speak to that.

The project we're doing on a systematic review of these 14 conditions is one of about 15 projects that are part of the PHAC national population health study of neurological conditions. We're looking at what we know at this point in time about factors that cause neurological disease, the 14 in particular that we're studying, and factors that influence their progression. We have a very structured approach to doing that. The bottom line is that at the end of the day I will be able to tell you, in about six to nine months' time, everything that's known by mankind about onset and progression of 14 conditions, including Parkinson's.

That's one of about 15 projects. There are other projects within the PHAC initiative that look at health services delivery, community initiatives, and we have annual meetings among all of the investigators in that $15 million three-year initiative that PHAC has funded to exchange ideas, see how we can help each other move forward to the development, ultimately, of a strategy to address neurological disease in Canada. We will be having a wrap-up meeting in March 2013 to look at everything we found scientifically, advice that might be helpful to practitioners, and we then want to see if we can use that as a basis for helping to create a national neurological disease strategy for Canada under the auspices of the Public Health Agency.

On just one last point, we will be planning knowledge translation activities, which will make sure all of this information gets in the hands of government officials, public health authorities, and practitioners to the best of our ability.

9:45 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Has anybody ever done this before?