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In November 2020, the Minister of Health announced an independent panel would pursue the review of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN). The Minister of Health today released the interim report from the independent review panel.

The panel members, selected based on their expertise in public health, governance, health security and intelligence, have been looking at the current state of GPHIN’s capabilities, services, operations, and management. In its interim report, the panel shares what it has learned about past changes made to the alert system, and the early events following the detection of what would become the COVID-19 pandemic.

The interim report highlights the Panel’s approach and work to date, which includes a look at the past and present state of GPHIN, from its creation in the 1990s to its current operations. The report provides an overview of GPHIN’s structure and functions, and the detection of what would become the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also points to where the Panel plans to focus attention as it begins to develop recommendations, including the role and mandate of GPHIN and the future of public health surveillance tools.   

A final report, expected in May 2021, will provide recommendations and advice on what should be done to keep Canada well positioned to detect and respond to future public health events.

“Our government initiated this independent review to identify what changes are required to keep Canada well positioned to detect and respond to future public health events. While the panel notes in its interim report the role GPHIN staff played in Canada’s early response to COVID-19, it also raises important questions on how this system could and should operate. I want to thank Margaret Bloodworth, Dr. Mylaine Breton and Dr. Paul Gully for their work, and I look forward to receiving their final report.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health