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Science Integrity Project releases statement of principles for sound decision-making in Canada
Tides Canada believes that strong public policies, informed by the best available evidence and analysis, ensure better outcomes for Canadian people and improve our democracy. Today, The Science Integrity Project sparked a national conversation on the role evidence should play in public policy development and decision-making. Tides Canada is home to and has provided funding for the Science Integrity Project.
We hope that you read, share, and endorse the Statement of Principles produced by the Project—and do what you can to bring them alive in your work or organization. And, we hope this conversation will help encourage every level of government—and representatives of every political party—to remember the demonstrable benefits of making public policy decisions built on foundations of evidence from scientific research and indigenous knowledge.
VANCOUVER, B.C, CANADA – The Science Integrity Project—a national initiative involving 75 leaders in science and policy across Canada—has released the Statement of Principles for Sound Decision-Making in Canada to make evidence-based decision-making a high priority for government at all levels.
“The goal of the Science Integrity Project is to influence a national conversation on the role that evidence should play in public policy development and decision-making,” said Sally Otto, director of the Biodiversity Research Centre at the University of British Columbia, and co-chair of the Implementation Committee for the Science Integrity Project. “We hope this conversation will encourage every level of government—and representatives of every political party—to consider the demonstrable benefits of making public policy decisions on the basis of the best available science and indigenous knowledge.”
“There was a time that evidence and science played an important role in public policy and decision-making in Canada, but much has changed in the past 20 years,” said Paul Dufour, Fellow and Adjunct Professor, Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa, and co-chair of the Implementation Committee for the Science Integrity Project. “Objective third party evaluation of science has faded from much public decision-making, and there is a deficit of knowledge in the development of public policy that is undermining government’s ability to make sound decisions.”
Over the last two years, the Project conducted 30 in-depth interviews with experienced leaders in the science-policy arena. It also held a national forum in February 2015 that included current and past representatives of public and Indigenous governments, nongovernment organizations, professionals from multiple fields and sectors, and other thought leaders from across Canada.
The Project has produced four consensus principles for how evidence can improve important decisions on a wide range of Canadian issues:
- Principle 1: The best available evidence – produced by methods that are transparent, rigorous, and conducted with integrity – should always inform decision-making in Canada.
- Principle 2: Information should be openly exchanged among scientific researchers, Indigenous knowledge holders, decision makers, and the public.
- Principle 3: Research results should be preserved, protected, interpreted, and shared in a way that is broadly understandable and accessible.
- Principle 4: Decision-making processes, and the manner in which evidence informs them, should be transparent and routinely evaluated.
Similar principles have been successfully implemented in countries around the world, said Dufour.
The Science Integrity Project is calling on all Canadians to embrace these principles and to support the restoration of practices that reflect the use of research-based evidence – from both scientific and indigenous knowledge – in the development and implementation of public policy decisions in Canada.
In addition to the Statement of Principles, the Science Integrity Project has developed several illustrative examples of the principles in practice, a backgrounder on the sciencepolicy relationship in Canada, and a synthesis of the in-depth interviews that preceded the national forum. These materials, along with the complete text of the Statement of Principles for Sound Decision-Making in Canada and a full list of participants in the Science Integrity Project, are available at http://www.scienceintegrity.ca.
Media kit (available at http://www.scienceintegrity.ca)
Lesli Boldt, President, Boldt Communications Inc. for
Science Integrity Project