CADTH Annual Report 2020-2021


Message From the Board Chair

Health system decisions are shaped by many factors, but one of the most important is evidence.

In a year of unprecedented challenger, CADTH continued to deliver on a fundamental need of all health system decisions-makers - credible evidence. 

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am delighted to present CADTH's 2020-2021 Annual Report, outlining the many achievements of CADTH that were accomplished during the difficult circumstances of a global pandemic.

The pandemic touched all aspects of the agency's work, directly or indirectly. And I am proud of how everyone at CADTH stepped up, with innovation, creativity , and resilience on full display.

Not only were the core activities of the agency delivered with their usual quality and care, but we also responded to the rapidly evolving needs of the health care system as it battled a virus spreading across the country.

At a time when large volumes of evidence moved to publication at a breakneck pace, CADTH's skills in evidence appraisal, rapid synthesis, and horizon scanning were in demand. As emerging therapies and products for COVID-19 came to the fore, assessments were delivered to support pan-Canadian pandemic responses and to help guide implementation discussion for novel, and urgently needed technologies.

CADTH also recognized the importance of its core programs to jurisdictions. In the midst of intense disruption to parts of the health system, CADTH stayed the course and continued to deliver reimbursement recommendations to meet the needs of decision-makers and patients. Health technology reviews and rapid evidence reviews also continued without interruption, addressing critical practice and policy questions.

A heartfelt thanks to all employees and our partners for their dedication and commitment to CADTH, the health system, and ultimately the patients and members of the public who benefit from our work.

Less than four months after the onset of the pandemic in Canada, CADTH also had a change in leadership. Dr. Brian O'Rourke retired as President and Chief Executive Officer after more than a decade at the helm. The Board of Directors is grateful for the indelible legacy left by Brian, including increased stakeholder engagement, the incorporation of patient input into reviews, the establishment of the Patient and Community Advisory Committee, and the integration of the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review in CADTH, to name but few.

In July 2020, we welcomed Suzanne McGurn as our new President and CEO. Suzanne has provided great leadership for CADTH during the most tumultuous period in our history, bringing to the position experience, knowledge, and a passion for the work we do. We are fortunate to have her steady hand on the tiller.

As we plan for the return to a more normal life in Canada, we look forward to the future with the confidence of an organization that met, and bested, the challenges of the past year. 

David Agnew

David Agnew

Board Chair

Message From the President and CEO

I am pleased to share our 2020-2021 Annual Report - my first as CADTH President and CEO.

Leading an evidence-driven organization during a year when health care decision-makers were driven by "the evidence" has been incredibly daunting and humbling. It's been a learning experience like no other, with unique challenges that come from joining an organization mid-pandemic and getting to know my exceptional staff through Zoom and MS Teams. it was not what I imagined when I accepted this position, but I'm so proud of my entire team, and, as highlighted in our annual report, everything we accomplished this year.

The pandemic's impact on Canadian health care systems has been unprecedented, but it has also provided new perspectives on what is possible when it comes to health system transformation. It has underscored the changing nature of evidence —whether it be emerging, evolving, or well-established - and the critical role of science in health system decision-making. In response, our team has worked diligently to adapt quickly, develop new methodological approaches, and think differently to respond to the evolving needs of patients, policy-makers, and health care professionals.

During the past year, I've been reminded how much relationships matter. The relationships CADTH built over many years have been pivotal to our efforts. I am grateful to the patient groups, pharmaceutical and medical device industries, regulators, clinical societies, and pan-Canadian health organizations, as well as our Canadian and global health technology assessment colleagues, for their continued collaboration with CADTH under challenging circumstances. Our collective efforts have increased trust across the health care system and among organizations, and elevated discussions and expectations about what we can and should do in the future. Working together has highlighted Aristotle's saying that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the excellent and unwavering support of the CADTH Executive Team, the CEO Office, and all staff throughout the organization. Everyone welcomed me to CADTH and helped me transition smoothly to my new role. I'd like to thank them for their expert advice and willingness to quickly adapt and respond to the emerging health priorities brought on by the pandemic.

Finally, I would like to thank David Agnew, Chair of CADTH's Board of Directors, and all the Directors for their warm welcome to the organization. They have offered me valuable support and encouragement during this unprecedented year.

Suzanne McGurn

Suzanne McGurn

President and CEO

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Created in 1 989 by Canada's federal, provincial, and territorial governments, CADTH was born from the idea that Canada needs a coordinated approach to assess health technologies. The result is a pan-Canadian organization that harnesses expertise from every region and produces evidence-informed solutions that benefit patients in jurisdictions across the country.


CADTH is represented by a talented and highly skilled team of professionals with expertise in clinical and health economics research, information services and librarianship, policy analysis, ethics, knowledge translation, and implementation support. Through their day-today efforts, they continue to uphold our reputation for excellence. In turn, we are committed to nurturing an engaging workplace that fosters a diverse and inclusive culture, anchored in mutual respect and the promotion of wellness and well-being.

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Expanding Our Reach to Patients and Clinicians

Patients and clinicians are among the most important beneficiaries of our work, and we strive to engage them in meaningful and constructive ways through our committees and panels and many opportunities for input and feedback. Stakeholder input provides CADTH with important insights through a real-world lens.

Zal Press, Vice-Chair of CADTH's Patient and Community Advisory Committee, describes CADTH as a role model for patient engagement: "Money...enables participation. [CADTH]compensate[s]us for our time equal to the compensation they provide other experts.”

Setting the Standard

Sometimes there simply is not enough good evidence available to be able to answer an important health care question. We work with partners and stakeholders to cultivate an environment of evidence generation and adoption across Canada. CADTH is uniquely positioned to champion the importance of meaningful evidence and to direct its generation and use, which then leads to better health care decisions.

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Dr. Idan Roifman from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre says that CADTH’sHealth Technology Reviews were instrumental in helping the Canadian Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance and the Canadian Heart Rhythm Society develop guidance for MRL CADTH's work was considered "outstanding”and "it provideda seriousbasis for the recommendations."

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And That Is Just the Beginning...

The power of our knowledge is multiplied every time it is shared. Our website and journal are accessible to everyone. We also have Implementation Support and Knowledge Mobilization Officers located in communities across the country who can bring evidence and solutions to the doorstep of those who need them. And we continue to develop new ways to share our evidence.

CADTH recognizes the inherent and treaty rights of all First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples across this land. We acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past and are committed to moving forward in partnership with Indigenous communities in a spirit of reconciliation and collaboration. CADTH staff work across Canada, residing on various traditional lands and collaborating with Indigenous governments, health care providers, and community members. Our Ottawa offices are located on the unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation. Our Toronto offices are located on the traditional territory of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples.

The Year That Was

Unprecedented may be a cliched and overused word these days, but 2020-2021 really was an unprecedented year for CADTH.

The world was rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. The science community increased its acceptance and use of immature or uncertain data to inform health care decisions. And Canadian governments and organizations had to fully acknowledge and address systemic racism affecting Indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups. When

When COVID-19 hit Canada, CADTH responded quickly.

We learned new ways of doing business by using new technologies.

The effects of the pandemic were felt throughout society and the economic, environmental, and
social impacts we are experiencing today will be with us for years.

We quickly pivoted our business to support Canadas federal, provincial, and territorial-level responses to the pandemic. For example:

We shifted CADTH s annual, in-person, signature event —the 2020 CADTH Symposium —into a successful and engaging virtual one.

CADTHs ability to manage through the pandemic was largely due to the resilience, dedication, and significant involvement of the CADTH Board of Directors; our advisory and expert committee members; former President p* and CEO,Dr. Brian O'Rourke; current President and CEO,Suzanne McGurn; the Executive Leadership Team; and CADTH staff.

In addition to our COVID-19 work, we delivered on additional priorities to serve those who rely on and trust our work. For example:

We delivered a full suite of non-COVID-19 products, including Horizon Scans, Reference Lists, Reimbursement Recommendations, and Health Technology Reviews.

It truly was an unprecedented year.


Through our products, services, and partnerships, CADTH delivers trusted, evidence-based information, advice, and recommendations to senior health care decision-makers. Here are some highlights of what we accomplished this year.

Introducing the “What Does the Evidence Say About COVID-19?" Portal

In April 2020, we launched our CADTH COVID-19 web portal to provide Canadian health care decisionmakers with the most relevant and timely evidence about COVID-19.

This special site features evidence, tools, and resources from CADTH and other trusted sources that covered a range of COVID-19 topics, including prevention, testing, and treatment. It was continually updated and expanded throughout the year as new evidence became available.

Canadian ministries and departments of health, publicly funded organizations responsible for health service delivery,and clinical society stakeholders were encouraged to submit requests to CADTH through the portal, and we responded with materials tailored to meet their specific requirements.