Public Health Agency of Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada

September 17, 2013 16:27 ET

Minister Ambrose Visits Leading Edge Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory in Canada

A world leading laboratory dedicated to the protection of Canadians

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - Sept. 17, 2013) - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, and Member of Parliament Joyce Bateman, Winnipeg South Centre, today visited the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) to meet with scientists and see first-hand the latest leading edge research and innovation contributing to protecting the health of Canadians.

"Our Government understands the importance of scientific research," said Minister Ambrose. "Scientific research and innovation will continue to be a priority because they make advances in healthcare possible and ultimately make our health system more efficient, more sustainable and more productive."

Highlights of the Minister's tour included:

  • a tour of the NML's Operations Centre, which is the command centre for research and diagnostics during public health outbreaks in Canada;
  • witnessing work on a treatment for Ebola, one of the world's most aggressive viruses, in a Level 4 laboratory, which provides the highest level of biocontainment and where scientists work with the riskiest pathogens; and
  • a tour of innovative mobile laboratories or "lab-in-a-box", used for bioterrorism or other emergency responses. These can be easily transported to remote locations across Canada and the world.

The Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory is a Level 4 laboratory that is dedicated to the protection of Canadians and global public health. Through internationally recognized leadership, scientific excellence and public health innovation, the NML conducts research on established, emerging and rare pathogens. Its activities include disease surveillance; reference microbiology services; and emergency preparedness and response.

For well over a decade, the NML has played a leading role in Canada's response to several public health challenges both domestically and internationally, including the appearance of West Nile virus in 1999, SARS in 2003 and H1N1 in 2009.

The NML is internationally renowned among laboratories for safety and security systems. The lab continues to meet or exceed all national and international standards for biocontainment. It is also a world leader when it comes to strong connections with the community and the lab's Community Liaison Committee is a role model for other high containment laboratories.

"Our Government is pleased to support Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory," said Minister Ambrose. "We are a world leader in innovation and research and this leading edge laboratory demonstrates what we have to offer Canada and the world."

Minister Ambrose is also holding a roundtable meeting with health leaders to explore the role of technological innovation in improving the efficiency and productivity of the healthcare system. The Minister will be holding similar roundtable sessions in various locations across Canada. Each roundtable meeting will include researchers, healthcare practitioners, IT innovators, and system management experts.

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Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Michael Bolkenius
    Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
    Federal Minister of Health
    (613) 957-0200

    Public Health Agency of Canada
    Media Relations
    (613) 957-2983

    Public Inquiries:
    (613) 957-2991