Science Integrity Project

Science Integrity Project

September 28, 2015 09:40 ET

Science Integrity Project Releases Statement of Principles for Sound Decision-Making in Canada

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Sept. 24, 2015) - 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, non-government 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 science-policy 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 scienceintegrity.ca.

Media kit (available at scienceintegrity.ca):

Media release and contact information

• Background paper: The Evolving Context of Science Integrity in Canada

• Complete text: Statement of Principles for Sound Decision-Making in Canada (ENG, FR and Inuktitut)

Illustrative examples of the Principles in practice (ENG and FR)

Contact Information

  • Media contact:
    Boldt Communications Inc. for Science Integrity Project
    Lesli Boldt
    President
    604-662-3500 or M: 778-772-5682
    lesli@boldtcommunications.com