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COVID-19 led directly to 52,750 deaths in Canada with more than 4.6 million reported cases as of June 2023. This death rate of 1.372 per million exceeds the global average of 855 per million. What did we learn from this experience and how do we prepare for future health and public health crises?

On July 25, 2023, The BMJ is publishing a series of articles, modelled after its recent UK COVID Inquiry Series, on accountability for Canada’s COVID-19 response that critically analyse topics such as data sharing and access, research use and misuse, jurisdictional coordination, vaccine deployment including global vaccine equity, and the impact of the pandemic on those in long-term care homes and other vulnerable groups. Crosscutting all of these themes is how the pandemic shone the light on health inequities – which were further exacerbated by the pandemic and the response to it.

All articles in The BMJ’s Canada COVID-19 Series ia available at

This webinar, hosted by the Royal Society of Canada, will include authors of these articles and the discussion will focus on what worked and what didn’t work in Canada’s COVID-19 response, what a national inquiry should address, and the path for future pandemic response.


Jocalyn Clark MSc PhD FRCPE FCAHS

Dr Jocalyn Clark was appointed International Editor of The BMJ in August 2022, re-joining the journal 20 years after starting her editorial career at The BMJ. Previously she was an Executive Editor of The Lancet (2016-2022); Executive Editor at icddr,b in Dhaka, Bangladesh (2013-16); and Senior Editor at PLOS Medicine (2006-13). She is an advisor to Global Health 50/50 and WomenLift Health, Chair of the governance council of CMAJ, and co-founder of advocacy groups Canadian Women in Global Health and WGH Canada. Jocalyn holds a BSc in biochemistry & microbiology, and MSc and PhD in public health sciences (with gender studies). She is an adjunct professor of medicine, University of Toronto, and honorary associate professor at the Institute for Global Health, University College London. In 2019 Jocalyn was elected into fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in recognition of her scholarship and leadership in advancing gender equity, the social and political contexts of health, and Canadian perspectives within international health. Jocalyn is devoted to research impact and equity in global health and medicine.


Adam R Houston BSc, JD, MA, LLM, PhD

Adam R. Houston works at the intersection of health, human rights and globalization with a particular focus on access to medicines and the role of law in the response to infectious disease. He has worked with organizations across Canada and around the world on a wide range of issues, from reconciling disparate human rights/policy approaches towards HIV and tuberculosis to United Nations accountability for the Haitian cholera epidemic. He has also taught courses on topics relating to health, human rights and international law at multiple Canadian universities. He is currently the Medical Policy & Advocacy Officer for Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders Canada (MSF).

Sharmistha Mishra MD MSc PhD FRCPC

Sharmistha Mishra is an Infectious disease epidemiologist and physician at University of Toronto and Unity Health Toronto. She and her lab examine the causes and consequences of heterogeneity in risks of infectious disease transmission. Her lab’s work on COVID-19 focused on inequities and networks as mechanistic determinants of transmission risks, and how mechanistic and data-driven clarity around what drives epidemics and outbreaks could be harnessed for a more specific public health response. She holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Modeling and Program Science.

Sharon E. Straus, CM MD MSc FRCPC FRSC

Sharon E. Straus is a geriatrician and clinical epidemiologist who trained at the University of Toronto and the University of Oxford. She is the Director of the Knowledge Translation Program and Physician-in-Chief, St. Michael’s Hospital and Professor in Department of Medicine, University of Toronto. She holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Translation and Quality of Care and has authored more than 500 peer-reviewed publications and 3 textbooks in evidence-based medicine, knowledge translation and mentorship. Since 2015, she has consistently been in the top 1% of highly cited clinical researchers as per Clavirate and has an H-index of 108. She holds more than $60 million in peer-reviewed research grants as a principal investigator. She has received national awards for mentorship, research and education. She was inducted as a Fellow in the Royal Society of Canada in November 2021 and named as a Member of the Order of Canada in December 2021.

Linda Wilhelm

Linda Wilhelm is the President of The Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance, a virtual, grass-roots, patient-driven, independent, national organization with members across Canada. Linda has been an active advocate for treatment access and quality of care for all patients both regionally and nationally for over twenty years, Linda has been living with Rheumatoid Arthritis for over thirty five years. She and husband Kerry have been married for over thirty years, have three grown children, six grandchildren, and live in Bloomfield, Kings County, New Brunswick.

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