Established by the President of the Royal Society of Canada in April 2020, the RSC Task Force on COVID-19 was mandated to provide evidence-informed perspectives on major societal challenges in response to and recovery from COVID-19.  

The Task Force established a series of Working Groups to rapidly develop Policy Briefings, with the objective of supporting policy makers with evidence to inform their decisions. 

Full Report
Executive Summary


Overview of Easing the Disruption of COVID-19: Supporting the Mental Health of the People of Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health of the people of Canada. Most have found it challenging to cope with social distancing, isolation, anxiety about infection, financial security and the future and balancing demands of work and home life. For some, especially those who have had to face pre-existing challenges such as structural racism, poverty and discrimination and those with prior mental health problems, the pandemic has been a major impact.

The Policy Briefing Report focuses on the current situation, how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated significant long standing weaknesses in the mental health system, and makes specific recommendations to meet these challenges to improve the well-being of the people of Canada.

Authors of the Report

Gordon J. G. Asmundson, SOM, PhD, FRSC, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Regina
Cindy Blackstock, PhD, Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada; Professor, School of Social Work, McGill University
Marie Claire Bourque, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Calgary; Psychiatrist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto
Glenn Brimacombe, MA, Director, Policy and Public Affairs, Canadian Psychological Association
Allison Crawford, MD, PhD, Associate Chief, Virtual Mental Health and Outreach, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
S. Hélène Deacon, DPhil, Killam Professor, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University
Ken McMullen, Bapps:ES, ECFO, CFEI, Chief/Manager of Emergency Services, The City of Red Deer
Patrick J. McGrath (Chair), OC, PhD, FRSC, FCAHS, Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University; Scientist, IWK Health Centre, Chair of the Working Group
Christopher Mushquash, Ph.D., C.Psych. Canada Research Chair, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Lakehead University; Psychologist, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care
Sherry H. Stewart, PhD, Canada Research Chair, Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University
Jennifer Stinson, RN-EC, PhD, FAAN, Scientist and Nurse Practitioner, Mary Jo Haddad Nursing Chair, Hospital for Sick Children; Professor Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto
Steven Taylor, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia
Marsha Campbell-Yeo, PhD, MN/NNP-BC, RN, Professor and Clinician Scientist. School of Nursing, Faculty of Health, Dalhousie University and IWK Health, Halifax, Nova Scotia

This report has also been published in the FACETS collection of RSC Policy Briefings. The report is available here

For further information or for media requests, contact Erika Kujawski at 



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