Montreal, Quebec, October 27, 2023
Today at McGill University, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Mark Holland, announced a $15M investment through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to create the first-of-its-kind Pan-Canadian Genome Library. Genome Canada is a proud strategic partner of this important initiative which will allow easier sharing of genomic data across the country to support better and more equitable health outcomes for Canadians.
The Pan-Canadian Genome Library, led by Dr. Guillaume Bourque, Director of Bioinformatics at the McGill Genome Centre, will enable easy capturing, storing and access to Canadian genomic data and provide researchers and health care professionals with a centralized database that reflects the diversity of people living in Canada – with a core principle ensuring autonomy and respectful use of Indigenous health data. Actionable data assets like the Library will support new clinical trials, enable new treatments for rare diseases, drive biomedical innovation and address health inequities in underserved communities.
Genome Canada’s existing investments will kickstart the Library’s work. Its first two datasets will be from the 10,000 sequenced host genomes in the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network’s (CanCOGeN) Host Seq platform led by CGEn, and sequences from All For One, Canada’s national rare disease initiative that has enabled equitable access to genome-wide sequencing across six provinces.
The Pan-Canadian Genome Library will serve the future of genomics and precision health in this country. Genome Canada’s upcoming Health Challenge will further our mission to generate, analyze and apply genomics datasets from existing and new disease cohorts to accelerate the development of screening tools, diagnostics and breakthrough treatments for Canadians. We will partner with the Library as a data repository for this work to ensure ethical data governance, equitable data sharing and interoperable data standards to benefit the health of Canadians.
“Sequencing the first human genome 20 years ago launched a biological revolution with data at its core. Large-scale genomics data enables better diagnostics, new treatments, and saves lives. I applaud CIHR and the McGill Genome Centre on today’s launch of the Pan-Canadian Genome Library. Genome Canada looks forward to a strong partnership to realize the Library’s national impact through our mission-driven initiatives to support healthy populations in Canada.”
– Dr. Rob Annan, President and CEO, Genome Canada
Genome Canada is a national not-for-profit organization addressing Canada’s greatest challenges and opportunities through research and innovation in genomics and associated biosciences. With a 23-year track record of impact across sectors, a pan-Canadian network of six regional Genome Centres, and strong partnerships across the public, private, non-profit and academic sectors at home and internationally, we translate research into real-world impact in health, climate action and food security. Learn more at genomecanada.ca.
Vice-President, Policy & Public Affairs