Feds invest over $3 million to study impacts of COVID-19 on Canadian children and youth

The federal government is investing over $3 million in a research project that will study the impacts of COVID-19 on children and youth.

Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, recently announced that a team of researchers led by Professor Kathy Georgiades from the Offord Centre for Child Studies will receive $3.1 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for a study aimed at helping young people recover from the pandemic. 

The Offord Centre is a multi-disciplinary research institute of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences’ McMaster Children’s Hospital.

“It’s clear that COVID-19 is having a negative impact on the physical and mental well-being of many children and youth which is why investing in research like this is so important,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a media statement. “Information from this study will be used to develop strategies that will help them recover and minimize any long-term effects to improve their well-being. We also know that ensuring children and young people are up to date with their vaccination can help protect them against severe outcomes and post-COVID conditions.”

Dr. Georgiades will collaborate with principal investigators at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, and the Children’s Health Policy Centre at Simon Fraser University. The researchers will partner with Statistics Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Children’s Healthcare Canada to collect data on children’s physical, mental, and social well-being, as well as their COVID-19 vaccination status. The research evidence uncovered by this study will contribute to strategies to support children and youth affected by the mental and physical health challenges stemming from the pandemic. 

Close to 27,000 children between the ages of five and 21 will participate in the national study, which gets underway in January and wraps up in June 2023. Statistics Canada previously monitored this same group, then aged up to 17 years, for the 2019 Canadian Health Survey on Children and Youth. The results collected in 2019 give the research team solid pre-pandemic baseline data, which will allow them to assess the effects of the pandemic on the group’s well-being.

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