Health Services Research


The Health Services Research (HSR) Program is a joint effort of OICR and Cancer Care Ontario (CCO).


To provide the knowledge needed to optimize the delivery of cancer services today and to ensure appropriate dissemination of health service innovations and well-evaluated technologies.


To contribute to a future where:

  • Fewer people develop cancer;
  • Those who do are diagnosed promptly and at earlier stages;
  • Treatment is safer, more equitable and of higher quality; and
  • The cancer system is economically sustainable.


To enhance Ontario’s capacity to study how the organization and delivery of its cancer services affects the quality and outcomes of care through investment in:

  • People: Attract and retain outstanding researchers to do health services research related to cancer care in Ontario;
  • Research: Strengthen and expand the existing network of health services researchers in the province and support practical studies designed to inform decisions and policies today;
  • Data: Make existing information about the workings of our health system more directly available to researchers through an initiative called the Ontario Cancer Data Linkage Project (‘cd-link’).

Recruitment of Researchers

Over the past three years, the OICR/CCO HSR Program has recruited five researchers to Ontario through OICR Investigator Awards and CCO recruitment licenses and has protected the research time of five exceptional researchers already in the province through CCO's Chair Competition. In addition, the program is providing research training through support for trainees involved in projects funded by OICR.

Research Networks

The Program is supporting a network of researchers who work together with decision-makers to identify the highest priority HSR topics. Examples include research to: increase colon cancer screening rates; monitor the long term and late effects of cancer treatment among cancer survivors; measure patient symptoms to predict and avoid emergency room visits; and evaluate the success of policies designed to improve the safety and effectiveness of cancer surgery. These topics were strategically chosen to put in place expertise and methodologies that will be necessary to evaluate new technologies, including those coming out of OICR’s programs and platforms. Each project requires a plan for translating the knowledge gained into real-world action, and research into how best to actually achieve this knowledge translation (KT) is a priority of the Program.

Accessible Data

The Program is working on several fronts to make information collected in the course of normal medical care more accessible to researchers. Through a collaboration agreement between CCO and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), a data release mechanism has been developed called Ontario Cancer Data Linkage Project (‘cd-link’) whereby cancer data sets are linked, de-identified and made available directly to researchers. The Program is also supporting the expansion of ICES to create new cancer HSR research sites throughout the province.

Health Services Research Program Fact Sheet

Download the Fact Sheet

Health Services Research Program Fact Sheet

Lead Principal Investigator

Dr. Craig Earle
Program Leader, Health Services Research

Contact Information

Dr. Craig Earle

craig [dot] earleatices [dot] on [dot] ca

Telephone: 416-673-8589