Data gaps for children should be addressed as part of the COVID responseFebruary 22, 2021
Children are not the immediate face of COVID-19, but they are the face of its future.
That is the key message of a recent article in the Globe and Mail newspaper, co-authored by Children’s Health Policy director Charlotte Waddell.
Written with senior academics from McMaster University, the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Ottawa, the piece argues that unlike other countries, Canada does not have a national long-term study of children and youth. The need for such evidence on childhood health and well-being was urgent before COVID-19 and is even more urgent now.
But there is also some coincidental good news. Statistics Canada conducted a survey on children and youth in 2019, which means there are pre-pandemic data about how children were doing before COVID-19. (This survey involved a nationally, representative sample of more than 42,000 children aged 1 to 17 years across the country.)
The article argues that, “investing in a comprehensive follow-up survey represents our best opportunity to obtain accurate information about how the pandemic is affecting all Canadian children, and how some are being disproportionately affected.”
Such a follow up survey would also create a unique opportunity to assess how COVID-19′s impact may have differed across provinces and territories. As a result, it could also assess the impact of various public health and policy responses.