Supervised by Erica Di Ruggiero, Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Nav Persaud, Temerty Faculty of Medicine
Project Title: Intellectual Property Sharing in Crisis: The COVID-19 TRIPS Waiver Dilemma
Project Summary: This study investigates the decision-making processes underlying Canada’s stance on the TRIPS Waiver, a proposal to temporarily suspend intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments, to help combat the pandemic. This waiver had the potential to make a significant impact on global vaccine equity. Despite the Waiver’s widespread support by numerous countries and organizations to expedite global access to these tools, Canada did not endorse it. This study seeks to retrospectively explore how Canadian decision-makers arrived at this decision, organized via three overall objectives: (1) Explore how Canadian decision-makers understood and decided on the trade-offs involved in endorsing the TRIPS Waiver; (2) Understand the evidence decision-makers relied on, how it was commissioned, and how this evidence was decided upon; and (3) Examine how various federal actors within and outside the Canadian government mobilized to influence these decisions. These objectives will be achieved via a qualitative research approach, including a comprehensive document review, interviews with policy stakeholders, and an Access to Information and Privacy Act (ATIP) request. The study’s outcomes will be communicated to federal policymakers via a policy report that provides lessons for future IP sharing decision-making during pandemics.