Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about the Ontario Health Data Platform COVID-19.

Please read the official press releases from the Ministry Of Health regarding the platform here and the Special Advisor announcement here.

The data will be gathered from a range of datasets and will be integrated on a secure platform in order for researchers to perform analysis and gain insights to help with understanding and combatting COVID-19. Researchers will help with:

  • Understanding the disease
  • Transmission
  • Case testing and surveillance
  • Disease management
  • Health equity and vulnerable populations
  • Public health measures
  • Infection, prevention and control in specific settings
  • Frontline workers
  • Supply chain
  • Data analytics, modeling and measurement

The Ontario Health Data Platform will provide access to integrated available health data, that complies with all applicable privacy laws and policies as well as best-practice security standards. There has been consultation with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario and other privacy experts in Ontario. For more information about the data on the platform, click here. Other supporting data will be added based on criteria set by Ontario's Ministry of Health to meet the needs of researchers to achieve the platform’s objectives.

Trends, risks, discoveries, predictions and insights will be shared with Ontario's Ministry of Health and health system planners within ministries or organizations assisting the government of Ontario in responding to COVID-19. The findings will assist in pandemic response and planning. In addition, researchers will gain insights regarding the testing and response capacity of the health system. The knowledge generated from the platform will better equip the public, policymakers and health system planners in Ontario’s collective fight against COVID-19.

The Office of Chief Medical Officer of Health, Public Health is currently working with the Anti-Racism Directorate, Indigenous Affairs, Public Health Ontario, Legal Services, and the Ministry of Health Strategic Policy, Planning and French Language Services Division, including the Strategic Policy Branch and the Indigenous, French Language and Priority Populations Branch, as well as community partners representing racialized communities. They are working together to create processes and structures that strive to support vulnerable populations in the context of COVID-19 and related impacts.

The Ontario Health Data Platform has been operational since July 2020.

The Ontario Health Data Platform provides insights that will help the people of Ontario by increasing the detection of COVID-19, discovering risk factors for vulnerable populations and predicting when and where outbreaks may occur. The platform and the analyses that will be produced will also assist in evaluating how preventative and treatment measures are working.

The Ministry of Health selected experts to work on four significant areas of the platform – data governance, technology, cybersecurity and health data management. Public sector organizations with extensive experience in working collaboratively in these areas such as the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), Ontario Health, Indoc Research, Queen’s University, among others, were selected for this project.

The COVID-19 Challenge Questions Initiative has been established by Ontario's Ministry of Health to help ensure that researchers accessing the Ontario Health Data Platform (OHDP) address high priority COVID-19 research questions that are responsive to the needs of the province. The objective of the initiative is to accelerate the generation and translation of research and data analytic insights into action responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Challenge Questions Initiative is open to researchers across Ontario, including those not using the OHDP.

Challenge questions are complex questions that are responsive to the needs of government, organized as a subset of the COVID-19 Health Research Priorities Framework. The initiative serves as a call to action for collaboration across machine learning and the wider health research community. It will be based on an integrated knowledge translation (iKT) approach, and challenges researchers to answer complex questions with actionable solutions.

Research areas and Challenge Questions have been developed through discussions with key Ministry COVID-19 advisory committees and with practitioners, researchers, data experts, policy knowledge users and patients/family advisors.

Date modified: 2021-12-09