Frequently asked questions: Chief Science Advisor

1. What functions will the Chief Science Advisor perform?

The Chief Science Advisor's (CSA) main role is to advise the Minister of Science and the Prime Minister on science issues.

Specifically, the CSA will provide advice on how the government can ensure science is considered when it makes decisions, on how to ensure that federal scientists can speak freely about their work and on how to improve the government's methods of providing scientific advice.

The CSA will also work to raise the public's awareness of scientific issues and will promote a productive dialogue between federal scientists and academia. The CSA will produce an annual report, which will be publicly available.

2. How long will the Chief Science Advisor serve?

The term is for three years, effective September 25, 2017.

3. To whom will the Chief Science Advisor report?

The Chief Science Advisor will report to both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Science.

4. How will the Chief Science Advisor's role differ from that of the Minister of Science?

The Chief Science Advisor's role is to provide advice. The Minister of Science brings scientific considerations to the Cabinet table and has the authority to make decisions.

5. Will there be an annual report? And when can we expect the first?

The Office of the Chief Science Advisor will provide an annual report on its activities. The first report will be made available shortly after a full year of activities.

6. How will the role of the Chief Science Advisor differ from that of the Council of Canadian Academies and other science advisory organizations?

The Council of Canadian Academies is a not-for-profit organization that coordinates one-off assessments of scientific issues. It responds to requests submitted by both federal and provincial/territorial ministers. Although the Council of Canadian Academies' assessments are available to the public, they do not offer policy recommendations.

Conversely, the CSA is a full-time advisor on scientific issues that are relevant to science policy. The role is both proactive and reactive.

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