Conceptual Approach: One Society Network

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The RSC COVID-19 Task Force represented an early collaboration among several Network members who participated on the RSC’s Working Group on Economic Recovery. That team developed evidence-informed perspectives on major societal challenges in response to and recovery from COVID-19. They identified key recommendations for renewing the social contract, re-invigorating the economy, enabling innovation, and improving crisis policy responses.

The work done by Limestone Analytics, together with economists from Queen’s University, involved the development of the Short-Term Under-capacity Dynamic Input-Output (STUDIO) model, which provided economic projections by industry, for all of provincial Canada. The model is designed to integrate with the models of epidemiologists and has been used to measure the costs of various mitigation and recovery strategies and inform policy decisions in Canada and abroad. The model has previously been applied in several collaborative research efforts between economists and epidemiologists who are members of the One Society Network, including serving as the main economic model on Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster Looking Glass project and Global Canada’s COVID Strategic Choices Group.

The Looking Glass combined the economic modeling of the STUDIO model with the epidemiological modeling from a Queen’s University research team, as well as the AI modeling and computational expertise of industry partners. The project developed a dashboard enabling local policymakers to compare the economic and public health tradeoffs of various policy scenarios.

Global Canada’s COVID Strategic Choices Group brings together several of Canada’s policymakers, industry leaders, and academic researchers, including several members of the One Society Network, to review scientific evidence and make policy recommendations. The team produced their initial taskforce report in December of 2020, which detailed a strategy called ‘The Canadian Shield’, which compared outcomes under alternative lockdown and recovery strategies and recommended policies to protect Canadians from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Group has since released several additional policy reports discussing the evidence and recommendations behind continued lock downs, testing capacity, and border policy.

The One Society Network will further strengthen collaborations between economists, epidemiologists, and health policy decision makers, and characterize the impact of diseases and policy responses, starting with COVID-19, across a diversity of sectors in society. This One Society approach seeks to complement the important work being done by mathematicians and epidemiologists, in order to ensure projections of the total impact of a disease and policy responses, provide a comprehensive account of social and economic impacts.