CFPC Research Initiatives

Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN): Canada’s first multi-disease electronic record surveillance system

The Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN) helps family physicians and health planners know and understand chronic and neurologic disease to prevent illness and better treat patients who have these illnesses.  

Created by and for physicians, it is the first pan-Canadian primary care chronic disease surveillance network. It works by gathering health data from electronic medical records in family physicians’ offices. Until CPCSSN, there was no access to the wealth of information collected by family physicians.

National Physician Survey

The National Physician Survey (NPS), Canada’s most comprehensive survey of physicians and future physicians, is the only census physician survey in Canada. It focuses on pressing matters facing the health care system and on current topics in care delivery. In addition, the NPS explores the perspectives, expressed practice intentions, and the professional and personal interests of current and future physicians.

Aggregate information resulting from the study is publicly available and is used to inform health care planning, research, policy, curriculum development, and advocacy.

The NPS is a collaboration of the CFPC, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC), and is developed through consultation and collaboration with key stakeholders. To learn more about the NPS, access the survey results or contact the NPS Project Manager.

National Research System (NaReS)

Created in 1976, NaReS (the National Research System) has been a multi-province practice-based research network with members from across Canada. NaReS has developed a network of primary care practitioners, called “sentinels” (family physicians interested in answering research questions stemming from day-to-day practice), who are members of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

What Is NaReS?
From its earliest days, NaReS has been a research network of sentinel family physicians with an interest in answering research questions which arise out of their day-to-day practice, and who are not involved in other practice-based research networks in their region.

In recent years, the primary focus of the NaReS staff has been the development and support of the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN), an extraordinary five-year project funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada through a contribution agreement with the CFPC.

Currently, NaReS is contracted to work on the Vaccine Effectiveness Study operations in Ontario, recruiting CFPC members to act as physician sentinels in the collection of nasopharyngeal swabs, and to report influenza-like illness in collaboration with Public Health Ontario (PHO) and the Ontario Agency for Health Promotion and Protection.

Both CPCSSN and NaReS are committed to continuing professional development and the development of research skills. All network sentinels are eligible to apply for Mainpro-M2 credits for their participation in sentinel surveillance work effort. Read more about CPCSSN’s MainPro credit options.

To reach NaReS, please contact the Research Information Coordinator: Telephone: (905) 629-0900 ext. 417, or 1-800-387-6197 (toll-free). Email:

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