Policy makers are often challenged when producing public policy to consider the role of evidence, especially scientific evidence. CPRN Research Fellow Patrick Fafard (University of Ottawa) explores this challenge in Evidence and Healthy Public Policy: Insights from Health and Political Sciences which was produced for the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy in collaboration with the Canadian Policy Research Networks.
The report focuses on two linked questions: what constitutes evidence in policy making, and what models of policy-making are available in political science that can inform our understanding of how evidence is used or not used to develop healthy public policy?
Fafard offers a critical account of the extent to which scientific evidence can be used to make public policy. The goal is to build a bridge between the somewhat linear conception of policy making dominant in the health sciences and several more complex and quite challenging accounts of policy making drawn from political (and policy) science. With this backdrop, he offers insight into how policy gets made and offers by way of conclusion six propositions to guide those who wish to bring evidence to bear to shape the broad public policies that affect the health of Canadians.