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What is the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program? Published: ()

Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program logo The Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program (CPSP) actively monitors rare and/or emerging diseases and conditions in children and youth. It examines conditions that are high-risk in terms of disability and economic costs to society, despite their low frequency.

Since 1996, Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society have maintained CPSP with the voluntary contribution of over 2700 paediatricians and other doctors who provide specialized care for children and youth.

Over 75 surveillance studies and over 50 one-time surveys have been completed, covering a diverse range of topics including:

All of CPSP’s concluded studies and current studies are available online.

How does CPSP surveillance work?

Each month, participating doctors receive an initial report form from the CPSP listing the conditions currently under surveillance. They are asked to indicate the number of new cases they have seen in that month.

For each case reported, the CPSP mails out a detailed case report form for the doctor to complete. Note that the patient remains anonymous as no directly identifying information is included (e.g., child’s name, health insurance number). Detailed case reports are returned to the program where a team of investigators analyzes the data and reports on findings:


The CPSP gathers data from up to 2700 paediatricians and other doctors who provide specialized care for children and youth across Canada each month to monitor conditions of interest.

CPSP gathers only anonymized data already captured in patient charts.


Teams of CPSP investigators analyze and interpret the data in order to better understand how to prevent or control the conditions.


Study results are published by the CPSP and other sources and are acted upon to improve the health of children and youth in Canada.

An average of 10 CPSP surveillance studies are underway at any given time.

There are three types of studies: ongoing studies, time-limited studies, and one-time surveys.

The two ongoing surveillance studies include:

Time-limited studies are conducted for a defined period of time, typically 2 years, though they can be extended or repeated.

As not all national surveillance questions warrant a complete study, the CPSP conducts one-time surveys to help capture a signal, or answer a specific emerging public health concern. Three new one-time surveys are launched each year.

All CPSP study protocols and forms are available on the CPSP website.

How are diseases and conditions identified for surveillance?

An application to start a CPSP surveillance study or one-time survey can be submitted at any time by investigators. The CPSP office works with the investigators to refine the application and seek approval from the CPSP Steering Committee. For more information about the application process and the criteria for selection, visit the CPSP application webpage.

How are CPSP Results reported and used?

CPSP study results are published in:

Results can be useful to researchers, policy, program and support professionals, health care professionals, patients and families and others seeking to improve the health of children and youth.

What are some examples of CPSP study results making a difference in the lives of Canadians?

CPSP Surveillance studies and one-time surveys have informed:

How does the CPSP work with other countries?

Diseases can cross borders and surveillance systems are more nimble and effective when techniques and results are shared. The CPSP actively collaborates with 12 other paediatric surveillance units worldwide through the International Network of Paediatric Surveillance Units (INOPSU).

Do you have questions or want to know more?

Visit the CPSP website and/or contact the CPSP.

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