The OHTN is committed to supporting excellent research that is relevant to the priority populations in Ontario that has the potential for impact. The OHTN Board of Directors is responsible for establishing policies to ensure the highest professional and ethical standards for OHTN funding programs in all of these areas. Our aim is to ensure that OHTN-supported research, community and health care capacity development and KTE efforts have the maximum potential to influence improvements in prevention, treatment, care, support, and policy – and to fulfill our mission to improve the health and well-being of people living with and at risk of HIV in Ontario. The OHTN Board has the responsibility to ensure that policies articulating conflicts of interest are developed, monitored and put into practice to ensure good governance of itself and all aspects of its programs and stakeholder relations and interests.
The OHTN’s mandate and structure actively supports and encourages the meaningful involvement of all of its stakeholder groups in developing, reviewing and advising on matters related to its funding programs. Stakeholder groups include researchers, health care and front-line service providers, government policy makers, and people living with and at risk of HIV/AIDS. The involvement of our stakeholders in all aspects of our funding programs helps to ensure that the OHTN is connected to emerging needs as well as innovative developments in HIV/AIDS. The involvement of people living with and affected by HIV throughout our organizational activities is key to our commitment to the greater (GIPA) and meaningful (MIPA) involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition, involvement of the research community is crucial to ensuring that the OHTN provides leadership, in both Ontario and Canada more broadly, in supporting innovation in research related to prevention, treatment, care and support.
The OHTN recognizes that this level of involvement by stakeholders in our communities can raise issues of perceived and real conflict of interest in the development and management of OHTN’s funding programs. To address this, the OHTN has developed policies to ensure that conflicts of interest, both perceived and real, are handled transparently and accountably given the unique governance structure of the organization. Three key resources were consulted in developing these policies – Department of Justice Canada Conflict of Interest Act(2006); Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of Research Funding Organizations (2013); and Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality in the Context of Merit, Relevance and Peer Review (CCIP; 2009).
The following document describes these Conflict of Interest policies and commits the OHTN, its Board of Directors, advisory and review committee members, working group members, OHTN staff, and other relevant partners and stakeholders to comply with these policies throughout all processes related to the OHTN’s funding programs.
The OHTN Board of Directors, committee and working group members, and OHTN staff are valued for their individual expertise; they serve as representatives of their own sector and the broader HIV/AIDS community. It is therefore understood that their participation in program and policy development and funding decisions will be in the best interests of achieving the OHTN mission – Through a network that promotes research and evidence to drive change, we will improve the health and well-being of people living with and at risk of HIV in Ontario.