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Dr. Christopher Canning

Dr. Christopher CanningPhD, Director, Research & Academics

Dr. Christopher Canning is Director, Research & Academics at the Waypoint Research Institute based at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care in Penetanguishene, Ontario. He has previously served as Vice President, Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization with Canada's Centre of Excellence on PTSD, funded by Veterans Affairs Canada. He was also the Director of Programs and Priorities at the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), leading a research and knowledge mobilization team focused on the intersections between mental health and substance use. Christopher began his career in mental health policy and research at the MHCC, where he served in progressively senior roles from 2012 to 2019. A sociologist by training, he holds a Ph.D. from Queen's University. His doctoral research investigated contemporary social and scientific understandings of depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. Christopher was awarded a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship and conducted research in the history and sociology of molecular genetics and epigenetics at McGill University's Department of Social Studies of Medicine from 2009 to 2012.


Over the last decade, Christopher has contributed to research and policy development in the areas of recovery; child and youth mental health and youth engagement; emerging adult mental health; services and supports for immigrant, refugee, ethnocultural and racialized populations; expanding access to counselling, psychotherapies and psychological services; and building the case for more dedicated mental health care funding in Canada. He has published and spoken widely on closing the knowledge to action gap, and the importance of centring lived experience perspectives in mental health and substance use research, policy and practice. Bringing his own lived experiences to his research, policy and advocacy work, Christopher is deeply and personally committed to health equity, anti-racism and anti-oppression, and creating meaningful system transformation that puts people with lived experience at the centre of services and supports.

Keywords: Research, knowledge mobilization, policy development, lived experience, equity.

 Research Interests

Sociology and philosophy of mental health, knowledge mobilization, stigma, harm reduction, mental health and substance use policy, patient-oriented and community-engaged research, lived experience, equity.


"Key steps for a mental health and addictions performance measurement framework for Canada." Healthcare Management Forum. Co-author. March 2019


"Mental health and addictions policy priorities and performance measurement frameworks." Healthcare Management Forum. Co-author. March 2019.


"Knowledge mobilization and mental health policy: lessons from the Canadian Consensus Conference on the Mental Health of Emerging Adults." Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health. Co-author. July 2017.


"Medical genetics at McGill: the history of a pioneering research group." Canadian Bulletin of Medical History. Co-author. April 2013.


"The pitfalls of an 'add-and-stir' approach to transdisciplinary public health research." Critical Public Health. Co-author. June 2010.


"Epigenetics: an emerging challenge to genetic determinism in studies of mental health and illness." Social Alternatives. October 2008.


"Psychiatric survivor testimonials and embodiment: emotional challenges to medical knowledge." Radical Psychology. 2006.


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