The SMCC recognizes that reporting on science is as much about coverage of complex, continuing themes as it is about rapid response to breaking news. To that end, we regularly compile background information to help decipher issues with complexity or differing scientific points of view.

Our backgrounders are reviewed by scientific experts in the relevant disciplines and include suggestion for further reading. If you have any questions about these backgrounders or suggestions for topics you’d like to see, contact us at 613-249-8209.


Evidence Informed Decision Making

Climate change, Extreme Heat and Health 

Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan

Ebola Backgrounder, Phase 1 – Preparing for Ebola

Ecosystem Approaches to Health 

Alberta’s Bow River – Climate change and human impacts

Genomics in Agriculture, Part 1 – Tracing Livestock

Genomics in Agriculture, Part 2 – Improving Livestock

Genomics in Agriculture, Part 3 – Improving Animal Health

Genomics in Agriculture, Part 4 – Improving Food Safety

IPCC Fifth Assessment Report – Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis of Climate Change 

E. coli 

Alberta Floods 

Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines 




The Higgs Boson (updated July 2012) 

Cell Phones and Radiation




Scientific Uncertainty


Medical Isotopes

Additional backgrounders are available in French only.

Science Pages

In addition to media backgrounders, the SMCC produces Science Pages in collaboration with the Partnership Group for Science and Engineering. These documents engage a team of three interns with backgrounds in science/engineering, policy or communications, and aim to increase discussion on topical issues that have science and engineering at their core by summarizing the current state of knowledge and policy landscape.

Health Effects and Science of Cannabis

Drones and UAVs

Arctic Adaptation




Chemicals and Toxicity


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