Dear colleagues, members, supporters, and friends,
It is with considerable regret that Cochrane’s Governing Board announces the cancellation of Cochrane Colloquium Toronto which had been rescheduled for 11-14th September, 2022.
The Governing Board recently reviewed an options paper exploring a range of proposals for holding the planned Colloquium in September 2022 in Toronto. Options considered were a hybrid online event, a fully virtual event, a fully in-person Colloquium, and a regional in-person gathering. We wanted to explore thoroughly the possibilities to bring parts of our community together for our annual flagship event, being aware that, as a Community, we have not met in person for four years. In doing that we have had also to weigh up the risks, which include:
- Continuing uncertainties and restrictions affecting international travel due to the pandemic – including vaccination roll-outs, passports, and visas imposed by national governments across the world;
- Delegates' willingness and ability to travel as a result of these restrictions;
- The substantial costs involved in hosting an international conference and risks to breakeven, at a time when Cochrane’s Central Executive Team are engaged in a cost reduction and reorganization review to ensure the charity is financially sound;
- Significant additional financial challenges in the coming years with the implementation of full Open Access by 2025; and
- Other significant changes and uncertainties including proposals for Cochrane’s future of evidence production, a new fundraising strategy and continued delivery of the Strategy for Change.
Balancing the risks and challenges with the opportunities, the Board decided that the financial risks and uncertainties were significant, and planning an event of this magnitude and importance in the coming months would put unnecessary pressure on the organization.
As a result, there is an opportunity to rethink the identity and purpose of Colloquia post pandemic and within the context of Cochrane’s Strategy for Change, fundraising imperative, and heightened awareness of the financial and climate situation facing us all.
We recognize that opportunities to meet colleagues and friends, collaborate, and engage in scientific exchange is something we all enjoy. We are committed to finding new and interesting ways of organizing virtual events and experiences in a post-pandemic world, so we will be producing a series of online meetings throughout 2022 – you can find the dates for these meetings here that will include a fully virtual Governance Meeting scheduled for late March 2022.
Board members would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the team at Cochrane Canada, the extraordinary efforts of the Local Organizing Team, and members of the Scientific Committee who have put so much work into planning a distinguished scientific programme for Toronto Colloquium, both in 2020 and now for 2022.
A full online programme of events, training workshops, and meetings for the next 12 months will follow and our Events Working Group are keen to hear from any Group planning a regional meeting, virtual or online, in 2022, so we can promote and support your Cochrane work.
Despite the disappointment this news brings, we hope to see many of you at our next Community meeting in November (more information to come at a later date). We look forward to future discussions on how Cochrane can best respond to our challenges and opportunities, and your ideas on how we continue to connect and collaborate in this brave new world. Thank you for all you do.
With our very best wishes,
Tracey Howe, Catherine Marshall
Governing Board Co-chairs
Judith Brodie – Chief Executive Officer
Karla Soares-Weiser – Editor in Chief