The proposed Research Platform For Understanding Child Development, Health, and Education (observatoire pour L’éducation et la santé des enfants, OPES) will be a secure infrastructure for epidemiological studies linking data from administrative and research databases. Data will be de-identified such that individual participants will not be identifiable.

Strategic research axise

Thematic axes
Accordion Content


  • Dr. Simon Larose

The objectives of the education axis ares:

  • Describe the adaptation trajectories that emerge naturally in higher education students during a pandemic, considering their possible heterogeneity;
  • Document their experience of the migration of teaching and services during the pandemic (presence vs. distance);
  • Identify student sub-populations at risk of experiencing “aggravating” trajectories;
  • Develop prediction models that will make it possible, based on personal and academic factors, to explain the resilience and vulnerability of students, and in particular that of SHS.
  • Understand the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the current and future transitions of the university student community, academic success and perseverance at the university and on the academic, professional and personal transitions that will follow.


  • Dr. Nicholas Chadi
  • Dre. Marie-Claude Geoffroy

The objectives of the mental health and well being axis ares:

  • Monitor scientific studies on pandemic and post-pandemic and mental health in adolescents and young adults;
  • Document the consequences of the pandemic on mental health in children, adolescents and young adults in terms of symptoms and use of services and identify risk and protective factors;
  • Make recommendations to improve the mental health of young people, following the lessons learned during the pandemic;
  • Propose science-based strategies for promoting mental health, for example contact with nature and mindfulness;
  • Engage in knowledge transfer.


  • Dre. Kate Zinszer
  • Dr. Benoit Massé

The objectives of the infections and immunity axis are:

  • Estimate the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in children and staff by age groups and according to different neighborhoods of Montreal;
  • Estimate the risk of SARS-CoV-2 seroconversion in children in Montreal from the start to the end of the school year;
  • Estimate the prevalence of difficulties related to the emotional and mental health of children and staff in different neighborhoods of Montreal.


  • Dre. Lise Gauvin

The objectives of the healthy lifestyle axis are:

  • Monitor lifestyle habits to understand the long-term effects – Examine in connection with traditional indicators and new indicators of inequality;
  • Match monitoring data with data on the living environments of young people – Examine the co-benefits: lifestyle habits and academic performance + physical and mental health.
Transverse axes
Accordion Content


  • Dre. Catherine Haeck

The objectives of the economic development axis are:

  • Monitoring of economic, educational and intervention literature to minimize the impact of the pandemic;
  • Assessment of the link between school closures and child and youth development;
  • Deploy a strategy for remedying development gaps and identify solutions.


  • Dre. Isabelle Ouellet-Morin

The objectives of the social innovation axis are:

  • Identify the needs of key partners and initiatives deployed or under development;
  • Scientific and technological watch;
  • Promote, support, evaluate and combine the development of technosocial innovations.


Short-term: To monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and adolescents in order to inform decision-making.


Medium- and long-term: To advance knowledge, researching innovative topics such as the impact of parental and child stress on family relations, academic achievement, mental health, and psychosocial adaptation; the role of inflammatory markers, immune response; differential susceptibility and genetic predisposition, healthcare services utilization; effects of the pandemic associated with loss of family income and reliance on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and/or employment insurance; and effects of the pandemic associated with primary residence (geographic area or city district). This extensive database will also facilitate studies on the effectiveness of educational or psychosocial remedial/tutorial services to ensure optimal selection of services in the future. The COVID-19 biobank created by the FRQ will serve as a model for the creation of a more diversified data- and biobank.


The social benefits of the proposed infrastructure go well beyond COVID-19 related research and decisions; they extend to any number of unforeseen events or afflictions that the future may hold in store. This platform is therefore an investment that will substantially increase knowledge to facilitate administrative decision-making for the well-being of the population in the short, medium and long term.

Knowledge transfer

Our interdisciplinary knowledge mobilization plan follows best practice guidelines and will deliver high quality evidence to multiple audiences. If effective, this plan has the potential to be included in the Government of Quebec’s digital mental health strategy in the short term.


Our 20 years of collaboration with the Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Development will enable effective execution of our knowledge mobilization. The plan was studied at three levels:


  1. Contributors: The research questions and methodology were developed with our multidisciplinary team of knowledge users and researchers;
  2. Participants: Participants in the pilot project were involved in adapting the knowledge mobilization plan;
  3. Decision Makers: The project is supported by the Quebec Ministry of Health, the Canadian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Department of Obstetrics at Sainte-Justine Hospital.


For our knowledge transfer, we target five types of audience:


  1. The scientific community: We have a strong track record of publishing our research and timely special issues in peer-reviewed journals with a high impact factor, including World Psychiatry (impact factor (IF)=40) , JAMA Psychiatry (IF=17), JAMA Pediatrics (IF=14). We will ensure open access to data according to the “FAIR” principle: findable (Findable), Accessible, Interoperable, and reusable (reusable) with the aim of disseminating, encouraging, supporting and facilitating the use of the data that we will collect. We also plan to communicate our results to the scientific and academic community at conferences and colloquia that we will organize and prepare;
  2. Professionals/Clinicians: Results will be presented as key messages (videos, audios, infographics) in professional association newsletters. We will target international networks (Association for Women’s Mental Health, Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health, Society for Research in Child Development, World Association for Infant Mental Health), national networks (Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative; Canadian Pediatric Association, Association of Perinatal and Women’s Health Nurses) and provincial (Association of Perinatal Physicians of Quebec, Network of Perinatal Resource Centers of Quebec; Provincial Congress of Mother-Child Research, Quebec Association for Infant Mental Health Midwifery Association of Quebec);
  3. Service providers/policy makers: We will prepare briefing notes as well as policy briefs in which the results of our research and strategies for future directions to improve health and education services will be highlighted. We will also invite decision-makers to participate and attend our conferences, colloquiums and symposia;
  4. General public: The results of our research will be disseminated widely via several social networks (in particular Facebook, Instagram, twitter and youtube). We will take advantage of our partnerships with several organizations such as the INSQ, the MEQ, the Center of Excellence for the Development of Young Children, the ISQ, the DRSP, the CIUSS of the center-south of the island by making the wide and effective dissemination of our knowledge as well as our strategies for future orientations via their social networks and websites. . We will use our close ties with the traditional media to also obtain a regular presence in newspapers, radio and television. Thus, we plan to do several interviews, dialogues and conferences;
  5. Pregnant and postpartum women and partners: We will disseminate key messages on mental health and well-being in clinics, using flyers in infographic format; We will produce video summaries of key messages (approximately 120 seconds) for new and future parents.

Current project

The project will take place in two phases and will evaluate two cohorts of children assessed by the ISQ as part of the school readiness survey.

1st PHASE:

Survey on psychosocial development (mental health) at the end of the school year 2020-2021 ;


2nd PHASE:

Assessment of learning during the school year 2021-2022.

Assessed cohorts:


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Born in 2004-2005, assessed in kindergarten in 2011.

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Data collection from 10,000 young people for psychosocial and school functioning.

The questionnaire, completed online by teens, will take 15 minutes to be completed.

COHORT 1: Born in 2005


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Born in 2010-2011, assessed in kindergarten in 2017.

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Data collection from teachers who assess children’s psychosocial and academic functioning.

COHORT 2: Born in 2011

The Observatory will also conduct the following research projects:

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Population-based and longitudinal studies of children’s learning and psychosocial development

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Follow ups of participants assessed prior to march 2020

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Seroprevalence studies

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COVID-19 transmission in schools

Related projects

Toi, moi, bébé

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École à ciel ouvert

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Understanding the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on our children