Bring your lived experience to clinical trials in ontario

UPDATE: Call for new members of the College of Lived Experience is now closed. CTO is no longer accepting expressions of interest. 

Clinical Trials Ontario (CTO) partners with patients and the public to bring lived and living experiences that inform our own initiatives, help raise public awareness of clinical trials, and support researchers in their interactions with patients and families around clinical trials.

We have developed unique models of engagement to ensure these partnerships are meaningful, accessible and effective including the CTO College of Lived Experience. Members of the College of Lived Experience reflect the diversity of patients and public who are interested in clinical trials in Ontario. The College is not disease or condition specific, and the group is large enough that members can decide which projects to participate in or not. To our knowledge, it’s the only group of its kind related to clinical trials in Ontario or Canada.

What does the College of Lived Experience do?

The College advises CTO on current topics and issues about clinical trials and CTO-led projects, to ensure that patient and public perspectives are incorporated into CTO’s work.

The College also serves as a resource for the clinical trials community, collaborating with investigators, industry, and others on clinical trial teams to better reflect the patient and public experience as they design and conduct clinical trials.

A few of the projects the College of Lived Experience has worked on include the following. You can click on each to be taken to the resource or project page.

Read about the work that the College of Lived Experience did with the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s VIRTUOSO project here. 

What College members feel about their experiences

Working with the College of Lived Experience has provided not only a unique opportunity to contribute to discussions and new directions for clinical trials influenced by the patient/caregiver community perspective, but it has highlighted the importance of that contribution. It has ensured a level of confidence that many are seeing and recognizing the important role the patient/consumer can play.” – Donna Lillie

As a member of the College of Lived Experience, I had the opportunity to collaborate with like minded patients and caregivers and provide impactful input on a variety of initiatives that will help to elevate the clinical trial experience and outcomes of patients and their families during this stressful period. Our collaborations were well facilitated, respectful and engaging, a wonderful “two way“ learning experience for all!” – Terry Hawrysh

“It’s been a very positive experience. It’s been an opportunity to connect with other patients and caregivers from across Ontario with very different experiences from my own.” – Maureen Smith

If you’re interested in being a member of the College, please submit an expression of interest to us by March 26, 2023. If you have any questions at all about the process, please contact Dr. Dawn Richards, Director of Patient and Public Engagement at

UPDATE: Call for new members of the College of Lived Experience is now closed. CTO is no longer accepting expressions of interest. 


#TalkClinicalTrials is a campaign led by CTO with the a goal of building awareness around clinical trials. Why? Because clinical trials matter to all of us. They help to generate better treatments and technologies and ultimately help shape the future of medicine. Explore more stories from the series and join the conversation on social media using #TalkClinicalTrials.