Canadians care deeply about health care — for themselves, their families, and their communities. Ensuring that the health-care system can deliver the best possible care depends fundamentally on research that is supported by high-quality data. Much of the data relevant to health research arise from interactions within the health system — every encounter with a physician, a pharmacist, a laboratory technician, or hospital staff generates data. In the last several years there has been an explosion in the sheer volume and variety of health data. In addition, advances in information technology are making available new ways to manage health data. Understanding the best ways to access, store, and govern these data is an important issue for Canada and Canadians.