Government of Canada invests $42.9 million to support individuals and the health sector to adapt to our changing climate

by ahnationtalk on May 26, 2023158 Views

From: Health Canada

The National Adaptation Strategy will help the health care sector anticipate and respond to the health risks of climate change.

May 26, 2023

Climate change affects us all. Warming temperatures and increased extreme weather events like heat waves, floods and wildfires already pose a serious threat to our health and wellbeing. These events are becoming more frequent and more severe. They are increasing costs and stress on our health system and are having a profound impact on the mental health of individuals and communities.

Today, as part of the Government of Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy and the Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced that Health Canada will invest up to $43 million over the next five years to fund programs that will support the health sector and people in Canada to adapt to a changing climate. The National Adaptation Strategy has been open to provinces, territories and National Indigenous Organizations for final comment and will soon be finalized. The final Strategy will help the government to address the impacts of climate change that people in Canada are already experiencing and set in motion the transformations we need to build a stronger, low-carbon health care system.

These investments will help protect individuals from existing and emerging health risks caused by climate change and build health systems that adapt and adjust to our changing climate. For example, this includes supporting resilient and low-carbon health systems that can respond to the health risks posed by the changing climate such as extreme heat.

Through the framework of the National Adaptation Strategy, Health Canada will renew and expand existing health programs, including the HealthADAPT program and efforts to protect the health of people in Canada from extreme heat, including extreme indoor heat which is the greatest cause of heat-related injuries and death in Canada. These initiatives address the health effects of climate change and advance actions to protect the population from extreme heat, a growing and urgent health risk.

Quotes

“Climate change is the biggest health threat facing people in Canada and around the world. Our health care system has an important role to play in preventing health impacts of climate change, but we can’t deal with it alone. That’s why we are working together with partners across the country to protect individuals from extreme heat and create climate-resilient health care systems.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“Climate change is having a profound impact on the mental health of people across Canada, especially in Indigenous, rural and remote communities. The initiatives announced today will support more people at risk of the negative health and mental health effects of climate change, and will help to build more resilient communities for generations to come.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister of Health

“We cannot discuss climate change policy without discussing the very real impacts a changing climate is already imposing on the health, safety, and economy of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. While we must keep fighting climate change, we must also be better prepared for the effects we are already seeing. Adaptation is about reducing the impacts of the changing climate on people and communities, enabling them to be better prepared to respond and recover. Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy is building a path forward to not only adapt, but also thrive under changing conditions. The government is supporting Canada’s health sector by renewing and expanding initiatives, including HealthADAPT, to protect the health of people in Canada during periods of extreme heat.”

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick Facts

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has called climate change the biggest global public health threat of the 21st century.
  • As part of her mandate, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, is required to release a report every year on the state of public health in Canada. Last year’s report: Mobilizing Public Health Action on Climate Change, discusses the impacts of climate change and health.
  • The Adaptation and Health System Resilience Chapter of the national climate change and health assessment, Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate, found that very few health authorities in Canada have advanced efforts to identify and address climate-related health risks.
  • If no action is taken, the impacts of climate change on health could cost Canada’s health care system billions of dollars and reduce economic activity by tens of billions of dollars over the coming decades.
  • Canada’s health sector is responsible for about 5% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change and increased air pollution.
  • Every dollar spent on adaptation measures saves $13–$15, including both direct and indirect economy-wide benefits.
  • Extreme heat is a growing concern in Canada. The 2021 extreme heat event that occurred in British Columbia resulted in 619 deaths and 90% of those were over the age of 60. Of those who died, 98% died due to a heat-related injury sustained indoors. The heat dome was the deadliest natural hazard in Canadian history.
  • The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reported 36,706 heat-related emergency department visits recorded in Canada between 2004 and 2022.
  • Research from Quebec suggests that the projected costs to society associated with extreme heat related excess morbidity and mortality in Quebec between 2015 and 2065 may total $33 billion, including $370 million in direct costs to the provincial government. At the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) Canada signed onto the WHO Health Programme, committing to build climate-resilient and low carbon sustainable health systems.
  • Health Canada is co-chairing the Climate-Resilient Health Systems Working Group of the Alliance on Transformative Action on Climate and Health (ATACH) led by the WHO.

Associated links

Contacts

Guillaume Bertrand
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Maja Staka
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
343-552-5568

Media Relations
Health Canada
613-957-2983
media@hc-sc.gc.ca

Public inquiries:
613-957-2991
1-866-225-0709

NT5

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