The National Adaptation Strategy will help the health sector to anticipate and respond to the health risks of climate change.
May 26, 2023 | Quebec, QC | Health Canada
Climate change affects us all. Rising temperatures and an increase in extreme weather events, such as heat waves, floods and wildfires, already pose a serious threat to our health and well-being. These events are becoming more frequent and more severe. They are increasing costs and stress on our healthcare system and 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’s Adaptation Action Plan, the Honorable 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 comments and will soon be finalized. The final strategy will help the government 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 healthcare system.
These investments will help protect people 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, low-carbon health systems that can respond to health risks posed by climate change, 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 leading cause of heat-related problems. Injuries and death in Canada. These initiatives address the effects of climate change on health and advance actions to protect the population from extreme heat, a growing and urgent health risk.
“Climate change is the single greatest health threat facing people in Canada and around the world. Our health care system has an important role to play in preventing the health impacts of climate change, but we cannot face it alone. That’s why we’re working together with partners across the country to protect people from extreme heat and build weather-resilient health care systems.”
The Honorable Jean-Yves Duclos
“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 effects of climate change in the health and mental health, and help build more resilient communities for generations to come.
The Honorable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Deputy Minister of Health
“We cannot discuss climate change policy without discussing the very real impacts that climate change is already having on the health, safety and economy of Canadians from coast to coast. While we must continue to fight climate change, we must also We must be better prepared.” for the effects we are already seeing. Adaptation is about reducing the impacts of climate change 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 healthcare sector by renewing and expanding initiatives, including HealthADAPT, to protect the health of people in Canada during periods of extreme heat.”
The Honorable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified climate change as the greatest global threat to public health of the 21st century.
- As part of her mandate, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, is required to publish a report each year on the state of public health in Canada. Last year’s report: Mobilizing Public Health Action on Climate Change, looks at the impacts of climate change and health.
- He Chapter Adaptation and Resilience of the Health System of the national assessment of climate change and health, Health of Canadians in a changing climatefound that very few health authorities in Canada have made progress in efforts to identify and address climate-related health risks.
- If no action is taken, the health impacts of climate change could cost Canada’s health care system billions of dollars and reduce economic activity by tens of billions of dollars in the coming decades.
- Canada’s healthcare sector is responsible for approximately 5% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change and increased air pollution.
- Every dollar spent on adaptation measures saves between $13 and $15, including direct and indirect benefits for the entire economy.
- 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 them 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.
- Québec investigation suggests that the projected costs to society associated with excess morbidity and mortality related to extreme heat 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 the WHO Health Agenda, pledging to build climate-resilient, low-carbon, sustainable health systems.
- Health Canada co-chairs the WHO-led Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate and Health (ATACH) Climate Resilient Health Systems Working Group.