Health Canada releases report on effects of climate change on health

Thursday, February 10, 2022
Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate report cover.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes | This news release originally appeared on the Government of Canada's website

The price of climate change is real. This crisis has already taken lives in extreme heat waves, and is increasing risks to Canadians from flooding, and from respiratory illnesses like asthma. Bold, urgent action is not only needed – the science is clear that it will make a real difference. Many of these health impacts can be prevented by scaling up efforts to adapt to climate change in an intersectional manner—both in Canadian society at large and in health systems. Strong adaptation measures can prevent potential health impacts and make health systems and facilities more resilient to climate change. 

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister Health, announced the release of Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action which will help inform policy development focused on protecting Canadians from the effects of climate change.

The report provides a comprehensive assessment of the latest research on how climate-related hazards, including extreme heat events, wildfires, floods, and ice storms are affecting our health and wellbeing. This reports also documents the increasing risks from infectious diseases and from climate impacts on food and water safety and security. Additionally, the report includes new information on Indigenous health impacts, mental health, health equity, and health system resilience, which has not been the focus of past assessment reports.

The report findings will help the Government of Canada and other decision makers be more prepared for the health effects of climate change and take action to reduce risks as well as to empower individuals to protect themselves and their loved ones.

In developing the report, Health Canada engaged experts from academic, government, and non‑governmental organizations across Canada, who assessed and synthesized knowledge from peer‑reviewed literature, government reports, and Indigenous-led studies.

The report is part of Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action, a collaborative national assessment process led by Natural Resources Canada, which forms the foundation for the ambitious action needed as the federal government develops Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy.