Helping build resilience in Canada’s health sector for climate change through the HealthADAPT program

Press Release

From: Health Canada

The program provides information and solutions to support the health sector as it adapts to the impacts of climate change

November 16, 2022 | Ottawa, ON | Health Canada

As outlined in the annual report of Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, Mobilizing Public Health Action on Climate Change in Canada, climate change is the largest health threat facing people in Canada and around the world. It is also placing increasing demands on our health care system. Through its Climate Change and Health Adaptation Capacity Building Program (HealthADAPT), the Government of Canada has taken action to support the health sector to prepare for, and respond to, the impacts of climate change.

In 2019, through HealthADAPT, Health Canada selected 10 Canadian health authorities across five provinces and territories to receive federal funding to develop projects that address climate-driven health risks. Close to $3.5 million in federal funding was provided over three years to support climate change and health efforts. The projects are now wrapping up, and providing insight to how Canada’s health care system can better adapt to the changing climate.

Today, almost three years since its launch, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, congratulates the HealthADAPT partners on their work to help their communities adapt to the impacts of climate change. Thanks to their dedication and efforts, the projects can serve as a foundation of adaptation for other health authorities across Canada.

Most of the HealthADAPT projects included an assessment to better understand how communities may be vulnerable to the impacts of climate change from a health perspective. Their results will help inform adaptation planning, ensuring greater resilience to, and better preparation for, future climate change events and impacts. Many of these health impacts can be prevented if Canada rapidly and substantially scales up efforts now to adapt to growing threats to health from climate change.

Moving forward, a new network of health authorities from across the country, the HealthADAPT community of practice, will continue to collaborate and share best practices, and receive technical support from climate change and health experts at Health Canada.

Quotes

“Climate change is the single biggest threat to human health and without urgent action, it will continue to result in injury, illness, and death. A strengthened public health system is a key partner on climate action, including by helping communities understand and adapt to the inevitable effects of a changing climate. These HealthADAPT projects will help us achieve just that.”

Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“The experiences and tools shared through the HealthADAPT community allow us to compare, be inspired, and better direct our actions. These discussions give us a more global vision of climate adaptation and demonstrate the need for more collaboration.”

David Demers-Bouffard, conseiller scientifique
Institut national de santé publique du Québec

Quick facts

  • The specific projects represent diversity across the country, including Indigenous peoples, urban, rural and coastal communities, and both official languages.
  • The 10 recipients were:
    • Department of Health and Social Services, Government of the Northwest Territories;
    • Vancouver Coastal Health Authority;
    • First Nations Health Authority;
    • Northwestern Health Unit;
    • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health and Region of Waterloo Public Health;
    • York Region Public Health;
    • Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de Chaudière-Appalaches;
    • Institut national de santé publique du Québec;
    • Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de l’Outaouais; and
    • New Brunswick Department of Health.
  • Each health authority received between $217,000 and $800,000 to address climate-driven health risks.
  • 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 World Health Organization.
  • More than 75% of associated damages, costs or disruptions from climate risks to human health and wellbeing could be avoided over a 20-year period with adaptation efforts in Canada.

Associated links

Contacts

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

Media Relations
Health Canada
613-957-2983
[email protected]

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