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⚕️💵 Government of Canada Invests in Projects to Help People in Canada Address and Adapt to the Impacts of Climate Change to Their Health

Friday, 22 December 2023 12:00.PM

The impact of climate change is widespread – it affects our environment, our communities, and our health. It also means an increase in climate-sensitive infectious diseases.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified climate change as one of the biggest threats to global health. Over the past ten years, we have seen the emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases around the world. Scientific research in Canada and globally indicates that climate change is contributing to the increased geographic spread, range and prevalence of certain zoonotic (diseases that can be transmitted between animals and insects or bugs to humans), food-borne and water-borne infectious diseases. All these types of diseases could cause negative health outcomes, with vulnerable populations at greater risk.

That is why today, the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health, announced six new projects totalling $2.7 million over three years, to help address and adapt to the impacts of climate change to health. These projects will increase monitoring efforts and improve overall awareness and understanding of climate-sensitive infectious diseases in Canada.

The Government of Canada is working with partners and stakeholders, such as the provinces and territories, health professionals, communities, as well as First Nation, Inuit, and Métis groups to adapt to our changing climate. The Public Health Agency of Canada's (PHAC) Infectious Diseases and Climate Change Fund, which is part of the Infectious Disease and Climate Change Program, supports work across the country with an aim to increase access to science, expertise, education and awareness. Until 2028, this Fund will invest up to $2 million each year to help people in Canada better adapt and become more resilient to our changing climate.

These new projects with the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing, Toronto Metropolitan University, Université de Montréal, Université de Sherbrooke, University of Guelph and the University of Ottawa will:

• Build baseline data, enhance monitoring, and increase our understanding of new or emerging tick-borne and mosquito-borne diseases;
• Increase health professional capacity through the development of public health tools, training and better resources;
• Improve our understanding of where various infectious diseases are coming from, the impact from climate change and how it will affect the health of Canadians so that we can better predict and prevent illness; and
• Begin to address gaps to better protect at-risk populations, equip and empower the next generation of public health professionals, leverage citizen science approaches and advance One Health to build community resilience to climate change.

Climate change is a multi-faceted threat that will require coordination and collaboration across all sectors to address. Our government will continue to make important investments like these to ensure that the federal government plays its part in combatting climate change while also building our capacity to confront and mitigate its effects.

"Every year, Canadians are reminded of the impacts climate change has on our health. This summer, major cities were blanketed in hazardous smog from the worst forest fire season in Canadian history. Unfortunately, climate change is also having an impact on infectious diseases. Just like we have begun to adapt to more damaging forest fire seasons, we also need to prepare for emerging threats from infectious diseases. Through projects like those announced today, all levels of government, universities, health professional organizations and communities can work together to better predict and monitor the risks of these infectious diseases and empower people in Canada to adapt and make informed decisions, improving health outcomes for everyone."
- The Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health

Quick Facts

• Since launching in 2017, and including these new projects, the Infectious Disease and Climate Change Fund has invested in 41 projects, totaling $14.7 million.
• Through this Fund, the Public Health Agency of Canada also provided $2.75 million to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for the Canadian Lyme Disease Research Network.
• Canada's climate is warming two times faster than the global average, and three times faster in the North. Climate change is already having serious impacts on the health and well-being of people living in Canada, compounding existing public health challenges and widening health inequities.
• Climate change is anticipated to result in generally warmer temperatures, shorter and milder winters, longer and hotter summers, and more frequent and more intense severe weather events such as hurricanes, thunderstorms, wildfires, floods and droughts.
• The Infectious Disease and Climate Change Program supports the Government of Canada to deliver on its commitments to address the health impacts (infectious disease risks) of our changing climate articulated in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change and the Government of Canada's Adaptation Action Plan as part of the National Adaptation Strategy.

SOURCE: Public Health Agency of Canada

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