Northern Public Health Units Work Together On Climate Change Reports

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The 7 public health units in northern Ontario will be working together on climate change and health vulnerability and adaptation reports over the next 2 years with funding support from Health Canada. Climate change is a threat to human health around the world. The changing environment will bring new health issues, and existing issues may get worse. The reports developed during this project will help public health units understand what changes to expect and begin to prepare.

Some climate change impacts in northern Ontario are expected to be more severe than in southern Ontario. Also, differences in our geography, population density, and Indigenous populations mean the health effects of climate change will be felt differently than in southern Ontario.

Dr. Jennifer Loo, Associate Medical Officer of Health at Algoma Public Health says “even within the north, each area needs to understand and respond to climate change based on local factors such as differences in exposure and population vulnerability, and the diversity of the communities in the region.”

The partners in the project include Algoma Public Health, North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, Northwestern Health Unit, Porcupine Health Unit, Public Health Sudbury & Districts, Thunder Bay District Health Unit, and Timiskaming Health Unit. The project is administered at Northwestern Health Unit on behalf of the group.

Dr. Kit Young-Hoon, Medical Officer of Health at Northwestern Health Unit says “a project staff person will work with the health units to create common tools and information so they can each engage stakeholders at the local level.” The purpose of these local meetings will be to educate partners about the effect of climate change on health, and explore possible future policies and programs that might help people adapt to the changes that are happening. Separate reports will be produced for each health unit region.

For more information about the project, contact your local public health unit.