Protecting your health from climate change impacts

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Adapting to climate change to improve health outcomes

Climate change “adaptation” refers to the changes we make to our decisions, behaviours and activities to decrease the health impacts from hazards caused by a changing climate. Adapting to climate change can greatly lower current and future impacts on:

You can prepare for the hazardous events and conditions that climate change can bring. These events and conditions include:

Canadian health authorities are also adapting to climate change by engaging in activities like:

These actions help:

Making health systems more resilient to climate change impacts means ensuring they:

One of the best ways to protect human health and well-being from current and future impacts of climate change is for individuals and health authorities to increase adaptation action.

What we are doing to reduce the health effects of climate change

In 2016, we committed to:

We developed the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change with provinces and territories, and in consultation with Indigenous Peoples. The framework identifies new actions to build resilience to climate change across Canada.

We released Canada’s strengthened climate plan, a Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, in 2020. It lays out measures to achieve both environmental goals that address climate change and long-term secure jobs.

As part of efforts to reduce health risks to Canadians from climate change:

Assessing the health effects of climate change

To prepare for climate change, health authorities need to know about:

Governments and scientists conduct assessments of climate change and health vulnerability and adaptation to determine this information.

Assessments help to:

We are preparing a new report, Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action. The report includes an assessment of the health impacts of a changing climate and of measures to reduce future risks. It will help health authorities across Canada plan for climate change.

Ensuring that climate change adaptations benefit all people

Climate change adaptation provides an opportunity to enhance health equity, that is, a more even distribution of positive health outcomes among people. However, not all people experience the benefits of climate change adaptations equally due to access, or lack of access, to other factors that support health. These factors include:

Health authorities want to make benefits of climate change adaptation accessible and distributed evenly to everyone. For example, certain groups may benefit more from specific adaptation measures like opening cooling centres or parks and gardens to allow people to escape the heat. Health authorities need to plan and deliver adaptation actions to ensure that they reduce health inequities, not make them worse.

Health authorities also need to consider the unique concerns of Indigenous Peoples when planning and delivering adaptation actions. Protecting Indigenous Peoples from climate change requires:

Co-benefits of reducing greenhouse gas

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change impacts can:

These added or unplanned health co-benefits make the population healthier and better able to withstand future impacts. For example:

Decreasing the burning of fossil fuels:

Other health benefits of reducing greenhouse gas may include:

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