The Infectious Disease and Climate Change Fund

Backgrounder

March 2019

The Government of Canada has been working closely with its partners in supporting and implementing the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Part of that commitment is building and increasing access to infectious diseases science, expertise, education and awareness.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is working in collaboration with partners and stakeholders, such as provinces and territories, health professionals, and communities, to build and increase access to infectious disease science-based evidence, education and awareness through the Infectious Diseases and Climate Change Program (IDCC Program).

Established in 2016, the IDCC Program focuses on preparing for and protecting Canadians from climate-driven infectious diseases that are zoonotic (diseases that can be transmitted from animals and insects to humans), food-borne or water-borne. The Program supports surveillance and monitoring of infectious diseases, risk assessments, modelling, laboratory diagnostics, as well as health professional education and public awareness activities. Efforts will also continue to advance the science and understanding of health risks and best practices to adapt to the impacts of climate change on human health.

The IDCC program aims to:

  1. Increase PHAC's capacity to respond to the increasing demands posed by climate-driven zoonotic, food-borne and water-borne infectious diseases;
  2. Provide Canadians access to timely and accurate information to better understand their risks and take measures to prevent infection; and
  3. Improve adaptability or resiliency to the health impacts of climate-driven infectious diseases through surveillance and monitoring, increased laboratory diagnostic capabilities, and access to education and awareness tools.

As part of the Program, the Infectious Disease and Climate Change Fund (grants and contributions) was launched in 2017 and provides up to $2 million annually, for 11 years, focussing on the following priority areas:

  • Monitoring and Surveillance
    • Build baseline data and better predict and respond to climate-driven infectious diseases by monitoring and analyzing the movement of infectious diseases (viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and prion diseases).
  • Education and Awareness
    • Promote the development, uptake and distribution of education and awareness materials for use by health professionals.
    • Facilitate education, awareness and the dissemination of tools and best practices across Canadian communities.

PHAC is investing a total of $1.7 million in 8 new projects to advance infectious diseases science, surveillance, education and awareness. These projects are in addition to the five Lyme disease projects announced in October 2018.
Projects announced today include:

  • $78,498 to Memorial University of Newfoundland for a study of mosquito population diversity and distribution, viral pathogens and the potential impact of climate change on human health risks in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and the French overseas territory of St. Pierre and Miquelon.
  • $62,352 to Lakehead University for extreme weather event-related infectious disease prevention and control: promoting competency through education interventions delivered to diverse and multi-sectoral learners.
  • $81,814 to the University of Saskatchewan for the impact of lethal rat (Rattus spp.) control techniques on the ecology of climate-driven vector-borne zoonotic pathogens and associated human health risks in urban centres.
  • $101,915 to Mount Allison University to monitor the incidence of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals, and identifying high-risk regions in the Maritimes and high-risk species.
  • $200,000 to the University of Saskatchewan for the 5th International One Health Congress that will bring together 1,000 key scientific policy makers and practitioners from universities, governments and industry who are working towards integrated approaches and effective responses to complex global health challenges.
  • $293,402 to the University of Sherbrooke for a project on the epidemiology of the environmental fungal infection with Blastomyces dermatitidis in Quebec.
  • $347,880 to the Conseil de la Nation Huronne-Wendat for surveillance activities and raising awareness among the Huron-Wendat Nation regarding Lyme disease risk and prevention.
  • $525,274 to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada to review current evidence regarding the effect of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases on pregnancy and pregnancy outcome; determine healthcare providers' current knowledge and practices related to prevention and treatment; and create and disseminate resources, including clinical practice guidelines, for women and their healthcare providers with the aim of minimizing risk and preventing exposure.

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