May 1, 2019 - 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 resulting from climate change will bring new health issues, and existing issues may get worse. Some of the future health impacts of climate change may include an increase in vector-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, an increase in food- and water-borne illnesses, and health impacts associated with an increase in extreme weather events such as flooding.
Climate change impacts in northern Ontario are expected to be felt differently than in southern areas of the province, due to a vast and variable geography across the region. Within each of the northern Ontario health units, each area will need to understand and respond to climate change based on local factors unique to their diverse communities.
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.
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