Human Health in a Changing Climate

Health Canada has followed up the climate change impact assessment carried out by Natural Resources Canada with a report of their own: Human Health in a Changing Climate: A Canadian Assessment of Vulnerabilities and Adaptive Capacity. For some bizarre reason, they have decided not to post it on their website. Rather, it is available through email upon request. To simplify matters, here it is:

When I have the chance, I will merge them all into one file and post it.

[Update: 19 August 2008] Here is the whole thing as one 9 megabyte PDF: Human Health in a Changing Climate: A Canadian Assessment of Vulnerabilities and Adaptive Capacity.

[Update: 1 January 2012] Here is just the overview page as an image file.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

21 thoughts on “Human Health in a Changing Climate”

  1. What Report?
    August 2, 2008 · Filed Under Politics

    So the Conservatives quietly released a Health Canada report on the effects of climate change. Human Health in a Changing Climate: A Canadian Assessment of Vulnerabilities and Adaptive Capacity gives an in depth assessment of the potential threats to Canadians. So why isn’t the government giving the release of this report proper presentation? Instead of simply posting the report (or at least the summary) on the Health Canada website, citizens have to contact the department to have a copy delivered to them. Further, while other publications are available free of change, it’s unclear whether this is the same for the climate change report.

  2. Are the health impacts analysed for the whole of Canada, or merely for Quebec and the North? If the latter, then what was the rationale for selecting those cases to investigate?

  3. In the synthesis, it says:

    “Chapter 6, Health Impacts of Climate Change in Quebec, and Chapter 7, Health Impacts of Climate Change in Canada’s North, are assessments of vulnerabilities to health in two regions of the country; both cover the full scope of the issues addressed in this Assessment. These regions were selected because of the availability of data, case studies and research expertise.”

  4. That still seems very vague. Is there reason to believe that these cases are representative of the health impacts elsewhere in Canada? If not, then it seems that the government still lacks the information required to properly assess what they purport to have analysed i.e. the relationship between human health in Canada and climate change.

  5. I expect that the federal government is largely reliant upon the provinces for data, as in so many other matters.

    Under Canadian constitutional law, health is primarily the responsibility of the provinces.

  6. Re: Photo for this post,

    This was a photo taken of us after a cranky lady demanded we “get out of her garden”. The incident was spurred by my eager recruit of the boys into her backyard to see the pond behind it.

    Pwnd by the bitchy neighbourhood hag.

  7. (her “garden” consisted of a couple white boring flowers that we were neither in, nor on).

  8. Canada’s “world class” census and data agency is operating in a leaking, power-failure-prone building that faces “severe” new challenges due to climate change, according to an engineering report obtained by The Vancouver Sun.

    The report says the main Statistics Canada building, a 56-year-old two-storey brick building housing 1,700 workers at the Tunney’s Pasture government complex in Ottawa, is already suffering weather-related failures that will eventually threaten its structural integrity.

    It says there is a “strong probability of a severe effect due to climate change” including failure of outer brick walls due to moisture penetration as rainfall increases in both frequency and severity in a changing climate.

  9. Published by authority of the Minister of Health.
    Human Health in a Changing Climate: A Canadian Assessment of Vulnerabilities and Adaptive Capacity

    Également disponible en français sous le titre :
    Santé et changements climatiques : Évaluation des vulnérabilités et de la capacité d’adaptation
    au Canada

    This publication can be made available on request on diskette, large print, audio-cassette and braille.
    For further information or to obtain additional copies, please contact:

    Health Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9
    Tel.: 613-954-5995
    Fax: 613-941-5366


    © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Health, 2008

    This publication may be reproduced without permission provided the source is fully acknowledged.

    HC Pub.: 4038
    Cat.: H128-1/08-528E
    ISBN: 978-0-662-48365-6

  10. Emily, I’m sorry your unexpected host was “bitchy,” but it is generally considered good form to politely ask permission before trespassing.

    What you saw as a delight to share, a lawyer might see as an “attractive nuisance,” should some trespasser drown themselves. Landowners are constantly aware of the legal risks our litigious society exposes them to.

    In a perfect world, we could all wander wherever we wished, we would all be respectful of each other’s use of land, and we would all take responsibility for the consequences of our actions.

    However, it’s an imperfect world, strewn with abuse of commons, which resulted in these inconveniences called “property” and “boundaries.”

    Your “cranky lady” might have simply been a jerk, or might have had visions of boys drowning in her pond and her ending up in court, or might have been thinking the area would be strewn with litter after your departure. Cut her some slack, and ask permission next time before trespassing.

  11. Climate change threatens human health
    2009 May 15

    A new report in The Lancet (registration required to access the full document), a leading international medical journal, provides more backing for EPA’s proposed finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health as well as public welfare. From the multi-authored report’s executive summary:

    “Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. Effects of climate change on health will affect most populations in the next decades and put the lives and wellbeing of billions of people at increased risk. During this century, earth’s average surface temperature rises are likely to exceed the safe threshold of 2°C above preindustrial average temperature. Rises will be greater at higher latitudes, with medium-risk scenarios predicting 2–3°C rises by 2090 and 4–5°C rises in northern Canada, Greenland, and Siberia. In this report, we have outlined the major threats—both direct and indirect—to global health from climate change through changing patterns of disease, water and food insecurity, vulnerable shelter and human settlements, extreme climatic events, and population growth and migration. Although vector-borne diseases will expand their reach and death tolls, especially among elderly people, will increase because of heatwaves, the indirect eff ects of climate change on water, food security, and extreme climatic events are likely to have the biggest eff ect on global health.”

  12. 1 December 09
    Canadian Health Professionals Call for Climate Action

    The Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Nurses Association and the Canadian Federation of Medical Students have joined together to call on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to put the health of the world’s citizens first at the upcoming UN climate summit in Copenhagen. All three organizations called on the federal government to to commit to science-based reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to help protect the world’s people from the disastrous human consequences of climate change.

  13. The impacts of these new approaches to access to information were frequently raised by my interviewees. For instance, Brandon, involved in environmental activism for over a decade (and most recently dedicated to a campus divestment campaign), recalls a time when he had to specifically request a copy of a federal report on the health consequences of climate change:

    “Health Canada had a big report, Human Health in a Changing Climate, which I think cost several million dollars to make. The original plan was to have coast-to-coast press conferences about it. But as it happened, it was released Friday before a long weekend in the middle of the summer, and they didn’t even make it available online. You had to specially request it and they would send you a CD. (Interview: Brandon, June 15, 2015)”

    Thus, the (generally) disciplined and controlled messaging of the government of Prime Minister Harper extended to environmental matters, demonstrated through increased levels of secrecy and bureaucratic gate-keeping. (p. 93)

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