The health impacts of climate change on all are already numerous and wide-ranging:

  • extreme heat events cause illness and death;
  • forest fires degrade air quality; 
  • rising temperatures correlate to an increase of zoonotic diseases, such as Lyme; 
  • hurricanes and ice storms damage infrastructure that protects human health by causing flooding, erosion, and storm surges.

All of the above adversely affects physical and mental health and creates unsafe conditions for those most vulnerable. Current access to health and social systems across Canada is inequitable, says the Canadian Climate Institute, despite the fact that climate change impacts on health, along with their costs, will only intensify with time. There is a growing body of work on health and climate change, including some conducted in Atlantic Canada:

Sea Level Rise and Health Project (2022-23)

In a partnership between CLIMAtlantic and the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health, this four-part series identified:

  • the geographic areas along Canada’s coastline most exposed to impacts from sea level rise (SLR) (Report 1), 
  • the potential health impacts resulting from exposure to sea level rise (Report 2), 
  • the limited community-based adaptation approaches of coastal communities to addressing SLR and health (Report 3),
  • And how health can be better considered in community based SLR adaptation planning (Report 4).

HealthADAPT (Health Canada) (2019-2022)

Public Health New Brunswick conducted several climate change, health vulnerability and adaptation assessments in one urban and one rural community as part of the HealthAdapt program. One of many tools to come from Public Health New Brunswick’s project is the Adaptive Communities reduce impacts on health infographic.

Health Module, (2023)

This health module outlines the risks climate change poses to health, notably extreme heat and increased prevalence of Lyme disease, and provides relevant case studies and data indices to explore and analyze, as a way to encourage public understanding and informed decision making. 

Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action, Health Canada (February 2022)

This report seeks to help health authorities, researchers and individuals better understand the links between climate change and health by examining topics such as Indigenous Peoples’ health, mental health and well-being, and health equity.

A collection of black and white images related to health and climate change. Together, the images form the shape of a pair of lungs.

Cover page of The Health Costs of Climate Change: How Canada Can Adapt, Prepare, and Save Lives, The Canadian Climate Institute (2021).