Chief Public Health Officer of Canada (CPHO) Dr. Theresa Tam has listed climate change among other social issues such as white supremacy, capitalism, colonialism and racism as “systemic drivers of negative health.”
In its latest report titled, “What We Heard: Perspectives on Climate Change and Public Health Canada,” the government suggests that these issues must be addressed in order to improve public health.
The report is based on 21 one-on-one interviews with key public health “experts” across Canada with the aim of understanding the health impacts of climate change on Canadians.
“We heard that there is a central role for public health systems in climate change adaptation,” writes the report. “We also heard that there is an urgent need to strengthen public health systems’ strategies to actively engage in decolonizing action, and embrace other systems of knowledge regarding human well-being and planetary health.”
The fears from interviewed “experts” include ignoring voices that need to be heard to address the climate crisis and polarization rather than a united effort to mitigate and adapt to the health impacts of climate change.
The “experts” claimed to have solutions to these fears, including “embracing an intersectoral approach to the climate challenge,” and “greater public health leadership centring on decolonization, justice, and equity.”
The “experts” listed several “thematic recommendations” including, “decolonizing public health and embracing diverse expertise in public health.”
In a report released earlier this year from Lakehead University, 80% of Canadians aged 16-25 said climate change impacts their overall mental health.
Four-in-ten respondents said their daily life is negatively impacted by feelings about climate change, and that climate change makes them hesitant about having children.
The top leading causes of death in Canada are cancer, heart disease and strokes.
Nearly 86% of people surveyed in Canada said they were concerned about the state of the healthcare system in Canada according to a Leger poll published earlier this year. The number jumped to 94% for those in the Atlantic provinces.
A SecondStreet.org study from January has found that nearly 3.2 million people are on waitlists across the provincial and territorial healthcare systems.