Health units receive $300,000 grant for three-year climate change study

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Two area health units have received a $300,000 grant for a three-year study on the local impacts of climate change.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) and the Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services will focus on extreme weather, rising temperatures, food and water borne illnesses, air pollution, and vector-borne diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile virus.

“This assessment will provide an in-depth review of local climate projections, current and projected health risks and impacts related to climate change,” states a WDGPH press release.

“This will inform adaptation planning to strengthen local resiliency to climate change. The health units’ epidemiology, data collection, analysis and subject matter expertise will support future planning to strengthen community resilience to the health impacts of climate change.”

Officials say the study aims to increase public and stakeholder awareness of the health impacts of climate change and will recommend measures to strengthen resiliency to it.

The project will involve “multiple community partners across all levels of government, academia, conservation authorities, school boards, and community groups, including those that serve vulnerable populations,” states the press release.

The two health units, which jointly applied for, and received, funding from Health Canada, will work with ICLEI Canada, a national non-profit organization that aims to “build and serve a worldwide movement of local and regional governments that are committed to achieving tangible improvements in local sustainability and resilience.”

ICLEI Canada will collaborate with the University of British Columbia’s Dr. Chris Buse, CIHR Research Fellow, to lead the study.