Media Release - Preparing for the impact of climate change in Waterloo Region, City of Guelph, Dufferin County and Wellington County

For Immediate Release

July 22, 2019: Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health and the Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services will collaborate to assess the health vulnerabilities of our communities in the face of climate change. The health units will focus on addressing rising temperatures, extreme weather, vector-borne disease like Lyme disease and West Nile virus, food and water borne illness and air pollution. Key goals of this assessment are to:

  • Reduce health risks and strengthen resiliency to current climate variability and future climate change
  • Increase public and stakeholder awareness of the health impacts of climate change
  • Provide recommendations, based on local evidence, on priority adaptive measures to decision makers and stakeholders to strengthen overall resilience of local health systems to respond to the impacts of climate change

This assessment will provide an in-depth review of local climate projections, current and projected health risks and impacts related to climate change. 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.

The project will run over three years and involve multiple community partners across all levels of government, academia, conservation authorities, school boards, and community groups, including those that serve vulnerable populations.

To reduce duplication of effort, the two organizations jointly applied for and received funding from Health Canada. They were awarded $300,000. The health units will work with ICLEI Canada, a national non-profit organization whose mission is 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 Dr. Chris Buse, CIHR Research Fellow, University of British Columbia, to lead the climate change and health assessment for the two health units. Their expertise will provide technical consulting, project management, and stakeholder engagement to build capacity, share knowledge, and support the implementation of climate change adaptation in the local community. 

For more information contact:
Chuck Ferguson
Manager, Communications
1-800-265-7293 ext. 4374

Julie Kalbfleisch
Manager, Information & Communications
Region of Waterloo Public Health & Emergency Services
519-575-4400 ext. 2270