Canadian Medical Association

The World Health Organization has identified climate change as the single biggest threat facing humanity. Canada is warming at more than twice the global rate and the Canadian Arctic is warming at almost four times the global rate. 

The Canadian Medical Association recognizes that the impact of climate change on human health is accelerating at an alarming pace. With that in mind, the CMA advocates transitioning to an environmentally sustainable, net-zero and climate-resilient health system in Canada.

Health care systems are a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and must be part of a global net-zero strategy. If health care were a country, it would be the fifth-highest carbon emitting country in the world. Health care is estimated to be responsible for 4.6% of Canada’s total GHG emissions — amounting to the second-highest per-capita GHG emissions from health care in the world.

The CMA recognizes the profound connection between climate and health — including the health system’s contribution to climate change. Our advocacy for a net-zero health system, doing care differently to cut emissions and preparing for the climate shocks of the near-future advances change at a national level. 

The CMA joins with other health care organizations in highlighting the links between climate change and health and calling on federal, provincial and territorial governments to take action to help prepare for and mitigate the impacts of climate change on Canadians. Our profession can help heal the planet and support a healthier population.

CMA policies on climate change


News


Taking a health-centered approach to climate change: 2022 Lancet report

The CMA partnered with The Lancet to produce a report with targeted recommendations to address the implications of climate change on human health in Canada.

Learn more : Taking a health-centered approach to climate change: 2022 Lancet report


CMA activity and submissions

2022

October 6, 2022

CMA 2023 pre-budget submission: Tackling Canada’s urgent health care crisis

In this submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, the CMA proposes recommendations to address a collapsing health care system and lay the foundation for a robust system moving forward. Recommendations include enabling pan-Canadian licensure, health human resources planning and advancing reconciliation.

June 23, 2022

CMA recommendations on Canada’s first national adaptation strategy to address climate change

Recognizing the devastating health impacts of climate change, in this submission to government the CMA outlines how the health sector and all levels of government can contribute to climate change adaption.
2021

October 20, 2021

2021 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Policy Brief for Canada

The CMA co-authored this report which highlights the effects of climate change on health and health systems. The report examines issues including the government’s relationship with the fossil fuel industry, adaptation measures and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

October 4, 2021

CMA supports the São Paulo Declaration on Planetary Health

The CMA signs the São Paulo Declaration on Planetary Health, which has garnered support from more than 250 organizations to create a more equitable and resilient post-pandemic world.

January 21, 2021

Learning from the pandemic – Transforming and improving Quebec’s health care system

This submission for the 2021–2022 Quebec government budget outlines CMA recommendations on physician wellness, access to virtual care, the care of older persons and Indigenous peoples, and the health impacts of climate change.
2020

December 2, 2020

CMA Statement on Lancet Global Countdown on the Impact of Climate Change on Health

The CMA supports the findings published in the Lancet Countdown Policy Brief: Canada which highlights the growing impact of extreme heat and air pollution on health.

September 9, 2020

CMA supports Global Climate and Health Alliance (GCHA)

CMA signs $120,000 grant agreement to support GCHA initiatives to improve climate change adaptation, address health inequities caused by climate change and promote sustainable healthcare.

February 5, 2020

CMA submission: Climate governance in Quebec

In this submission to the Quebec Committee on Transportation and the Environment on Bill 44, the CMA recommends a health representative be part of the minister’s advisory committee, and a portion of the Green Fund be dedicated to greening health systems
2019

August 2, 2019

CMA submission: Acting on Today’s and Tomorrow’s Health Care Needs

The CMA’s pre-budget submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance provides recommendations to improve access to primary care, better prepare for and mitigate the health impacts of a changing climate, and more

March 19, 2019

CMA statement on Budget 2019

The CMA supports the federal government’s efforts to help Canada meet global climate change targets, calls for specific commitments to address the health effects of climate change

February 5, 2019

CMA joint statement to federal political parties on climate change

The CMA joins other health care associations in calling on federal parties to make climate solutions a priority in the 2019 federal election
2018

November 29, 2018

CMA statement on the health effects of climate change

The CMA joins the Canadian Public Health Association in calling for the implementation of recommendations from the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change
2014

June 2, 2014

CMA submission: Bill C-422 An Act respecting a National Lyme Disease Strategy

In this submission, the CMA recognizes the importance of reporting and monitoring infectious diseases in Canada that emerge in relation to global climate change
2010

June 9, 2010

Climate Change and Human Health

The CMA publishes a policy on the health threats of climate change, underscoring the need for more education, health promotion, improved public policy and research to improve our understanding of the impacts and help plan for and mitigate the risks

Tools & Resources


Resources

The 2022 Lancet Countdown on climate change and health: Policy brief for Canada

The CMA partnered with The Lancet to produce a report with targeted recommendations to address the implications of climate change on human health in Canada, including transforming health systems, advancing health equity and communicating evidence-based solutions.

Note: This version is currently not accessible. Please contact The Lancet if you need an accessible version.

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