Building on the Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA) commitment to a healthier planet, the Board of Directors has voted to expand the 2015 member resolution on divestment, by committing the CMA and its subsidiaries (Joule, CMA Foundation, CMA Investco Inc.) to divesting their investments in energy companies whose primary business relies on fossil fuels.
“The Canadian Medical Association will divest its reserves of investments in energy companies whose primary business relies upon fossil fuels.” – Member resolution, 2015 CMA General Council
This decision mirrors the growing concerns of physicians and medical learners about the health impacts of climate change.
When the CMA surveyed members in October 2020, more than 75% of respondents agreed that climate change will have a more frequent or severe effect on health issues such as physical and mental harm from forest fires, storms and floods; illness due to reduced outdoor air quality; and anxiety and other psychological conditions. This is consistent with the concerns expressed in the Canadian policy brief for the 2020 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, which states that Canada is warming at double the global average rate, and even more rapidly in its northern regions.
In recent years, the CMA has been advocating on the health impacts of climate change, making it one of its key issues during the 2019 federal election, and endorsing the Canadian findings of The Lancet climate report for the fourth consecutive year.
Over the next year, the CMA will continue to explore ways it can work to combat climate change as part of its new strategy, Impact 2040. While there is little doubt climate change will present pressing challenges in the coming years, the CMA is committed to taking action to mitigate its health impacts.