The Canadian Medical Association says there is an urgent need to take action against climate change which is impacting human health at an accelerating and alarming pace.

In a statement released Aug. 10, the CMA stated that the extreme heat experienced this summer in Western Canada, wildfire-related evacuations and increased respiratory distress across the country, demonstrate that “the climate crisis is no longer a vague future threat; it is here now, and its impacts are inequitably distributed.” 

The CMA adds that while it has supported Canada's previously stated commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it now believes more must be done.

The association says it is committed to being a full participant in the development and implementation of a plan to prevent further climate change and address the health consequences that are already affecting Canadians. The association says such a plan must include the following:

  • A response to the current and future challenges posed to health and health systems by climate change; 
  • Further commitments to decrease greenhouse gas emissions to prevent additional impacts; 
  • A detailed pathway to a net-zero economy; 
  • Measures to prioritize and protect structurally marginalized and vulnerable populations in rural and remote communities. 

“Tackling the climate crisis is perhaps our biggest opportunity to improve the health outcomes of Canadians today and in the future. We must put health considerations at the heart of our climate change responses,” says the statement signed by Dr. Ann Collins, CMA President.