QUEEN’S PARK — Peter Tabuns, Ontario NDP Climate Crisis critic, and Bhutila Karpoche, Ontario NDP critic for Mental Health and Addictions, will table a bill today requiring the government to ensure Ontario is prepared to address ongoing and future health impacts of the climate crisis.
If passed, the Climate Crisis Health Action Plan Act would require the government to ensure Ontario’s health care and public health systems are equipped to handle climate crisis related health impacts. These range from threats due to flooding, wildfires, and other extreme weather events, to the increase of new diseases, to mental distress caused by climate-related displacement. The bill would also establish both a Climate Crisis and Health Secretariat to develop and implement an action plan, and a science advisory board to provide expert guidance.
“Families are already experiencing devastating property damage and losses as the climate crisis causes more flooding, tornadoes and wildfires in Ontario,” said Tabuns. “And this is just the tip of the iceberg.”
“Marginalized communities will suffer the most, as the climate crisis creates more instability in housing, food, employment and quality of life,” added Karpoche.
Instead of taking critical steps to address the climate crisis, Doug Ford has axed a program to plant 50 million trees, scrapped cap and trade, and fought to tear up green energy contracts, so he can tear down windmills. The Ford government has similarly made cuts to health care, public health and mental health.
“We have seen the horrifying costs of failing to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Karpoche. “We can’t afford to make the same mistake by refusing to recognize how the climate crisis will harm our health.”
“Although COVID-19 has not been linked to the climate crisis, experts say pandemics like it will be increasingly common as temperatures continue rising,” noted Tabuns. “The government must act now to ensure Ontario is ready to respond to the climate crisis. If they don’t, we will have more devastating public health crises on our hands in the years to come.”