Children’s health is being directly and seriously impacted by climate change and inequities put them at greater risk. Addressing these impacts will require the action and support of Ontario’s health sector workers.
Climate change will affect everyone in Canada, but those already experiencing health inequities, will be disproportionately impacted25.
Over 13 % of Canadian children and youth are living with asthma. It is one of the leading causes of childhood hospital admissions in Canada7. Children from the lowest income neighborhoods in Canada are hospitalized for asthma 1.5 times more than those from the highest income neighborhoods9.
Children are among the most vulnerable to heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses13.
Extreme heat was associated with a 22% increase in emergency department visits among children in Southwestern Ontario – based on a study that examined hospital and meteorological data from 2002 to 201915.
Lyme disease cases reported in Ontario increased 2-fold to 1,154 cases in 2019 compared to the 5-year average of 556 reported between 2014 and 201821.
Climate change has contributed to the spread of the tick that transmits Lyme disease23.
The Make It Better project was developed by the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA) in partnership with leading health and environmental organizations working to protect children’s health.
Research has shown that our health, and our children’s health, is being directly and seriously impacted by our changing climate. And many children in Canada live with inequities that makes them more vulnerable to climate-related health impacts. Climatic changes are contributing to the spread of ticks that carry Lyme disease, asthma triggers and the risk of heat-related illness. Untreated, these health impacts can cause hospitalization – or worse.
Climate change can worsen inequities, putting marginalized groups at greater risk in Ontario.
Without action, our health and quality of life is at risk. No child should have to suffer the health impacts of climate change and the inequities that put them at even greater risk. As parents, caregivers, health professionals and community allies, we can work together to make it better for children – especially those in marginalized communities who are at the greatest risk.
Solutions to address climate change and strengthen equity already exist. By working for health and climate equity for our kids and focusing on where the need is the greatest, we can make our communities safer, more climate-resilient and equitable.
We developed this campaign to give parents information and tools to protect their families and their communities. And we need your help.
Together, we can Make It Better.
Help protect children from the health impacts of climate change and the inequities that put them at greater risk.
References available here