Climate change is harming human health.

As public health experts, we know that kids are at a higher health risk because of climate change.

We also know, the risk isn’t equal across and within communities. 

Many children in Canada live with inequities that makes them more vulnerable to climate-related health impacts. 

  • Children from the lowest income neighborhoods in Canada are hospitalized for asthma 1.5 times more than those from the highest income neighborhoods1.
  • The proportion of children living in low-income families in Canada is higher among racialized and Indigenous children2.

From asthma, to heat-related illness, to anxiety and depression – children are among the most at risk of climate related health impacts. Climate change can worsen inequities, putting marginalized groups at greater risk in Ontario.

Public health professionals are increasingly concerned about risks to children. More data is needed on climate risks and inequities to better communicate risk, raise awareness of the urgent need for climate action and protect those most at risk.

  • Children who are most at risk from heat illnesses include those with breathing difficulties, heart conditions, kidney problems, and mental and physical disabilities3.
  • The most marginalized populations are especially vulnerable to climate-related mental health impacts4. Psychological impacts from any kind of natural disaster exceed physical injury by 40 to one5.

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. 

OPHA is committed to working with and supporting a vibrant and diverse community of leaders and organizations to bring our collective experiences, knowledge, ideas and community assets to tackle this challenge.

  • Community-led solutions such as tree-planting in low-income communities can help reduce exposure to extreme heat and provide gathering space for recreation6.

Every child should have the protection they need from climate change and have equal access to a healthy environment. Learn more about what others are doing and what you can do.

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