Understanding and Assessing Impacts
This project was intended to establish a link between climate change and health impacts in the New Brunswick context through creating a climate change and health vulnerability and adaptation assessment toolkit. The project was based in two pilot areas: the urban City of Moncton and the rural Region of Chaleur. The two areas were selected based on wanting to test the vulnerability and adaptation tools in the toolkit within an urban and rural setting. In addition, both of these areas had already done work on climate change adaptation.
The first stages of the project focused on establishing associations between health issues and climate change, as well as identifying province-specific climate change concerns. A healthy equity perspective was utilized by assessing for certain health conditions in the population (e.g. hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma). Social determinants of health were also recognized, including visible minority status, elderly age, those living alone, low-income populations, and persons with disabilities. Both of these preliminary population assessments factored into identifying disproportionate risks in the pilot communities.
In the scoping stages of the project, an extensive literature review was conducted and the project team took advantage of several existing frameworks to inform their process. The frameworks utilized included World Health Organization’s Health Impact Assessment, Building Resilience against Climate Effects (BRACE), and Health Canada’s Guide to Climate Change and Health Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessments. Throughout the project, PHNB took a broader approach to data collection, data analysis, public engagement, and the sharing of results. This was mainly due to a lack of health data and a lack of population awareness of the health impacts of climate change, which necessitated establishing baseline information for the province to understand the impacts of climate change on health over the longer term.