NDP tables bill to prepare health care system for the climate crisis

QUEEN’S PARK — Ontario NDP Leader Peter Tabuns (Toronto—Danforth) and MPP Bhutila Karpoche (Parkdale—High Park) have re-tabled a bill to require the government to start preparing Ontario’s public health care system for the impacts of the climate crisis.

Under the bill, Ontario would establish a Climate Crisis and Health Secretariat, establish an action plan to address climate change-related health impacts, reshape operations of the provincial government as a whole to cut emissions, and set up a science advisory board to provide expert guidance.

“Climate change is not a future event, it’s happening right now,” said Tabuns. “From the floods in Bracebridge, Windsor, Sarnia and Kenora to northern wildfires, Tornadoes in Barrie and Ottawa, and the storm that ripped through southeastern Ontario in May — we are already seeing the climate crisis hurt our communities and threaten our health. Sadly, the path we are on predicts more wild weather events, and worsening air and water quality.”

Karpoche said the climate crisis could also contribute to a potential rise in new diseases, and mental health distress caused by climate-related anxiety and displacement.

“The climate crisis is already impacting marginalized communities the most. And it’s horrifying to think of the price our children and grandchildren could pay — we need to invest now in preparing the health care system,” said Karpoche.

“New Democrats believe in science, and we know there is still time to avert the worst of the climate crisis if governments act. So not only are we going to advocate for the health care system to prepare for the impacts of climate change, we’re also going to continue to push hard for action to tackle the climate crisis.”

Doug Ford has made deep cuts to climate investments. He axed a program to plant 50 million trees, stripped powers from the province’s Conservation Authorities, cancelled cap and trade and scrapped green energy contracts and incentives, including ripping electric vehicle charging stations out of the ground, and tearing down wind farms.

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