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Climate Change

In Our Region

Climate change is an important health issue impacting Canadians. Climate change is caused by an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. They're called greenhouse gases because they trap heat from the sun. As humans emit more of these gases into the air, the trapped sunlight warms our atmosphere.

In Ontario, greenhouse gas emissions come from many sources. Emissions mainly come from burning fossil fuels for cars, factories, and from the energy needed for buildings and homes. Other emissions also come from the agricultural sector, waste disposal, and electrical generation.

Simcoe Muskoka's Future Climate

In Simcoe Muskoka, temperatures have increased since the middle of the 20th century, and are projected to continue increasing. By the 2020s, temperature increase above 1990 levels is expected to make the climate in Southern Ontario feel like Ohio; by the 2050s, our climate will be similar to that of Kentucky; and by the 2080s, our regular climate will be like that of Mississippi today.

Everyone in our communities feels the effects of climate change. But it can be harder on the health of some people more than others. Factors like age, gender, health status, and access to resources all influence how much impact our changing climate will have on our health.

  • More summer heat warnings can cause heat-related illness and hospitalizations.
  • More extreme storms can cause injuries and illnesses, as well as community-wide emergencies.
  • Poor air quality can lead to increases in respiratory and cardiovascular illness.
  • More exposure to UV radiation can cause increases in skin cancers.
  • Changing weather will also affect water and food safety, and the ability to grow food.
  • Warming temperatures will create conditions that will increase the presence and numbers of vectors that carry diseases like West Nile Virus and Lyme disease.

We have created a Climate Change Action Plan. This plan focuses on two areas:

  • to decrease the carbon footprint of the agency; and
  • to help people adapt, through programs like our extreme temperature response strategy. 

We’ve also created a Climate Change and Health Vulnerability Assessment that shows what our local climate is going to look like out to the 2080s, and what some of our health impacts for the region will be. We are also encouraging action on climate change by:

  • advocating for communities that are walkable, include green space, and allow for people to live, work, and play;
  • supporting sustainable local food systems, from production to distribution, and consumption, to disposal of food waste;   
  • educating about and monitoring for vectors that transmit diseases such as West Nile Virus and Lyme disease; and
  • providing health advice when heat and cold warnings are issued.
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