Toronto Public Health – Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation

Toronto Public Health (TPH) contracted RSI to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the health effects of severe weather events in Toronto, with findings to be incorporated into the development of a new Climate Action Plan.

To accomplish this objective, RSI conducted a review of the health effects of severe weather events, highlighting population groups most vulnerable to negative outcomes. Events were dissected into component hazards, promoting an all-hazards approach to building community resilience and enhancing health equity.

The findings of this project suggested that direct morbidity and mortality during severe weather events are increasingly rare; the majority of the associated health burden is mediated through factors related to infrastructure and human behaviour. Additionally, the causal pathways through which the negative effects arise, are similar across weather events. Implications for policy and program intervention to make cities more liveable suggest that interruption of key nodes can disrupt these causal pathways, minimizing health impacts of extreme weather while also helping to prevent an inequitable distribution of consequences.