Dr. Courtney Howard, MD

2. Shore Up Our Nest


Our home is our nest: a healthy environment is our safe and strong  foundation for a healthy  future

The World Health Organization says that climate change is the greatest global health threat of the 21st century. Meanwhile, tackling climate change is our greatest health opportunity, because many measures that decrease greenhouse gas emissions also make us healthier right now through improvements in air pollution, activity levels, diet, access to green spaces, and more.

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1. Framework

Canada must establish a decarbonization framework, similar to the Climate Change Act which helped the United Kingdom reduce greenhouse gas emissions 43% between 1990 and 2018. This Act would require policy-makers to set five year carbon budgets and impact reports and establish an expert climate advisory committee to monitor, report, and advise Parliament on emissions reduction targets, and audit progress, on a 5-yearly basis.


Given the degree of quick-moving innovation at the city level on the climate change front, create a Ministry of Municipalities to facilitate coordination between the federal and the municipal levels of government.                  

3. Prepare

Prepare for the change that is coming (adaptation sprint)

  • Fund health-focused adaptation plans for every community that commit to expanding urban green space: goal 100% completion by 2025.
  • Fund community-centered agriculture plans: goal 100% completion by 2025.

4. Prevent

Prevent the change we won’t be able to withstand (mitigation sprint)

  • By end 2020: Submit greenhouse gas reduction goals for 2030 to the Paris Climate Agreement that are sufficient to protect the health of a child born today, and that prioritize greenhouse gas reduction measures with immediate co-benefits to health in terms of decreased air pollution, increased activity levels, and a fairer society.
  • Establish zero-emissions building requirements for new and existing homes in the National building code and work with provinces and territories to adopt these.
  • Incentivize energy efficiency, electrification, low-carbon building materials and green roofs.
  • Prioritize the construction of East-West electrical grid connection to get us to 100% clean electricity ASAP.
  • Implement a national zero-emission vehicle sales mandate that ratchets up gradually to 100% of light duty sales in 2040.