Leveraging the Power of Health Voices


Photo © Courtesy of Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

COVID-19 gave us all a big wake-up call: we need to pay close attention to the interface between humanity and the rest of the natural world. Using this planetary health lens to communicate about environmental issues with people across the political spectrum, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) advocates for legislative change to protect the health of people and the planet.

Leveraging the power of health professionals’ voices, CAPE encourages its members to reach out to politicians and take initiatives in their local communities!

CAPE’s work in 2021 engages physicians, medical students, and other CAPE members to advocate on two critical issues: climate change and toxic exposures.

The World Health Organization identified climate change as the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. To ensure Canada takes action on climate change that aligns with our global responsibility as a wealthy, high-emitting country, CAPE advocates for strong federal climate accountability legislation and strengthened emissions targets. Research released in CAPE’s Healthy Recovery Plan found that meeting our climate targets would save more than 112,000 lives in Canada between 2030 and 2050 from air pollution improvements alone; this is one of many co-benefits of taking decisive action to address climate change today.

In addition, CAPE is advocating for the protection of all people in Canada from toxic exposures. The government must rapidly move forward with reform of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). Sources of pollution and our scientific and ethical understandings of risks have changed dramatically since CEPA was last updated in 1999, but we still rely on this outdated framework.

Photo © Courtesy of Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Photo © Courtesy of Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Photo © Courtesy of Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

Exposure to toxics is a public health and environmental justice problem; CEPA must be reformed now to protect the health of people in Canada. This shift is particularly necessary for people who are made vulnerable in our society, including Indigenous peoples, women, children, workers, and racialized communities.

CAPE is engaged in campaigns on fracking, active transportation, phasing out coal, air pollution, and the nature-health connection. CAPE’s regional committees are active in Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.

In the context of the climate emergency, a global plastic pollution problem, and a respiratory illness pandemic, CAPE supports physicians and other health advocates with first-hand knowledge of the human health impacts of environmental degradation to advocate for change.

As a CAPE member, you provide us with the support we need to leverage the power of the health voice, and we provide you with the tools you need for effective advocacy. Become a member today at cape.ca—because there’s never been a more critical time to take action.

Join us today at cape.ca

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CAPE takes action to enable health for all by engaging with governments, running campaigns, conducting research, and drawing media attention to key issues.


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