Canada's Infectious Disease and Climate Change Fund
Updated: May 24, 2020
Canada’s Infectious Disease and Climate Change Fund is an initiative from the Public Health Agency of Canada, designed to alleviate the impacts of climate change on human health (1). The Public Health Agency of Canada works in collaboration with a variety of organizations to aid in the prevention of disease and injuries, while simultaneously encouraging beneficial physical and mental health practices (2). Other programs from the Public Health Agency of Canada focus on health risk preparedness, notably surrounding infectious diseases (3).
The Infectious Disease and Climate Change Fund was launched in 2017 in response to the risk of climate change contributing to significant health threats, specifically infectious diseases (4). According to the World Health Organization, “climate change is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century” (5). The Infectious Disease and Climate Change Fund focuses on zoonotic, vector-borne, food-borne, and water-borne diseases, as well as the influence that climate change has on their frequency of occurrence (4).
Some of the primary points of focus for approved projects covered by the Infectious Disease and Climate Change Fund focus on improvement of Canadian’s ability to learn about and understand the health risks that climate change causes, while also sharing research findings with health professionals (1). One such project is funding of $112,152 from July 2018 through March 2020 to Lakehead University to share the findings from research of the prevention and control of extreme weather events that can contribute to infectious diseases (1). Currently, the Government of Canada is not accepting proposals for projects to receive funding from the Infectious Disease and Climate Change Fund (1).
The projects financed by the Infectious Disease and Climate Change Fund provide essential research that allows for Canada to better prepare for handling these diseases that infect us. Looking at the Government of Canada’s response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the focus is slowing the spread of the virus, allowing for time for research and development, with $275 million currently invested into Canadian COVID-19 research (6). The majority of financial support from the Federal Government allocated to the provinces and territories are for research initiatives (6).
Overall, the Government of Canada has implemented programs and funds focused on research of infectious diseases and how climate change interacts with the process. In the midst of a pandemic, this preparedness is critical to have the capacity to fund research and innovation.