Map of Simcoe Muskoka

Environment

Adaptive Capacity

Overall, Canadians are in good health with access to quality health and social services, economic resources, and education. This supports our capacity to adapt (otherwise referred to as ‘adaptive capacity’) to climatic changes and environmental stresses that can impact health.

Adaptive capacity is an essential component to climate change adaptation. Our adaptive capacity is influenced by a number of factors including education, resources, infrastructure, and health. Overall adaptive capacity is high in Canada, but it is unevenly distributed within regions and communities.

Community resources and social networks can contribute to the adaptive capacity of communities. Smaller communities tend to have fewer available resources and services, which contributes to a lower capacity to cope with extreme weather and emergencies. Adaptation efforts at the community and individual level can be supported by public health. Public health programs can address the anticipated health burdens of climate change, and support adaptation for individuals and communities. Embedding climate change considerations into health unit programming and planning is an essential component of adaptation both now and into the future.

This section presents current data that help us to understand community perceptions and behaviours related to measures that people can take to manage climate impacts and the potential health risks. This data is primarily informed by the Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS) survey, which provides data on health-related behaviours among Ontario adults aged 18 and over.

  • Extreme weather adaptations
    • Measures to prepare for emergencies
  • Food and water adaptations
    • Food systems activities
    • Source Water Protection
  • Vector borne disease adaptations: Climate change increases the risk of exposure to vector-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease. As vector-borne diseases become more common in our area, it’s important for individuals and families to protect themselves, and minimize their risk of exposure to vector borne diseases.
  • Ultraviolet radiation adaptations: Changes in temperature as a result of climate change will impact the length of the warmer seasons, and summer temperatures, which can increase UVR exposure. Individuals can take protective measures to influence the amount of exposure to UVR.