Climate change is already disrupting and destroying the ecosystems upon which we all rely for food, housing, and clothing. Climate change is a threat not only to our health, but to humanity’s very existence on this planet.

All around the world, communities are calling on their governments to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis better, stronger, and more resilient. This pandemic has laid bare the fragility and vulnerabilities of our economy and our society. We have experienced the human health risks of living on a planet in which the natural systems are out of balance. We have experienced that the actions of individuals can have a dramatic effect on the health of a population.

While COVID-19 has been a significant public health crisis worldwide, the prestigious medical publication, the Lancet indicates that climate change is the biggest threat to public health of the 21st century. The health of hundreds of millions of people around the world are already impacted by climate change. It’s already disrupting and destroying the ecosystems upon which we all rely for food, housing, and clothing. Climate change is a threat not only to our health, but to humanity’s very existence on this planet.

“Climate Change is the biggest threat to public health of the 21st Century”

While climate change risk may, at first glance, appear to represent a risk that is either far off in the future, or that will occur only in faraway countries, let’s not forget how remote the risk of COVID-19 to Canadians appeared just last year, and how much its presence has altered our daily lives. Already, the effects of climate change are being felt in Canada. They are putting our health and safety at risk: we are witnessing flooding, sea-level rise, more frequent and intense storms, longer heatwaves, forest fires, and more disease-carrying insects.

Response to the pandemic around the world offers insight into the role of government leadership, acceptance of science-based policy, and individuals’ responses to a shared crisis. This experience has led to three key lessons that can be applied to addressing the climate crisis.

Lesson 1: People can change their behaviour in the interest of protecting themselves and others

In early 2020, we experienced a remarkable shift in the actions of the global population. Our priorities shifted away from short-term bottom lines to more long-term thinking. As a society, we are looking out for one another. We are keeping our physical distance from one another and wearing masks, not just to protect ourselves, but to protect those around us.

We have proven that people worldwide can work together to support a cause that is greater than ourselves. We can make small sacrifices in the face of crisis to support a healthier future. Travelling less, working remotely, and supporting local businesses are becoming our new normal and can result in significant greenhouse gas reduction.

Lesson 2: Prevention and timely mitigation are crucial to crisis management

Government response to the pandemic varies from region to region, across the world and within countries. But one common thread emerges: when faced with a significant health threat, full scientific understanding of all aspects of the COVID-19 virus did not prevent governments from acting in a precautionary manner, providing recommendations and implementing restrictions to protect public health.

Although the effects of climate change, and actions taken to mitigate it occur on longer timescales than pandemics, it has long been touted that early action to combat the climate crisis is critical. Delaying action by a decade significantly increases the cost of response. The longer we take to implement concrete policies, the closer we come to being overwhelmed with devastating, irreversible changes to our environment and jeopardizing our health and well-being.

Lesson 3: Addressing a global crisis requires long-term commitments

We have been fighting COVID-19 for over a year now, and early evidence suggests the virus may be with us for the long haul. The restrictions in place to protect public health may be causing fatigue, but we must endure. Individuals and governments must keep our collective well-being at the forefront of our decisions and actions.

As we shift to a low-carbon economy and move forward on meeting our Paris Climate Agreement targets, we must persevere and embrace a new normal. And not revert to “business as usual.” This will take time and commitment, but we will be healthier in the long term.

Changing for a better tomorrow

Despite pandemic fatigue, we are all trying our best to hang in there and follow public health directives until widespread vaccination becomes available. But there is no vaccine for climate change. Let our experience with the COVID crisis serve as a practice run for the important decisions and changes needed on a global scale to overcome the climate crisis.

“There is no vaccine for climate change”

We need to flatten the curve of climate-change risk, to change our behaviours to align with the best available science to ensure that our actions do not result in overwhelming global temperature rise. We need to make the drastic changes required to meet our targets under the Paris Agreement. And we need those changes to start now, in every aspect of our economy as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

Melanie Langille is an environmental scientist and vice president of the Foundation for Resilient Health, a project of the New Brunswick Lung Association.
THE GREEN LEAF hiver 2021 page 001

This brief investigates the actual state of employment in Canada’s fossil fuel industry. It explains why the clean economy transition is manageable for workers in fossil fuel industries and should start now. And it provides ten principles that we should be following to make this transition fair and effective.

This brief summarizes the findings of Employment Transitions and the Phase-Out of Fossil Fuels, a report authored by economist Jim Stanford at the Centre for Future Work.

Click here for more information and to view this report.

Canada can have a fair transition for workers and communities

We need to act on climate change, and we also need to be fair to workers and communities in fossil fuel industries. By starting a planned 20-year phase-out of fossil fuels now, we can ensure that workers and communities are given a steady path to a fossil free economy. Over this timeline, we’d need to find 4,000 new jobs for fossil fuel workers a year – that’s an amount that the Canadian economy currently creates every 5 days!

Canada’s economy has been strong even while fossil fuel jobs declined


In the 5 years before the COVID-19 pandemic, fossil fuel industries were already losing jobs, yet the rest of Canada’s economy had low unemployment. In fact, between 2014 and 2019, for every job that disappeared from fossil fuel industries, 42 were created in other fields.

Only 18 communities are significantly dependent on fossil fuel jobs

Providing communities with targeted transition support is very manageable. Of the 152 communities across Canada, only 18 are even somewhat dependent on fossil fuel jobs (more than 5% of employment), and only 2 rely on it for more than 20% of their jobs. Through tailored programs, we can support these communities to diversify their economies.

56% of fossil fuel workers are in cities

Despite the widespread belief that fossil fuel jobs are located in rural and remote areas of Canada, the majority of people working in the fossil fuel industry are actually in cities of 100,000 people or more.

Fossil fuel jobs have been on the decline for years

Many trends are threatening fossil fuel jobs that have nothing to do with climate policies. These include industry-led automation, decreasing job security, falling wages (partly from deunionization), increasing health and safety risks, and long commutes. Now is the time to support these workers with a compassionate transition plan.

Le Fonds pour dommages à l’environnement (FDE) a ouvert un appel de propositions.

La prochaine date limite pour soumettre un projet dans le cadre de l’appel de propositions de janvier 2021 est à 16h00, heure normale de l’Atlantique (HNA), le 24 février 2021. Visitez le site web du programme FDE pour obtenir des renseignements sur les critères d’admissibilité, les restrictions relatives à l’utilisation des fonds, et comment faire une demande de financement.

Dans les provinces atlantiques, le financement est disponible pour des projets liés à la conservation et à la protection du poisson ou de son habitat dans la province de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador. Les activités du projet doivent être axées sur les aires marines de conservation ou les refuges marins.

Connectez-vous à la plateforme de candidature en ligne Système de gestion d’entreprise des subventions et contributions (SGESC) pour présenter une demande et pour accéder au guide du demandeur pour le FDE (joint à ce courriel).

Les demandes de renseignements liés à l’appel de propositions de janvier 2021 peuvent être transmises à un bureau du FDE dans votre région à l'adresse suivante ec.fdeqa-edfaq.ec@canada.ca .

Nous attendons de vos nouvelles avec plaisir !

Heather Gordon
Gestionnaire, Programmes de financement
Région de l’Atlantique et du Québec
Environnement et Changement climatique Canada
Les Initiatives des écosystèmes de l’atlantique (IEA) d’Environnement et Changement climatique Canada (ECCC) accepte actuellement les demandes de financement pour 2021-2022. La date limite pour présenter une demande est le 25 février 2021, à 16h00 heure normale de l'Atlantique (HNA).

Priorités pour 2021-2022

Concentration géographique

Pour 2021-2022, les écosystèmes prioritaires sont le bassin versant du fleuve Wolastoq / Saint‑Jean et le bassin versant du sud du golfe du Saint‑Laurent. Les projets doivent avoir lieu dans l’une de ces deux régions.

Question d’intérêt : qualité de l’eau
Le financement est disponible pour des projets nouveaux qui aident à conserver, à protéger et à rétablir la qualité de l’eau à partir des eaux d’amont jusqu’aux estuaires dans l’un des écosystèmes prioritaires du Canada atlantique. La priorité sera accordée aux projets qui améliorent l’évaluation, la surveillance, la modélisation et l’atténuation des facteurs de stress et de leurs effets cumulatifs sur la qualité de l’eau. Les projets doivent être axés sur des facteurs de stress en particulier: les nutriments, les bactéries, et /ou les plastiques.

Bénéficiaires admissibles
Seules les organisations du Canada atlantique sont admissibles. Elles comprennent : les gouvernements et les organisations autochtones, les organisations non gouvernementales, les coalitions et les réseaux d'organisations, les établissements universitaires et de recherche. Les requérants présenteront leur demande en ligne à l’aide du (SGESC), une plate-forme à guichet unique pour tous les programmes de financement d’ECCC. Si vous avez des questions sur les IEA, veuillez communiquer avec nous par courriel, à ec.iea-aei.ec@canada.ca.

Heather Gordon
Gestionnaire, Programmes de financement
Région de l’Atlantique et du Québec
Environnement et Changement climatique Canada
Le Programme de financement communautaire ÉcoAction d’Environnement et Changement climatique Canada (ECCC) accepte jusqu'au 3 mars 2021 à 12 :00 HNP /15 :00 HNE les demandes de financement pour des projets débutant à l'été 2021.

Du financement est disponible pour des nouveaux projets qui mobilisent les Canadiens et qui démontrent clairement l’atteinte de résultats environnementaux positifs et mesurables relativement à la priorité environnementale suivante : l’eau douce.

Votre projet doit porter sur l’un des résultats prioritaires connexes suivants:
  • Les Canadiens contribuent à l’amélioration de la qualité de l’eau par le détournement et la réduction des substances nocives dans l’eau douce; OU
  • Les Canadiens contribuent à l’amélioration de la gestion de l’eau douce et au renforcement de la résilience climatique grâce à des mesures de développement et/ou de restauration d’infrastructures naturelles.

La préférence sera accordée aux propositions qui mobilisent les peuples autochtones, les jeunes ou les petites entreprises. Toutes les propositions doivent satisfaire à la totalité des exigences du programme.

Pour de plus amples renseignements sur cette occasion de financement, consultez le Programme de financement communautaire ÉcoAction ou communiquez avec votre bureau régional. Des agents de programme sont disponibles pour discuter de vos idées de projets et vous fournir des conseils sur la façon de compléter votre demande. Le guide du requérant pour 2021-22 est joint.

Pour les questions concernant les projets dans la région de l’Atlantique et du Québec : ec.ecoaction.qa.ec@canada.ca.

Pour assistance technique avec SGESC, veuillez contacter : ec.sgesc-gcems-sgesc-gcems.ec@canada.ca .

Nous attendons de vos nouvelles!

Heather Gordon
Gestionnaire, Programmes de financement, Région de l’Atlantique et du Québec
Environnement et Changement climatique Canada
 © 2018 NBEN / RENB