Federal funding of climate change and health research in Canada

Ford, J. Smith, T., and Berrang-Ford, L. In press at American Journ. of Public Health.

The Canadian federal government has a constitutional responsibility to provide information and resources on prevention, preparedness and management of health risks. Climate change is already affecting health systems across Canada and federal programs have funded a number of initiatives to examine the risks. It remains unclear, however, the extent to which the federal response is consistent with the threat posed. We systematically quantify and characterize federal funding of research to understand, avoid, prepare for, and respond to the health effects of climate change. We document an increase in funding over the last decade but is inadequate given the risks posed. The $16m invested in 105 climate change and health projects between 1999 and 2009 is only a fraction of other federal expenditures. We give the federal response a ‘report card’ grade of C+: improving but much yet to be done. A federal strategy to guide research support is overdue.