Report: Reducing urban heat islands to protect health in Canada


Government of Canada

Wed, 04/29/2020
"Urban heat islands" (UHIs) refer to warmer temperatures in urban areas than in surrounding rural areas. These warmer temperatures can magnify health impacts during heat waves. Public health professionals can play an important role in protecting health by spearheading or contributing to action to reduce UHIs. In fact, public health professionals (including staff at public health authorities, university researchers, and officials in provincial and federal ministries of health) in Canada have contributed to various UHI reduction initiatives. For example, local health authorities were a key driver behind Quebec City's measures to reduce UHIs in vulnerable neighbourhoods. However, there is a lack of guidance specifically to provide advice to public health professionals about how they can collaborate with local governments to advance action to reduce UHIs. The purpose of this Health Canada report is to fill this gap in knowledge and provide tips, strategies, and case studies that can help public health professionals as they support local governments and organizations with reducing UHIs. The report includes nine practical case studies highlighting how public health professionals across Canada have helped to advance actions to reduce UHIs in their communities. This report focuses on advice for reducing outdoor temperatures; while actions to reduce indoor temperatures are important, they are beyond the scope of this report.