Kim Perrotta, Executive Director of the Canadian Health Association for Sustainability & Equity (CHASE), presented to the Health Promotion Ontario Panel the effects of climate change and COVID-19 on low-income regions and how interrelated these two are.
In the discussion, Kim highlighted that due to the current pandemic and the ongoing effects of climate change, low-income neighborhoods are now more vulnerable compared to the rest of the population in Canada.
Canada experienced heatwaves, wildfires, and floods during the pandemic. On top of that, these extreme weather conditions and air pollution have even contributed to the effects on an individual level.
People who are experiencing respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Wildfire smoke and air pollution can put them in even more danger.
Apart from that, the pandemic’s economic effects brought financial losses and food insecurity. Because of this, more people only have fewer resources left to help them recover.
The current work-from-home setup hasn’t been very helpful to low-income individuals as well. Some people don’t have conducive spaces for working or learning and may need to go outside which only puts them at risk.
Solutions like public parks and green spaces in low-income neighborhoods as well as an efficient public transit system can help minimize inequity and inequality.