Wildfires in BC: Health effects and system implications in a global perspective

March 27, 2019 at 12:00pm PT

Wildfires are becoming more severe in British Columbia (BC) and most areas of Canada. In 2017, over 1,300 fires displaced 65,000 residents, including 880 patients and 700 health system staff, costing over $560 million. In 2018, the largest area burned on record, disproportionately impacting remote and Indigenous communities. During both seasons, severe smoke pollution affected the province for weeks, with several communities experiencing some of the worst air quality conditions in the world. 

This webinar explores implications of climate-related severe events from an emergency management perspective, focusing on health care system impacts in BC and lessons learned from consecutive years of a provincial state of emergency. Using an environmental health lens, evidence from BC is placed in a global context to highlight critical gaps that researchers are racing to fill.

Suggested readings

Paul Kovacs, Alice Cullingford, Mike Flannigan, and Lilia Yumagulova. (2018). Canada’s Burning Question : An in-deph feature on the progress made and the callenges remaining for fire management in Canada. HazNet.

Tara K. McGee, Amy Christianson, Kyla Mottershead, and Henok Asfaw. (2018). Advice for emergency managers from the First Nations Wildfire Evacuation Partnership. HazNet.

Report and findings of the BC Flood and Wildfire. (2018). Addressing the New Normal: 21st Century Disaster Management in British Columbia

John Lavery is the Executive Director of Health Emergency Management British Columbia (HEMBC). John is an active member of the WHO’s Emergency Operations Centre Network, co-chairs multiple Canadian federal/provincial/territorial committees, and is a Canadian co-chair of the Pacific Northwest Border Alliance.

Sarah Henderson, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia and Senior Scientist, Environmental Health Services, BC Centre for Disease Control. Sarah is an international expert on the health effects of wildfire smoke and has been studying this topic in BC and around the world for more than 15 years. At the BCCDC she leads a program of applied research and surveillance to support evidence-based policy for the province.

Pre-workshop prep: Planetary health

These resource guides provide an introduction to planetary health.

Main sessions

Session 1

What (on earth) is planetary health: Planetary health through Western and Indigenous lenses

Session 2

Mobilizing our commitment to the future through equity- and evidence-informed health equity action

Session 3

Planetary health at the local level: The health co-benefits of a one planet region

Session 4

BC and beyond: An exploration of future research engagement

Special session guides

Session 1

A dialogue with Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party of Canada

Dinner: 10 Acres Farm and Restaurant Group

Food systems: Local and global

BCCI external consultations for CIHR-IDRC strategic planning

May 2, 2018 at 12:00pm PT

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) held a series of consultations in reference to its global health strategic planning exercise, in collaboration with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). These were regional events and by invitation only. After each CIHR-IDRC session, one-page briefing notes were prepared for CCGHR members. CIHR agreed to receive a Coalition “external” consultation document reflecting the views of researchers across Canada. 

On April 9, BC members of CCGHR attended an in-person consultation. Following this, a webinar provided an opportunity to further reflect views from across BC, specifically those of the BCCI Community of Practice and its key component, Students and Young Professionals (SYPs). All proceedings were integrated into a summary report submitted to CIHR-IDRC in May. 

Building on the CCGHR-led external consultations that have taken place across the country, we examined Canadian strengths and areas for opportunity in global health research. We looked to deepen the conversation and explore avenues for concrete action through the BCCI Community of Practice. Across these themes, we also looked to consider the health impacts of climate change


Download the slide deck for the webinar.

Briefing notes from the first three internal consultations as well as the external consultation in Vancouver.

The summary report submitted to CIHR-IDRC.

Pre-workshop prep: CCGHR Principles for Global Health Research

These resources provide an introduction to the CCGHR Principles for Global Health Research.

  1. Read the CCGHR Principles for Global Health Research.
  2. Watch the video on the CCGHR Principles for Global Health Research.
  3. Consider the following questions, and be prepared to share your thoughts:
    1. How do these principles fit with your own comfort zone? Where do they stretch you the most?
    2. What disciplinary values do these principles align well with, confront, or challenge?
    3. How could these principles inform different parts of the research process? How do you think practicing the principles might change across the research spectrum?
    4. If you think about putting these principles into practice, what points in the research process would doing so be the most challenging? Are there paradoxes that you might encounter?