Canadian Red Cross Statement: Red Cross commends the Chief Public Health Officer’s 2023 Report on the State of Health in Canada

October 31, 2023

Monday, October 30, 2023  -  The Canadian Red Cross applauds Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, for their 2023 Report on the State of Health in Canada.  The report is very timely as we continue to reflect on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and from other disaster and emergency events, including this year’s unprecedented wildfire season in Canada. With the rapid onset of climate change, emergency events are increasing in frequency and severity. This includes both health emergencies and health in emergencies in Canada. Understanding the connection between health and emergencies will allow us to mitigate the health impacts and outcomes for those living in Canada.

The integration of health promotion into policies, frameworks and programs is needed so that communities and individuals are supported to increase control over and improve their health. Health and well-being promotion should be considered an integral part of preparedness and response for all hazards emergencies, not only in outbreak emergencies. So too, do we need to ensure operational capacities to respond to health needs during emergencies.

The Red Cross is encouraged that the report prioritizes communities in emergency management and recognizes the unequal and disproportionate impact of health emergencies on populations that are marginalized and at high risk of vulnerability.

We support the recommended actions and priorities set out in the report, including:
  • a community-centered approach to emergency planning that integrates local knowledge and invests in local actors;
  • invest in and support Indigenous-led emergency management; and
  • integrate equity consideration and leverage/build on data systems to better identify needs for communities and individuals in a responsible and consensual way.

About the Canadian Red Cross
Here in Canada and overseas, the Red Cross stands ready to help people before, during and after a disaster. As a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – which is made up of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 192 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies – the Canadian Red Cross is dedicated to helping people and communities in Canada and around the world in times of need and supporting them in strengthening their resilience.
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