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Community-based Participatory Process – Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program for Northern First Nations and Inuit in Canada

Diane McClymont Peace, Erin Myers

2012 Canada

Objectives: Health Canada’s Program for Climate Change and Health Adaptation in Northern First Nation and Inuit Communities is unique among Canadian federal programs in that it enables community-based participatory research by northern communities.
Study design: The program was designed to build capacity by funding communities to conduct their own research in cooperation with Aboriginal associations, academics, and governments; that way, communities could develop health-related adaptation plans and communication materials that would help in adaptation decision-making at the community, regional, national and circumpolar levels with respect to human health and a changing environment.

Methods: Community visits and workshops were held to familiarize northerners with the impacts of climate change on their health, as well as methods to develop research proposals and budgets to meet program requirements.
Results: Since the launch of the Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program in 2008, Health Canada has funded 36 community projects across Canada’s North that focus on relevant health issues caused by climate change. In addition, the program supported capacity-building workshops for northerners, as well as a Pan-Arctic Results Workshop to bring communities together to showcase the results of their research. Results include: numerous films and photo-voice products that engage youth and elders and are available on the web; community-based ice monitoring, surveillance and communication networks; and information products on land, water and ice safety, drinking water, food security and safety, and traditional medicine.

Conclusions: Through these efforts, communities have increased their knowledge and understanding of the health effects related to climate change and have begun to develop local adaptation strategies.

community-based participatory research; climate change; health