Toronto Metropolitan University
ijerph-17-06338-v2.pdf (1.21 MB)

Institutional Engagement Practices as Barriers to Public Health Capacity in Climate Change Policy Discourse: Lessons from the Canadian Province of Ontario

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-09, 14:25 authored by Luckrezia Awuor, Richard Meldrum, Eric LiberdaEric Liberda

Public health engagement in the communication, discussion, and development of climate change policies is essential for climate change policy decisions and discourse. This study examines how the existing governance approaches impact, enable, or constrain the inclusion, participation, and deliberation of public health stakeholders in the climate change policy discourse. Using the case study of the Canadian Province of Ontario, we conducted semi-structured, key informant interviews of public health (11) and non-public health (13) participants engaged in climate change policies in the province. The study results reveal that engagement and partnerships on climate change policies occurred within and across public health and non-public health organizations in Ontario. These engagements impacted public health’s roles, decisions, mandate, and capacities beyond the climate change discourse; enabled access to funds, expertise, and new stakeholders; built relationships for future engagements; supported knowledge sharing, generation, and creation; and advanced public health interests in political platforms and decision making. However, public health’s participation and deliberation were constrained by a fragmented sectoral approach, a lack of holistic inter-organizational structures and process, political and bureaucratic influences, irregular and unestablished communication channels for public health integration, and identities and culture focused on functions, mandates, biased ideologies, and a lack of clear commitment to engage public health. We conclude by providing practical approaches for integrating public health into climate change discourse and policymaking processes and advancing public health partnerships and collaborative opportunities.




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