In 2021, climate emergencies cost the province $17 billion. Yet, the BC NDP's 2023 budget only invested $300 million in capital funding to repair infrastructure damaged by climate emergencies.
And although the government announced a $10 million investment to provide free air conditioning for people in late June, 8,000 air conditioners over three years is not enough to protect people from increasingly frequent heat events, wildfire smoke, and transmitting diseases.
We must urge the BC NDP to quickly adopt clean air standards for indoor public spaces, which will further protect the health and wellbeing of our community members, especially our seniors, children, and most vulnerable.
Stand with us by adding your name to the BC Greens petition and call on government to prioritize:
- Swift implementation of air filtration systems in schools and public spaces to safeguard the health and well-being of all residents, with a focus on protecting children from harmful smoke.
- Urgent distribution of cooling units and fans in all social housing and housing for seniors and people with disabilities, mitigating the health risks associated with extreme heat events and ensuring that no one is left defenseless against rising temperatures.
- Acceleration of the updates to BC's emergency management legislation, facilitating prompt enactment of necessary regulatory, funding, and enforcement changes to enhance overall preparedness and response capabilities.
- Providing multi-year, stable funding to organizations that are building resilient neighbourhoods as an important aspect of emergency preparedness.
- Better involvement of First Nations in emergency planning and preparedness, as per the recommendations of the 2018 Report “Addressing the New Normal: 21st Century Disaster Management in British Columbia.
By implementing these measures, the BC NDP can demonstrate leadership and show their commitment to proactive and effective management of the ongoing and accelerating climate crisis.
- In March 2023, NDP MPPs in Ontario tabled a Private Member’s Bill to create indoor clean air standards. This bill would convene an Advisory Committee on clean air that would advise the government on ventilation, filtration, and other methods to reduce airborne transmission of diseases. The work would focus on saving lives due to the provincial government “irresponsibly [removing] mandatory masking in public indoor spaces.”
- In April, a motion to debate the importance of indoor air standards was led by a Liberal MLA from New Brunswick. The motion included creating a plan to monitor, report, and improve air quality systems to mitigate the risks of airborne illnesses.
- Outdoor air is regulated by the provincial government through the Environmental Management Act and the Waste Discharge Regulation. The provincial government has the authority to set outdoor air quality standards and guidelines, and municipal and regional governments have the authority to create bylaws for outdoor air. Indoor air quality, however, is largely unregulated.
- According to Health Canada, indoor air pollution can be up to five times worse than outdoor air pollution. Vancouver Coastal Health estimates that air pollution costs BC at minimum $14 billion in health costs every year.