August 09, 2012


Cool advice offered for hot times website to help Canadians and health care providers deal with heat waves


Hamilton, Ont. August 09, 2012Climate change appears to be warming up Canada and now Canadians can better prepare to deal with heat waves.


A website at has been launched with advice for the public and an accredited training program for Canadian health care workers on how to help people deal with hot weather.


The free site is available in both English and French and includes specific resources for parents of young children, older adults and physically active adults, those groups who may have more risk during a heat wave. The training program for health care professionals has a comprehensive, evidence-based self-learning module with case studies, a discussion forum and practice resources. It is based on Health Canada’s extreme heat events guidelines for health care workers, along with other material.


The extreme heat online program is a collaborative effort of the Division of e-Learning Innovation of the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University, Health Canada, the Ontario College of Family Physicians and the Clean Air Partnership.


“This program provides important information to help people stay safe in extreme heat,” said Dr. Anthony Levinson, director of the portal for health information which hosts the website and an associate professor of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster.


According to Environment Canada, annual temperatures for the country have warmed over the last 64 years by 1.5°C. Last year, 2011, was the eighth warmest year on record in that time, and 2010 was the warmest year.  Forecasts say that without mitigation measures, the number of days a year with a maximum temperature of 30°C will double by 2021-2040.


“Heat illnesses are preventable, and this program provides valuable information to help protect those most vulnerable, such as seniors and infants, from extreme heat,” said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health.


The accredited program for health care providers is the first of its kind designed specifically for doctors and other health care workers in Canada to learn about heat-related illness, topics not often covered during their training.


“Climate change has been called the defining issue for public health for the 21st century, and family physicians and other health care providers are key to helping to address the health effects of climate change,” said Jan Kasperski, CEO of the Ontario College of Family Physicians.


Kevin Behan, director of research at the Clean Air Partnership, pointed to the aging of the Canadian population. “Considered with climate change, this will result in more people at risk of heat-related illness and highlights the need for more education,” he said. “Taking action now to provide the Canadian people with the education they need to protect themselves is a vital step in adapting this new reality.”






For more information, please contact:


Veronica McGuire
Media Relations

Faculty of Health Sciences
McMaster University
905-525-9140, ext. 22169


Health Canada