Energy poverty: an overlooked determinant of health and climate resilience in Canada

Published: 8 February 2023

Despite Canada being an important energy producer, not all Canadians can access or afford adequate levels of energy services at home to meet their needs, maintain healthy indoor temperatures, and live a decent life—a situation known as energy poverty. Depending on the measure, 6–19% of Canadian households face energy poverty. Health risks associated with energy poverty are documented in countries with milder climates. New research from McGill University's Mylène Rive (Department of Geography) explores, for the first time in the Canadian context, the association between energy poverty and health.

Using cross-sectional data from the 2018 Canadian Housing Survey, Riva's analyses are conducted on a sample weighted to represent 14 million Canadian households. The associations between expenditure-based and self-reported measures of energy poverty and self-rated general and mental health were assessed using logistic regression models, adjusted for potential confounding variables.

The research concluded that exposure to energy poverty is associated with significantly increased likelihood of poor general and mental health. Given the high proportion of Canadian households facing energy poverty, with demonstrated implications for population health, tackling energy poverty is essential for an equitable energy transition and for climate resilience.

Read the full research, published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health:

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