The climate crisis is here, and we must act in an emergency fashion. Extreme heat is now part of BC’s weather. We’ve already felt its impacts: the Heat Dome of 2021 was the deadliest weather event in Canadian history; at least 619 people in BC died as a consequence of the extreme heat from June 25th to July 1st. The BC’s Coroners Service found that 98% of people who died from extreme heat died indoors, most people who died didn’t have cooling in their units, and more than half died alone. Extreme heat puts everyone at higher risk of illness and death, and is especially difficult for people with disabilities, elders, and low income people.
The good news is that we know what will save lives and spare illness: mechanical cooling allows people to survive extreme heat. We are advocating for cooling and indoor air quality measures because they will save people’s lives and health during this environmental crisis, a crisis brought on by decades of governments’ lack of bold action to tackle climate change.
We are calling on Premier Eby and his government to:
- Set a maximum indoor temperature of 23°C, and air quality standards for wildfire smoke in multi-unit buildings that landlords must abide by
- Create a program for cooling and air quality retrofits for multi-unit buildings that move rapidly and protect renters during renovations
- Fund outreach programs in the neighbourhoods most at risk from extreme heat events for emergency outreach during heat warnings, including distributing portable air conditioners to those most at risk