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Media release: New study creates index on quality of the environment for Canada’s 30 largest cities

Posted by Communications and Marketing on November 29, 2022 in News

Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022 (Halifax, NS) A new study in the journal Environment International reveals differences in environmental quality across cities and neighbourhoods that will advance our understanding of urban environmental injustice and health inequities in Canada.

The study is the first to develop a comprehensive portrayal of how environmental conditions can change from city to city and from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. Researchers developed an innovative approach for assessing environmental quality from nine indicators, including air quality, green and blue spaces, ultra-violet radiation, as well as heat and cold waves.

The research was supported by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) Centre for Surveillance and Applied Research.

“We created an easy to interpret index or scorecard for each neighbourhood that tells us about the quality of the environment and the types of conditions that drive higher or lower scores,” says Daniel Rainham, the study’s senior author and a professor in Health Promotion at Dalhousie University.

The development of the Canadian Environmental Quality Index is timely given appeals from policy makers and urban planners for evidence-based insights and tools required to explore environmental exposures at the neighbourhood level.

The research also provides a tool that can assist planners and decision-makers with developing strategies to improve environmental conditions, particularly in equity-deserving communities.

“Where you live matters,” says Dr. Rainham. “We know that environmental exposures can be both detrimental or beneficial. Now we have a tool that can inform the creation of interventions to reduce harmful exposures and where best to apply them.”


Author contacts:

Daniel Rainham, School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S., Canada (UTC-3h): +1-902-219-0933;

Zoe Davis, School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne, Richmond, Australia (UTC+11h):

Media contact:

Alison Auld
Senior Research Reporter
Communications, Marketing and Creative Services
Dalhousie University
Cell: 1-902-220-0491


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