CANUE Expert Webinar – Electric Vehicles, Air Pollution, and Health – September 26, 2022 | 12 p.m. (ET)


In Canada, air pollution causes more than 15,000 premature deaths each year, including 6,000 in Ontario, and 3,000 in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, where transportation is the largest source of air pollution. Canadian research has shown that marginalized socio-economic groups are disproportionately exposed to traffic-related air pollution. Residents who face socio-economic barriers are also likely to be more vulnerable to the impacts of this pollution, as they face other health inequities correlated with socio-economic status. The current push for electric vehicles by federal, provincial and municipal governments presents an opportunity to drastically reduce air pollution from traffic sources, leading to health, social and climate change benefits. However, strengthening and accelerating policies to electrify cars, SUVs and public transit buses, along with updating truck fleets is needed to realize these benefits.

This webinar will:

  •  Discuss health effects of Traffic-Related Air Pollution (TRAP)
  • Discuss health and environmental benefits of upgrading and electrifying transportation
  • Discuss the barriers and opportunities to increasing rates of electrification

 About the speaker:

Laura Minet is an Assistant Professor at the University of Victoria where she leads the Clean Air (CLAIR) lab. The group’s research is motivated by the need to improve urban air quality and minimize population exposure to air pollution to reduce the burden of air pollution on our health. The lab’s researchers use empirical and physical models to analyze changes in air quality over time, understand the influence of urban features on air quality, and evaluate the impact of urban planning policies and changing meteorological conditions on population exposure and health.

She holds a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Toronto, where she was also a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Earth Sciences in Professor Miriam Diamond’s Environmental Research Group. Her areas of expertise include air quality, population exposure to air pollution, population health, transportation engineering, vehicle emissions and dispersion modelling.

The Health Effects of Long-Term Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution – June 1st 2022


The health effects of traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) continue to be of important public health interest. Assessing exposure to TRAP is challenging because TRAP is a complex mixture of particulate matter and gaseous pollutants and exhibits high spatial and temporal variability. Following its well-cited 2010 critical review, the Health Effects Institute (HEI) appointed a new expert panel to systematically evaluate the epidemiological evidence regarding the associations between long-term exposure to TRAP and selected adverse health outcomes. The panel used a systematic approach to search the literature, select studies for inclusion in the review, assess study quality, summarize results, and reach conclusions about the confidence in the evidence.

This webinar will:

  • Discuss patterns of exposure to traffic-related air pollution around the world, and which populations are most exposed to TRAP
  • Review the health impacts of increased exposure to long-term exposure to TRAP
  • Discuss strengths and weaknesses of the evidence, and future research needs

About the speaker:

Hanna Boogaard has more than 15 years of experience in air pollution epidemiology. She is a Consultant Principal Scientist at the Health Effects Institute (HEI) in Boston, MA, an independent research organization with balanced funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency and motor vehicle industry. She received a PhD in 2012 in air pollution epidemiology from Utrecht University, Netherlands. She studied health effects of traffic-related air pollution, and the effectiveness of traffic policy measures. At HEI, she is involved in research oversight and review of studies investigating the health effects of air pollution and studies evaluating the effectiveness of interventions to improve air quality and public health. In addition, she is involved in developing and overseeing new research programs on non-tailpipe traffic emissions, studies assessing adverse health effects of long-term exposure to low levels of ambient air pollution, and studies on health effects of traffic-related air pollution. Furthermore, she is working very closely with an expert HEI panel to systematically evaluate the evidence for the associations of long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution with selected health outcomes. She holds a MSc in Epidemiology and Environmental Health Sciences (2005) from Maastricht University, Netherlands.

She has been advisor of National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, World Health Organization, Health Canada, and other national and international bodies. She is associate editor for Environment International and on the Editorial Review Board for Environmental Health Perspectives. She is co-chair of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) Europe Chapter, and member of the ISEE Policy Committee.


UNICEF Report Card Echo Event: Healthy Communities for Canadian Children: Reducing Air Pollution, Increasing Access to Greenspace, and Building Playable Neighbourhoods – May 25th | 2022


For two decades, the UNICEF Report Card series has released a report every two years that reveal the state of children and youth across high-income countries. This year’s Report Card, which will be released globally on May 24, takes a new focus on children’s environment. It compares rich countries’ environmental impacts on young people’s health and broader well-being.

Following the release of the report, on May 25 at 12:00 p.m. (ET), join us for an echo event, where three researchers and users of CANUE data will dive deeper into how Canadian children’s exposures to greenspace, playability and air pollution affect their health and wellbeing.

This webinar will explore how each of these exposures impact children’s health, and what could be done to ensure more children have access to greenspace, playable communities and are exposed to less air pollution.

About the speakers:

Emily Gemmell is a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health. Rooted in a human rights framework, her research focuses on the ways in which urban form influences child health behaviours and how cities can support health and social connection by integrating kids’ perspectives and needs into the design of neighbourhood spaces. She is currently developing a high-level, evidence-based geospatial metric to assess neighbourhood playability across Canadian urban centers and creating a scalable, computer vision model for assessing child and parent perceptions of neighbourhood environments for outdoor play.



Ingrid Jarvis is a PhD candidate in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences at the University of British Columbia. She holds a BA in Psychology and a BSc in Natural Resources Conservation with Honours. Her CIHR-funded thesis examines how environmental exposures, including green and blue spaces, influence human health and development across the life course among Metro Vancouver residents. Her research focuses on early childhood and adult exposure to surrounding urban environments in relation to a range of health indicators. Her work takes an interdisciplinary approach by applying geospatial and epidemiological analyses that combine administrative, survey, and GIS data.



Eric Lavigne is a Senior Epidemiologist with the Water & Air Quality Bureau of Health Canada and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa. Eric’s research investigates how children’s health is affected by ambient air pollution and climate change. Much of this work is based on epidemiology, biostatistics, and environmental sciences. The research is designed to be policy-relevant and contribute to well-informed decision-making to better protect human health.



Community Wellbeing: How to Build Communities that Support Physical, Mental, Environmental and Social Wellbeing | March 31st, 2022


How healthy you are can depend a lot on where you live. But how should cities and towns approach transforming the built environment to improve residents’ health? The Community Wellbeing Framework, developed by the Conference Board of Canada and DIALOG, is an evidence-based methodology to design for community wellbeing made up of five domains, 18 indicators, and 48 metrics. The Framework defines and evaluates the built environment’s contributions to community wellbeing and helps guide conversations toward a shared vision and actionable decision making, with tangible value, on how the world around us can and should be designed.

Join us for a webinar with Antonio Gomez-Palacio to learn how the Framework is being used by communities and decision-makers to support physical, mental, environmental and social wellbeing.

This webinar will:

  • Review the elements of the built environment that contribute to physical and mental health and wellbeing
  • Provide an overview of the evidence-based Community Wellbeing Framework
  • Present case studies of how the Community Wellbeing Framework is being used in community projects that promote health and wellbeing

About the speaker:

Antonio Gomez-Palacio is an urban planner and founding partner with DIALOG, one of Canada’s leading design firms. Antonio’s professional experience and research focus on the intersection of architecture, planning, and urban design. He’s internationally recognized for transforming cities into vibrant urban places that respond to their social, economic, and environmental contexts. Antonio has worked on a wide range of projects focused on urban intensification, master planning, mixed-use, transit, heritage, economic development, and sustainability. His project work includes light-rail transit (LRT) projects for Mississauga, Brampton, and Edmonton, downtown plans for Halifax and Regina, and campus plans for Seneca College and Laurentian University.

In addition to impacting communities through his professional practice, Antonio has acted as chair of the Toronto Society of Architects and the City of Vaughan’s Design Review Panel. He is involved with several industry initiatives and organizations, including the Canadian Institute of Planners, the Royal Architectural Institute of

PM 2.5: What it Is and Why it Matters – February 24th | 2022


In 2021, recognizing the health burden of exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), the World Health Organization cut its guideline for annual average exposure in half. Now 86% of Canadians living in areas that exceed the new WHO guideline. Exposure to air pollution is estimated to cause 7 million deaths every year, and exposure to PM2.5 in particular has been linked with premature death in people with heart or lung disease, nonfatal heart attacks, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function and coughing or difficulty breathing.

Understanding what PM2.5 is, where it comes from, how it’s measured and its effect on health can help public health professionals better manage the health risks it presents to everyone, and health researchers better use relevant and meaningful datasets to understand its health effects.

This webinar will:

  • Review the sources and composition of PM2.5, and behaviour that leads to spatial and temporal patterns
  • Discuss how satellite-based data is created and used
  • Review datasets available through CANUE and the University of Washington in St. Louis, and discuss which sets are recommended for environmental health research

About the speakers:

Jeff Brook is a Scientific Director of the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium, as well as Assistant Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto. He has 25 years of experience as an Environment Canada scientist working at the science-policy interface. During this time he spent 15 years as faculty at the University of Toronto, where he was involved in research, lecturing and graduate student training. He is one of Canada’s leading experts in air quality, recognized at all levels of government and academically, including for his substantial contributions in air pollution health research. Dr. Brook has led scientific assessments to inform policy nationally and internationally, and advised multi-stakeholder groups shaping policy. He has led a variety of multi-disciplinary research teams in government, government-academic partnerships and in academia. Recently his efforts have expanded beyond air quality, for example for 8 years he has led the Environmental Working Group of the Canadian Health Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study and co-led the Gene x Environment Research Platform within the AllerGen Network of Centres of Excellence.


Aaron van Donkelaar is a Research Associate with the Atmospheric Composition Analysis Group at Washington University in St. Louis. His research combines satellite retrievals with chemical transport model simulations to estimate fine aerosol concentrations around the world. This work is being used to provide valuable insight into exposure-related health effects in regions where these concentrations are not monitored directly, which include some of the most heavily populated and polluted places on earth.




Pathways Between Transportation and Health – February 4th | 2022


Transportation is an integral part of our daily lives, giving us access to people, education, jobs, services, and goods. Our transportation choices and behaviours are influenced by four interrelated factors: the land use and built environment, infrastructure, available modes, and emerging technologies/disruptors. These factors influence how we move ourselves and goods, and are modifiable. In turn, these factors impact various exposures, lifestyles and health outcomes. Understanding how transportation can be both beneficial and detrimental to health is crucial for policy- and decision-makers aiming to prioritize and improve public health in their cities.

This webinar will:

  • Summarize pathways that link transportation to health
  • Review how pathways between transportation and health intersect with equity
  • Show quantitative health impact assessments of these pathways from cities across the world
  • Overview data and methodological gaps in health impact assessments of transportation decisions
  • Discuss how understanding the pathways, health impacts and co-benefits can inform decision making about transportation and public health

About the speaker:

Haneen Khreis is a Senior Research Associate in the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge and is an Associate Scientist with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. She is a cross-disciplinary researcher broadly studying the health impacts of transport planning and policy with a special interest in cities. She is trained in transport planning and engineering, vehicle emissions and air quality monitoring and modelling, systematic reviews, health impact and burden of disease assessment. She also has expertise in policy options generation and the science-policy link. Haneen has worked extensively with air pollution and asthma in particular, doing epidemiological, burden of disease assessment and monetization studies.

She has published over 70 peer-reviewed papers, chapters and technical reports, with a large media impact, and edited three books on integrating human health into planning, transport and health, and traffic-related air pollution and health. Haneen recently developed a cross-disciplinary course titled “Traffic-Related Air Pollution: Emissions, Human Exposures, and Health.”. She is dedicated to improving human health and equity through supporting relevant education, workforce development, and evidence-based healthy and just planning.


Greenness, Public Health and Adapting to Climate Change | November 4th | 2021


This summer was one of the hottest on record – especially in Canadian cities – and the accelerating rate of climate change means future summers will be hotter for longer, leading to increased heat-related deaths and health issues. By the middle of the century, the number of days over 30℃ will double in Canada. One of the key ways cities can respond to climate change and mitigate the effects of extreme heat in cities and promote better health is to create more green space, which cools the air and promotes better physical and mental health.

This webinar will:

  1. Review the physical and mental health impacts of green space
  2. Discuss how green space can help cities adapt to the effects of climate change
  3. Explore policies and investments cities could enact to accelerate the expansion of green space

About the speaker:

Matilda van den Bosch is an Associated Researcher at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain and an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia.

She investigates how environmental exposures, for example, urban green spaces, can influence various aspects of human health and how we can create healthier cities.

Activities in her lab include regulating urban ecosystem services, such as heat reduction with an impact on heat-related morbidity and mortality, as well as cultural services from urban nature, for example, increased physical activity and stress recovery. Much of the research focuses on linkages between various types of land-use data and health mediators or outcomes. Another project is looking at the mental health impacts of deforestation in low-and middle-income countries.

As co-leader of the greenness team within the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium (CANUE), she is part of a team developing greenness metrics across Canada for linking to various health cohorts.


Mobilizing Environmental Data to Build Healthier Cities for All | September 29 | 2021


Whether you live in a walkable community with access to green space or in a car-dependent community close to pollution emitters can have an outsize influence on your health outcomes, and maps closely with income and societal privilege. Addressing these kinds of environmental inequities, if done correctly, can provide health, environmental and economic co-benefits. But, if we want healthier, cleaner and more equitable communities, we will need data-driven solutions. This talk will explain how nationally standardized datasets are fueling a renaissance in environmental health research, how data can be used to identify environmental health inequities in Canadian cities and highlight tools that public health professionals will be able to use to operationalize insights and address inequities in the built environment.

About the presenters:


 Jeffrey Brook
Scientific Director and Nominated Principal Investigator

Jeffrey Brook has 25 years of experience as an Environment Canada scientist working at the science-policy interface. During this time he spent 15 years as faculty at the University of Toronto, where he was involved in research, lecturing and graduate student training. He is one of Canada’s leading experts in air quality, recognized at all levels of government and academically, including for his substantial contributions in air pollution health research. Dr. Brook has led scientific assessments to inform policy nationally and internationally, and advised multi-stakeholder groups shaping policy. He has led a variety of multi-disciplinary research teams in government, government-academic partnerships and in academia. Recently his efforts have expanded beyond air quality, for example for 8 years he has led the Environmental Working Group of the Canadian Health Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study and co-led the Gene x Environment Research Platform within the AllerGen Network of Centres of Excellence.


Eleanor Setton
Managing Director

As an Adjunct Associate Professor (2008- 2016), Eleanor most recently acted as Co-Director of the Spatial Sciences Research Lab (SSRL) at the University of Victoria. This role involved managing the SSRL grants, staff, and students, and conducting a range of research related to spatial aspects of exposure to environmental pollutants as a PI or Co-PI. Of particular value to CANUE is Dr. Setton’s expertise in population-level environmental exposure assessment; direct experience working with large spatial and tabular datasets related to land use, pollutant emissions and socio-economic characteristics; and developing knowledge translation products about cancer and the environment.


Dany Doiron
Linkage Lead and Special Projects Manager

Dany Doiron is a Research Associate at the Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit of the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Canada. Dany has a Masters degree in Public Policy from Simon Fraser University, and a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Basel. Prior to joining CANUE, Dany worked with Maelstrom Research, helping epidemiological research consortia in Canada and Europe implement innovative solutions to facilitate multi-centre data integration and co-analysis. Since 2016, Dany provides expertise in linking environmental data to confidential health databases for CANUE. He currently acts as the Chief Operating Officer of the Canadian Cohort of Obstructive Lung Disease (CanCOLD), a large population-based cohort dedicated to better understanding Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Dany’s research focuses on the respiratory health effects of outdoor air pollution exposure.


Extreme Heat, Forest Fires and the Role of the Built Environment | October 7th | 2021


This summer, record-breaking hot temperatures in British Columbia were met with a higher-than-average number of wildfires across the province. Extremely hot days caused by climate change are expected to lead to longer wildfire seasons which will burn larger areas, and public health officials will need to adapt their existing advice for prolonged smoky periods.

This webinar will:

  • Review trends and population health impacts of extreme heat and forest fires
  • Explain how the built environment can contribute to and protect against extreme heat and wildfire smoke exposure in cities
  • Explore local and national policy options to reduce harmful effects of extreme heat and wildfire smoke exposure

About the presenter:

Sarah Henderson is a Scientific Director in Environmental Health Services at BCCDC. She is also an Associate Professor in the UBC School of Population & Public Health.

Dr. Henderson leads a program of applied research and surveillance to support evidence-based policy for the province. This role requires her to be a generalist rather than a specialist and her work spans a wide range of topics, including air pollution from all provincially relevant sources (wildfire smoke, residential woodsmoke, industry, road dust, shipping, and vehicles), extreme weather events, radon gas, food safety, water quality, and exposures managed by the Drug and Poison Information Centre (DPIC). All of her work integrates large environmental datasets with large human health dataset from multiple sources, and she views data science as a key competency in environmental health.