December 4 2007

NH receives oil and gas report; further work with partner agencies and stakeholders planned

Northern Health has received a report compiled by former medical health officer Dr. Lorna Medd on the health effects of oil and gas exploration.


“The report is a preliminary assessment of the population health impacts of oil and gas activities in the Northeast,” said NH CEO Cathy Ulrich. “The Northern Health Board has expressed its interest in the potential social and health impacts of industrial development, and would like more information to assist in health service planning as economic activities expand in the region.”


Ms. Ulrich has asked Northeast medical health officer Dr. Charl Badenhorst to conduct further work in the following areas:

  • Develop an analysis of health status shifts between 2000 and the present day, with a focus on demographics, sexually-transmitted infections, vehicle impact disease, work-related mortality and morbidity, and drug and alcohol-related morbidity and mortality;
  • Work with the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources to build on current processes to enable health issues to be considered during the application process for new oil and gas developments; 
  • Work to ensure that Northern Health has linked emergency response plans for oil and gas developments to the health region’s emergency response plan; and
  • Continue to explore opportunities for partnering with universities in research relevant to the social and health impacts of industrial development.

“Industrial and economic development will continue to have a significant effect on the kinds of health issues we will need to deal with in the North.  It is important that we work with industry and other stakeholders to ensure that we are aware of what is being planned and that we take the health implications into consideration,” said Dr. David Bowering, NH’s chief medical health officer.


Media contact:
Mark Karjaluoto, NH Director of Communications: (250) 565-2694