December 2018 ECHO Network quarterly update



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  • Our second Annual Meeting was hosted in Camrose, Alberta and provided an opportunity for team members to re-connect and reflect on the progress of ECHO work over the past year. You can read about the meeting in this 2018 Annual Meeting Summary Report.

  • We have confirmed the dates for the 2019 ECHO Network Annual Meeting– which will be hosted in Moncton, New Brunswick – May 27-31, 2019. Stay tuned for further details.

  • ECHO Network teams and committees have been looking ahead and planning opportunities for an online workshop series where ECHO Network Members will share and exchange on integrative tools and processes to increase understanding and response to the cumulative determinants of health impact. Themes and topics for the 2019 online workshop series will be announced in early in the new year.

  • The Research Design Working Group is moving to rotating chairship and focusing in on key areas of research over the next year, including on progressing ECHO Network research outputs such as publications.

  • The ECHO Operations Committee continues to be an active space for sharing and exchange across regional cases where emerging issues are raised, ideas for ECHO activities are discussed, and collective input is gathered about ‘promising practices’ emerging in different cases, including proposals for sharing tools and processes with different audiences, using online, interactive and face-to-face formats.

  • One of the first online workshops has recently been hosted twice— Joseph Gothreau, a Research Assistant with ECHO and UNBC’s Integrated Watersheds Research Group, has been demonstrating his GIS genius through multiple training sessions profiling the integrated Watershed Portal, and is planning ahead for an additional training request-ed by northern BC’s Nechako-Lakes School District 91.

  • The work of Team Equity has been progressing through the development of a toolkit and brief literature review around the integration of sex and gender perspectives into research projects. This toolkit is based on best practices articulated by CIHR in relationto the Sex/Gender Champions role they have embedded into their research funding requirements. A draft of this tool will be circulated to the team for comment in the New Year.

  • Team Learning & Impact has continued working together to synthesize important learning reflections and questions for ECHO to carry forward into 2019, through the 2018 Annual Meeting Report, and an internal learning & impact report reflecting on learning from the ECHO Annual meeting.

  • On November 29 and 30 four ECHO Network Members—Sandra Allison, Margot Parkes, Anne Fauré and Diana Kutzner will attend a meeting convened by the CIHR Environments and Health Signature Initiative (EHSI) in To-ronto, and which seeks to encourage exchange across other EHSI-funded project teams. Margot also has follow-up meet-ings with co-leads of two other EHSI-funded teams to discuss future collaborations and exchange, including: “A SHARED Future (Achieving Strength Health, and Autonomy through Renewable Energy Development for the Future): Exploring Intersectoral Partnerships for Healthy Lands, Healthy Peoples” and “Climate Change & Indigenous Food Sys-tems, Food Security, & Food Safety (CCIFS3)”.

  • We are pleased to welcome new ECHO Network team members, including Louisa Hadley who joins us as the ECHO Network Project Assistant. At the same time, we also offer a big thanks to Shayna Dolan as she transitions out of the role of Project Assistant to focus on her role as Research Assistant with the Northern BC Regional Case, as well as winding up her Masters thesis. We also welcome Sally Maguet, Evaluation Consultant and graduate student at SFU, who will be working closely with Team Learning & Impact to help us move forward on evaluation activities across the network in early 2019. See the last page of this Update for profiles of other new team members, including Hara Saadia and Brian Portner.

  • Team Watersheds is planning a meeting in early 2019 to pick up conversations and ongoing work on integrative indica-tor frameworks to connect environment, community and health in watersheds. Please email in case of questions.

  • A series of events has fuelled international exchange among ECHO partners in the Oceania region. An Oceania Plan-etary Health Forum “Strengthening Partnerships for Nature & Human Health” was held in Nadi, Fiji on Novem-ber 1-2 as part of a collaboration between the University of Sydney Planetary Health Platform, the Edith Cowan Universi-ty Centre for Ecosystem Management, the Oceania regional office of IUCN and other regional organisations. ECHO Net-work colleagues Anthony Capon, Pierre Horwitz and Aaron Jenkins co-convened the event, and Helen Moewaka Barnes and Margot Parkes brought perspectives from Aotearoa/NZ (and Canada!). The resulting Call to action: Policy Dialogue on Planetary Health in the Oceania Region profiles intersectoral and intercutural themes relevant across the ECHO Net-work. Discussions in Fiji continued during the International Indigenous Research Conference hosted by Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (Maori Centre of Research Exeellence) November 13-16 in Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland. Helen Moewaka Barnes, Margot Parkes and other members of Ta Tai Ao (Environment) theme of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, progressed planning for a hui focused on Indigenous leadership in environment, community and health issues, which will involve ECHO partners from Oceania and Canada. This event will be hosted on April 4-5 2019 in Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland prior to the IUHPE conference in Rotorua (see above). For information or updates, contact


April 7-12, 2019

The 23rd IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion “Waiora: Promoting Planetary Health and Sustainable Development for All” is being held in Rotorua, Aotearoa /NZ April 7-12. ECHO partners from Canada and Oceania will be presenting and a pre-conference event is being planned to fuel these interactions. If you are planning to attend this event, please let us know at

April 30-May 2, 2019

Canadian Public Health Association Conference—Public Health 2019 Shaw Centre, Ottawa, ON, including a co- hosted event: 1-2 May, ‘Healthy Parks, Healthy People; see

May 27-31, 2019

The next ECHO Network Annual Meeting will be hosted by the Université de Moncton and NBEN in New Brunswick. Stay tuned for updates!


1. Brisbois BW, Reschny J, Fyfe T, Harder H, Parkes MW, Allison S, Buse CG, Fumerton R, Oke B. (2018). Mapping research on re-source extraction and health: A scoping review. Extractive Industries and Society, in press. DOI: 10.1016/j.exis.2018.10.017

2. Buse CG. (2018). Why should Canadian public health agencies conduct climate change and health vulnerability assessments? Canadian Journal of Public Health, early access DOI: 10.17269/s41997-018-0118-6



Hospital Beach, Kitimat, BC. Photo credit: Marieka Sax.

The Northern BC case continues to focus their work on the topic of ‘taking notice for action’ and has developed a research ethics protocol to engage intersectoral initiatives addressing the community and health impacts of resource development. This work will seek to profile existing initiatives and conduct in-depth key informant interviews to better understand the contexts, mechanisms and outcomes of intersectoral action across northern BC.

Hospital Beach in Kitimat, BC. Left: Rio Tinto Al- can aluminum smelter. Future site of LNG Canada export facility behind smelter. Photo credit: Dr. Marieka Sax.

Hospital Beach in Kitimat, BC. Left: Rio Tinto Al- can aluminum smelter. Future site of LNG Canada export facility behind smelter. Photo credit: Dr. Marieka Sax.

The Cumulative Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC) delivered a presentation and workshop in Smithers in September as part of an ongo-ing project to develop new tools for assessing the cumulative impacts of resource development. Additional workshops for this project will take place in spring 2019 in the Peace River Region, Fort Nelson, and Vanderhoof. CIRC is also launching a new research project on the gen-dered impacts of the pre-operational "buzz" phase of resource development, focusing on the activity surrounding LNG Canada in Kitimat.

Northern Health (NH) continues to support the Government of BC’s Environmental Assessment (EA) revitalization process. The province recently released an Intentions Paper outlining intended changes and introduced a revised Environmental Assessment Act (Bill 51) in the Legislature on November 5th for first reading. The news release can be viewed here: We are also in the process of applying for funding from Health Canada to conduct a Climate Change and Health Ca-pacity, Vulnerability and Adaptability Assessment for the NH region in collaboration with various partners. The Health and Resource Development Office (HRDO) continues to be busy supporting various EAs and associated condition requirements, and has been continuing to engage with LNG Canada and the Coastal GasLink Pipeline as the projects prepare to move ahead with construction. HRDO will also be hosting an Interagency Meeting this month and is hoping to get a head start on smoke messaging for next summer.


In October, Linda Pillsworth (FNHA Manager, Environmental Public Health Services) attended the BC Social Studies Teachers Association Professional Development Conference. She presented with Tom Okey (BC HUB LEO Net-work Coordinator) and Tracey Murphy (Social Studies teacher, Saanich School District No.63) on their work with the “Student – Elder Inquiry in Environmental Change” project on the LEO Network. The project and a teaching unit were well received and there was some keen interest in the Local Environmental Observer (LEO) Network being utilized as a tool in the classroom to explore the discussion on climate change and its impacts. A benefit noted during the workshops was that the LEO Network provides potential links across different disciplines such as science and social studies.

Our regional team is excited to have Lindsay Beck (FNHA Manager, Population Health & Wellness) back from her maternity leave and we are very thankful for Krista Stelkia’s participation on our case study team in Lindsay’s ab-sence.

For the purposes of the First Nations Population Health and Wellness Agenda, a joint initiative between FNHA and Provincial Health Officer, we were tasked with identifying an indicator that represented an Indigenous understanding of the land-wellness connections that support First Nations physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.

This indicator development process represents an opportunity to shift the paradigm from a seeing the environment as a source of hazards towards an innovative, health promoting and strengths-based approach which fosters recipro-cal maintenance – “to take care of each other, our communities and our natural environment” (Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, 1986). For Indigenous peoples around the globe, the land is paramount. Their and all of human-kind’s health and wellness is inextricably linked to land – the source of life. To further this ‘ecological health indicator’ work, a series of Knowledge Holder Workshops will be occurring in February 2019 where community perspec-tives, knowledge and stories will be shared.


Landowners learn about riparian health assessments along the banks of the Battle River.

Landowners learn about riparian health assessments along the banks of the Battle River.

First off, a big thank-you to everyone who attended the 2018 ECHO Network Annual Meeting in the Battle River watershed! It was wonderful to share a taste of our Battle River landscapes, Saskatoon berries, and local stewards who are working to protect this place that we love. In Fall 2018, the Battle River Watershed Alliance (BRWA) has been progressing its work in the areas of source water protection and riparian restoration. We are involved in a project team of the Alberta Water Council that is developing a guidance document to inform a common approach to source water protection across Alberta and provide implementation tools to support this work. Protecting sources of drink-ing water is an area that would benefit immensely from further integration of health, community, and environment considerations. In the Battle River watershed, this integrative work is currently being undertaken through implementation of the Camrose Source Water Protection Plan. This includes working with agricultural producers to implement beneficial management practices (BMPs) near water, which is the central focus of the BRWA’s Buffalo Trail Riparian Restoration Program. We have been connecting with local landowners through various outreach events over the past year, including this summer’s field day focused on riparian health and livestock watering system options. A number of agricultural producers along the Battle River and tributary streams have expressed interest in implementing BMPs on their land, and the BRWA and our program partners plan to provide technical and financial support for these projects in 2019.

The BRWA was also happy to provide a presentation as part of the October “EcoHealth in Action” webalogue hosted by the western node of CoPEH-Canada. The webalogue highlighted current projects of the four regional cases of the ECHO Network, and was a great opportunity to gain valuable feedback from a wider audience.


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Fall is a very busy time in the NBEN office. Along with several other meetings and events, the annual Children’s Environmental Health Conference will be happening in November. It is titled “Tipping the Balance: Cumulative Impacts on Children’s Health.” It will explore ways in which to address negative cumulative impacts and promote positive cumulative impacts through education and policy change. The conference will take advantage of placed-based learning in a heavily industrialised area of New Brunswick.

In addition to this, our Risks and Benefits Calculator is now operational and live though not available to the public. We will be sharing more information with you during a knowledge to action workshop soon.

We’re growing! Since our last update in July, we’ve welcomed five new people to the NBEN staff; four coordinators and an administration assistant. In fact, we’ve expanded so much lately that we’ve outgrown our current office and will be moving in December. We’re very excited! Also, for the regional case we have a new research assistant, Hara Saadia, who will be working closely with Anne Fauré.

Alex MacDonald