Health Evidence in Municipal Decision-Making: Health Impact Assessment of a Proposed Expansion to Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport
Room UC 179, University College, 15 King's College Circle
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No registration or fee required; all are welcome.
Stephanie Gower, Healthy Public Policy, Toronto Public Health
ABSTRACT: The Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport (BBTCA) is located on the Toronto Islands, close to residential areas, parks, and Toronto’s downtown. A Tripartite Agreement signed by City Council, the Federal Government, and the Toronto Port Authority governs the airport's operations until its expiry in 2033 and currently prohibits jet aircraft or expansion of the airport’s runways. In Spring 2013, Porter airlines requested that the Tripartite Agreement be amended to permit jets at the BBTCA. The public and especially people living in the communities near the BBTCA are concerned that the airport’s current operations may be harmful to health and that the proposed expansion could worsen the situation.
A rapid Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of the proposal was commissioned by Toronto Public Health and considered
a range of health impacts related to environmental, social, cultural and economic factors. This presentation will describe
the scope and findings of the HIA and explain how they informed the policy recommendations that emerged from a health perspective. As a vigorous and multi-faceted debate continues on this issue at both the public and political levels in Toronto, the role of the HIA in enabling health to be considered alongside other municipal priorities will be discussed in
the context of the decision-making process that is currently underway.
BRIEF BIO: Stephanie Gower is a research and policy specialist in the Healthy Public Policy Team at Toronto Public Health. She received her PhD in Health Studies from the University of Waterloo, and holds an adjunct appointment at
the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Her current work supporting a healthier Toronto focuses on health impacts of air pollution and climate change, and on interactions between health and Toronto's built environment.