June 25, 2024

On the anniversary of the deadly 2021 Heat Dome, communities demand life-saving heat pumps for all


On the anniversary of the deadly 2021 Heat Dome, communities demand life-saving heat pumps for all 

A new campaign is pushing Members of Parliament to champion a Universal Heat Pump Program that would guarantee access to the life-saving, pollution-cutting technology

Vancouver – As Canada marks the three-year anniversary of an unprecedented heat dome that shattered temperature records across Western Canada and killed 619 people in B.C., momentum is building behind a community-led campaign demanding a publicly-owned entity that would deliver life-saving Heat Pumps for All. Launched by climate action advocacy group 350.org, the campaign has already gathered thousands of petition signatures and will officially kick-off this week with a national organizing call and the release of a short documentary. 

“Extreme heat kills, but these are entirely preventable deaths. There’s a simple measure the federal government should have taken in the aftermath of the Heat Dome to make sure a tragedy like this never happens again: give a free heat pump to everyone who needs one.” –  Atiya Jaffar, Interim Canada Team Lead at 350.org

A report by the B.C. Coroners Service showed that most of the people who died in the Heat Dome were elderly or vulnerable people who didn’t have access to fans or air conditioning. Since heat pumps work as both highly-efficient cooling systems during the summer and as replacements for gas furnaces during the winter, they can save lives, reduce energy bills, and help Canada slash carbon pollution.

“We need to make sure that people have access to indoor cooling that’s not going to worsen climate change at the same time. “That means electric heat pumps instead of gas heating. They can both heat and cool, and are more energy efficient.” – Dr. Melissa Lem, President of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, in a short documentary, titled “Heat Pumps Save Lives,” premiering this week as part of  the Heat Pumps for All campaign.

With a local petition in all 338 ridings across Canada, volunteers with the Heat Pumps for All campaign are working to build nationwide support for a Universal Heat Pump Program and to reach every Member of Parliament. Supporters will gather online this Wednesday, June 26 at 4pm Pacific / 7pm Eastern to honour the lives lost in the 2021 Heat Dome, watch 350.org’s new short documentary about a housing co-op where a community-wide heat pump installation saved lives, and build momentum for the campaign . Journalists are welcome to attend and can RSVP at 350.org/J26


Chris Gusen | [email protected] | 613-305-9795