Can we save lives with electric vehicles? Plus the results of the Guelph Attitudes on EVs Survey

eMERGE was delighted to host: Helen Doyle, Laura Minet, Brianna Wilson and Patricia Butt who shared with us their latest research expertise on the health impact of EVs in GTHA and Guelph: Are EVs actually better for our health and the environment?

Dr. Laura Minet, from the University of Toronto, shared her findings from the report, analyzing the health impacts on EVs and cleaner trucks in GTHA and how they can clear the air by reducing pollution. Helen Doyle from the Ontario Public Health Association showed that cleaner vehicles can be a pathway to cleaner air, improved public health, and reduced climate change impacts.  eMERGE Guelph was honoured to be part of the review committee for the report Clearing the Air, written by the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA) Environmental Defence Canada and the University of Toronto.

While some major cities, including Guelph, have celebrated a recent reduction in air pollution related to COVID-19, a pandemic is not the solution we need to reduce air pollution. Brianna Wilson and Patricia Butt, from the University of Guelph – CESI (Community Engaged Scholarship Institute), discussed their new study: Guelph Attitudes on EVs.

We know that there are concerns about the environmental and social impacts of EVs. We’ll be hosting a series of events to delve into that issue in the coming months. This event kicks that series off – looking at the tailpipe health impacts.

A recording of the webinar can be found on our YouTube Channel here!

The slide deck for this webinar is now available here.


Air pollution causes more than 3,000 premature deaths every year in the GTHA – and that affects Guelph, too. One of the biggest sources of this air pollution is vehicle traffic.

This estimate is based on exposure to 3 pollutants – fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and Ozone (O3). Air pollution is linked to lung cancer, respiratory conditions like asthma, allergies and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and cardiovascular conditions like angina, heart attack, hypertension and stroke.

Clearing the Air: How Electric Vehicles And Cleaner Trucks Can Reduce Pollution, Improve Health And Save Lives

And what about Guelph? We can learn a lot from this report and look at it with the lens of another new study by the University of Guelph – CESI (Community Engaged Scholarship Institute) with eMERGE: ‘Guelph Attitudes on EVs’.

What does a shift to cleaner vehicles look like?

Five scenarios in the report compare the health benefits of reducing traffic pollution from cars and SUVs, trucks, and transit buses. Each scenario explores a specific mix of cleaner vehicles, and how this shift impacts air pollution, health, and greenhouse gas emissions in the region.


About Our Speakers

Helen Doyle| BSc, CPHI(C), Ontario Public Health Association( OPHA)

Helen Doyle is chair of the Ontario Public Health Association’s (OPHA) Environmental Health Work Group, working with public health partners to promote and advocate for action on environmental health issues including: climate change, air quality, water quality, housing, built and natural environments and children’s environmental health. She is a member of the OPHA Board of Directors. Helen is also on the Board of Directors for the Windfall Ecology Centre, a Green Communities Canada non-profit organization that delivers environmental programs and services in York Region and Toronto. Helen is a certified Public Health Inspector and retired from York Region Public Health in 2018 following a very rewarding and exciting 30 year career in environmental health and public health management.

Laura Minet | Ph.D., Post Doctoral Fellow at University of Toronto

Laura is a PhD Candidate in Transportation Engineering at the University of Toronto (UofT) and a Postdoctoral Fellow in Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences at UofT. passionate by the issues related to the environment. She works on a variety of projects ranging from the presence of chemical compounds in food packaging to the impacts of traffic emissions on urban air quality, population exposure and health. She is thrilled to be part of the The Da Vinci Engineering Enrichment Program (DEEP) and is excited to share her passion for science and engineering. In her spare time, Laura loves hiking, camping and traveling!

Brianna Wilson | Ph.D. student, University of Guelph

Brianna Wilson is a PhD student in Applied Social Psychology at the University of Guelph. She has worked at the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI) as a Graduate Student Research Assistant since May 2019. Her research interests include violence against women prevention and community-based research practices. Brianna is passionate about conducting applied research that is useful for community organizations to mobilize and make positive social change.

Patricia | Research Assistant, Community Engaged Scholarship Institute

Patricia is a Research Assistant at the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute. She is a graduate student in the Rural Planning and Development program at the University of Guelph.




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