Krogh, Horner. Human Health, Rights & Wind Turbine Deployment in Canada

Krogh, C. and Horner, B. (2017) Human Health, Rights and Wind Turbine Deployment in Canada.
Open Journal of Social Sciences, 5, 166–185. https://doi.org/10.4236/jss.2017.55012

May 17 2017

Abstract

Canada has ratified international conventions which recognize the individual’s right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health. Despite the adoption of these covenants governments sometimes support policies and practises which trade off individual human health with other conflicting interests. This review evaluates the individual’s right to health against government policies and practices which support wind energy deployment in Canada. Our analysis presents government documents, peer reviewed literature, and other references which support the conclusion that wind energy deployment in Canada can be expected to result in avoidable harm to human health. This harm conflicts with contemporary health and social justice principles. Governments have a responsibility to help Canadians maintain and improve their health by generating effective responses for the prevention of avoidable harm. Individuals have a right to make informed decisions about their health. Knowledge gaps and potential risks to health should be fully disclosed. Individuals should not be exposed to industrial wind turbines without their informed consent.

Introduction

Individuals in Canada enjoy the right to the highest attainable level of health and governments have a responsibility to help Canadians achieve this right. To this end Canada has developed health promotion frameworks aimed at achieving health for all. At the same time conflicting interests inherent in our society can result in inadequate health policies and practices and undermine the health and quality of life of many Canadians. The deployment of industrial wind turbines (IWTs) in Canada presents a contemporary example of the individual’s right to health in conflict with competing interests.

The global installed wind energy capacity has experienced rapid growth since 2001 [1]. Coinciding with the operation of IWTs, some individuals living in proximately report adverse health effects [2]. These negative effects can be avoided if IWTs are sited away from residents.

In Canada IWT deployment has been supported by government policy [3] [4], major government funding programs [3] [4] and legislation [5]. In addition some governments in Canada have developed IWT noise criteria which can be expected to result in adverse health effects [6] [7] [8] [9]. In some cases Cana– dian families reporting IWT adverse health effects have: abandoned their homes; or been billeted away from their homes; or hired legal counsel to successfully reach a financial agreement with the wind energy developer [2].

This review considers the definition of “health” adopted by Canada and the individual’s fundamental right to its attainment. Policies and practices which support wind energy deployment in Canada are evaluated in the context of modern health frameworks and the responsibility of government to help main– tain and improve the health of Canadians.

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