Canada's National Nature Prescription Program, PaRx, Celebrates Two Years in Manitoba
Research shows how important nature contact is for health, including reduced rates of anxiety, depression, respiratory and cardiovascular disease. To help connect Canadians to the health benefits of nature, the BC Parks Foundation launched PaRx in 2020, starting in British Columbia, then expanding to every province across the country including Manitoba in October 2021. From physiotherapists and physicians to nurses and counsellors, we’re grateful to have over 11,000 prescribers registered across the country. To ensure that everyone in Canada has ready access to the health benefits of nature, PaRx has collaborated with outdoor organizations like Parks Canada to provide free or discounted access to green and blue spaces for patients in most need.
This past December, nature prescribing history was made at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal. In addition to significant interest from international health and biodiversity partners in scaling nature prescriptions worldwide, the CMA became the first national physicians’ association in the world to formally endorse a nature prescription program: our very own PaRx. This endorsement is aligned with the CMA’s groundbreaking decision to be the first national physicians’ association in the world to enshrine nature prescribing in policy, recommended as a Call to Action in its Environmentally Sustainable Health Systems in Canada policy to increase environmental stewardship and improve patient health.
“Spending time in nature is something that we can all benefit from, physicians and patients alike. The CMA is proud to endorse a nature therapy program that connects us to the land and all of the evidence-based outcomes it provides,” said Dr. Alika Lafontaine, President of the CMA.
This January, PaRx was proud and grateful to be nominated by McGill University for a prestigious Earthshot Prize. Launched in 2020 by Prince William and David Attenborough, the Earthshot Prize awards individuals or organizations who provide impactful and sustainable solutions that help repair our Earth. Evidence indicates that people who are more nature-connected engage in more pro-environmental behaviours—making nature prescriptions not only good for human health, but for planetary health too.
Please visit www.parkprescriptions.ca for more information on nature prescriptions and to register to become a prescriber.