Canadian Climate Change Adaptation Policy

Spotlight Activity: Canadian Climate Change Adaptation Policy

Canadian climate impact risks include coastal erosion; thawing permafrost and glaciers; decreasing water supplies; more frequent heat waves, wildfires, and high winds; winter road failures; droughts and flooding; food insecurity; sea-level rise, rising temperatures; infrastructure disruptions and replacement costs of essential services; and changing forestry, fisheries and agriculture. The cost of no action on climate change is greater than the cost of action: Our Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change policy (Dec. 2016) to reach Paris Agreement targets states: climate change could cost $21-$43 billion per year by 2050, given 2011 estimates from our past National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

Indigenous Peoples, northern and coastal regions and remote communities in Canada are particularly vulnerable given their geographic location, socio-economic challenges, and for Indigenous Peoples, a reliance on wild food sources. The Framework recognizes Canada’s Arctic average temperatures have grown at a rate nearly three times that of the global average.

Adaptation is not new. ‘Canada’s Adaptation Platform’ (2012) has regional centres (started in 2007)and working groups that share expertise, science, data and technology among governments, industry, academics, and professional groups collaborating with Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge and communities. Action priorities such as regional capacity, more resilient infrastructure and climate-resilient standards help create collaborative decision-making to lessen future costs. Traditional infrastructure (such as roads, dykes, seawalls, bridges, and permafrost measures) will require upgrades. Living natural infrastructure (such as constructed/ managed wetlands and urban forests) can build on communities and ecosystems along with benefits, such as carbon storage and health support given extreme heat, air pollution, and vector-borne diseases).


Status: Right Direction

Canada’s Platform includes a governance body chaired by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), subject working groups and a Secretariat. Issues include agriculture, biodiversity adaptation, coastal management, economics, energy, forestry, infrastructure and buildings, measuring progress, mining, the North, regional collectives and tools, science assessment, water and climate information and enhancing uptake. Thus, many major issues are taken on through regional efforts.

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    The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources
    House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
    Telephone: 613-992-1013
    Fax: 613-992-1026

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