The federal government of Canada has unveiled its first climate adaptation strategy, which will allow the country to prepare for the worst impacts of climate change.
The so-called National Adaptation Strategy was unveiled at an event yesterday in Prince Edward Island – one of the Atlantic provinces that took the heaviest hits during September’s Hurricane Fiona. The plan hopes to improve Canada’s climate resilience through four approaches: resilient infrastructure; healthier communities; enhanced biodiversity and nature conservation; and an economy and workforce that is more resilient to climate change.
In addition to the resiliency plan, the government also announced $1.6 billion in new federal funding commitments, to support municipalities and townships build infrastructure that can withstand flooding and ensure Canadians have access to information that can keep them safe during wildfires. The funding will also be used to support engagement and work with Indigenous communities on the development of health initiatives related to climate change.
A release from the government noted that this $1.6 billion fund is in addition to the existing commitments it has made to various adaptation, disaster resilience and response efforts, which total over $8 billion to date.
The plan has been lauded by both the insurance industry and environmentalists.
"Canada's first National Adaptation Strategy is brave and ambitious,” said Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) vice president of climate change and federal issues Craig Stewart. “No other country has proposed such a comprehensive suite of adaptation targets.”
Stewart added that the elements added in the government’s plan – particularly the use of clear risk-reduction goals and outcome-based targets – is “world-leading” and critical to the resilience and protection of Canadians.
"The gauntlet is now thrown. The federal government has shown the necessary leadership and rightly expects all of us to step up to help them prioritize and action these elements,” the vice president said.
“The National Adaptation Strategy and corresponding National Action Plan reflect Climate Proof Canada's recommendation to set out a sequence of five-year action plans to address flood, wildfire and extreme heat,” a statement from Climate Proof Canada said.
“Importantly, the National Adaptation Strategy comes with a critical down payment today to begin delivering on key priorities to increase community resilience and better protect communities against flood, fire and extreme heat. This investment will also help educate many across Canada about the risks they face as a result of climate change. This is a smart investment.”
Also this week, the federal government announced that it would be making $585,000 available for a research project that would assess the cost of flooding in Canada’s future. The project, led by l'Université du Québec à Montréal, will be conducted in partnership with IBC, the Université Laval and the University of Waterloo.