Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, and the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, issued the following statement:
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, we thank the Council of Canadian Academies and the Expert Panel on Disaster Resilience in a Changing Climate for their report, Building a Resilient Canada.
This report highlights the urgency of improving our response to climate change related extreme weather events. Over the course of the last year, wildfires, flooding, heat waves, and winter storms ravaged our communities and our economy. Despite taking strong action to fight climate change, existing changes to global temperatures will result in increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events, which disrupt lives, cause damage to critical infrastructure, and impact our supply chains.
Canadians expect their government to respond accordingly to this mounting threat. As demonstrated in the Speech from the Throne, and Ministerial Mandate letters, and the creation of a standalone Emergency Preparedness portfolio, we are committing to bold climate action, and to strengthening Canada’s integrated approach to emergency management.
Throughout the last two years, we’ve supported Canadians through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and with the historic and devastating impacts of climate-related disasters. During this time, it’s become even more clear that there is a need for stronger collaboration and partnerships, alongside a more complete all-hazard risk assessment to inform emergency management decisions.
We welcome and support the core findings of the Council’s report, including that climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction need to be better integrated. The Government of Canada is committing to stronger knowledge sharing and collaboration practices, and greater collaboration between our organizations – including in the fields of climate change and emergency management. We are also ensuring that Canadians have access the information they need to make informed decisions, and to reduce their disaster risk.
We are already engaged in the process of improving our collaboration and integration across government. More specifically, we are pursuing a number of measures with a view to improving the resiliency of Canadians in the face of the rising frequency and costs of climate related disasters. This includes:
- Engaging with provincial, territorial and municipal governments, Indigenous Peoples, the emergency management community, and other key partners and stakeholders to develop Canada’s first ever National Adaptation Strategy(NAS). The NAS represents a shared vision for climate resilience in Canada. It will provide a framework for concrete action by setting clear goals and indicators to measure progress, will strengthen the business case for adaptation, and will identify opportunities for increased collaboration;
- Working with provinces and territories, Indigenous Peoples, municipalities, and the emergency management community to implement the Emergency Management Strategy to help Canada better prevent, mitigate, predict, prepare for, respond to, and recover from weather-related emergencies and disasters;
- Developing a National Risk Profile to enhance whole-of-society collaboration and governance to strengthen resilience and to improve understanding of disaster risk in all sectors of our communities;
- Advancing flood hazard mapping in areas at high risk of flooding, and co-funding flood mitigation projects through the National Disaster Mitigation Program
- Setting up a Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation to assess viable flood insurance arrangements and measures to support potential relocation;
- Launching a review of the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements program to ensure there is an updated, sustainable system available to provinces and territories for disaster recovery and for the safety and well-being of Canadians;
- Integrating climate resilience into the National Building Code and conducting research to factor climate resilience into the design of buildings; and
- Providing funding for infrastructure projects through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, to help communities better withstand the potential impacts of hazards.
This work is interconnected, and as we begin to finalize the National Adaptation Strategy and implement key components of the Emergency Management Strategy, we remain committed to transparency and to making the data that informs our strategic direction available to everyone. We will continue to help Canadians whose jobs and lives are affected when disasters strike, help communities deal with the realities of increased climate-related risks and disasters, and ultimately, increase our resiliency to the impacts of climate change.
We thank the Council of Canadian Academies and its panel for the insights shared in this report, and look forward to working closely with experts across the emergency management and climate change adaptation fields to realize our shared goal of a more resilient and climate- adapted Canada.”