November 24, 2022 North Vancouver, British Columbia Natural Resources Canada
Canadians are feeling the devastating impacts of climate change across the country – from illnesses worsened by heat and air pollution to fires and floods in major cities and regions to damages to coastal communities due to extreme weather events. Climate change is warming southern Canada at twice the global average and approximately three times as quickly in the North.
Earlier today on Prince Edward Island, the Honourable Bill Blair, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, released Canada’s first-ever National Adaptation Strategy: Building Resilient Communities and a Strong Economy. The Strategy establishes a common direction for preparing for climate change events across five key systems: disaster resilience; health and well-being; nature and biodiversity; infrastructure; and economy and workers.
Minister Blair also released the Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan, which sets out the federal role in preparing Canadians for climate hazards and outlines specific investments, programs and initiatives that are making Canada more resilient to climate impacts. Minister Blair announced over $1.6 billion in new federal spending to support climate adaptation.
To underscore the importance of the Strategy for Canadians in Western and Northern Canada, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, today highlighted new funding that is being provided to three federal programs that form part of the Action Plan and will be delivered by Natural Resources Canada for Canadians across the country:
● Boosting the Flood Hazard Identification and Mapping Program to:
○ advance nation-wide flood mapping coverage; and
○ share all accessible flood hazard information to help keep Canadians and communities safe.
● Launching a Wildfire Resilient Futures Initiative to:
○ enhance the FireSmart Canada program;
○ increase Canadians’ resilience to wildfire while building wildland fire knowledge through research and pilot projects on fire risk reduction measures; and
○ create a Centre of Excellence for Wildland Fire Innovation and Resilience to help transform wildland fire management in Canada and internationally through innovation, knowledge exchange and supporting Indigenous fire stewardship.
● Launching a Climate Resilient Coastal and Northern Communities program to:
○ support systems-based approaches to adaptation actions in coastal and northern regions, building on the Climate Change Adaptation Program. Pilot projects will work with coastal partners, Indigenous rights-holders and stakeholders to address key knowledge gaps on sea level rise, coastal erosion, permafrost thaw and glaciers, and to develop an integrated approach to planning and implementing regional-scale climate resilience.
The Strategy is now open to the provinces, territories and National Indigenous Organizations for a final 90 days of engagement on the Strategy’s common goals and specific measurable targets and objectives. The Strategy is a result of extensive engagement since 2021 and presents a shared vision for climate resilience in the country and a framework to measure progress nationally.
Making adaptation investments now will have major economy-wide benefits later. Expert research suggests that every dollar invested in prevention and preparation can save up to 15 dollars in costs. Adapting to climate change requires that all orders of government, the private sector and Canadians work together to build resilient communities and a stronger economy, ultimately ensuring Canadians continue to thrive into the future.