Minister Wilkinson Releases New Report Showing Impacts of Climate Change and Necessity of Climate Adaptation

Natural Resources Canada

Across Ontario, Canadians are feeling the impacts of climate change in their communities and on their livelihoods. That is why today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, announced the release of the Ontario Chapter of the Canada in a Changing Climate: Regional Perspectives Report to help inform and support adaptation to climate change in Ontario.

According to the report, temperatures are increasing in the province, with the greatest warming observed in Northern Ontario and the largest increases occurring in the winter. With further warming, heat waves are projected to become more frequent. Annual precipitation is projected to increase along with extreme precipitation events, resulting in increased risk of flooding. Lake levels in the Great Lakes have been highly variable, experiencing both record lows and extreme highs. These changes are affecting Ontario’s communities, environment and economy.

This new chapter also highlights the wide range of climate impacts that Ontario is facing and how the province is adapting. It reveals that Ontario’s infrastructure is vulnerable to climate change and that nature-based solutions help address climate change impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Impacts on biodiversity are magnified through the cumulative effects of climate change, habitat loss, urbanization, pollution and other threats. In the Great Lakes Basin, adaptive management is key for addressing climate change impacts, and adaptation measures improve forest health, carbon storage and biodiversity.

Climate change brings both threats and opportunities to Ontario agriculture and food systems, while existing human health inequities will be worsened by climate change. The chapter also concludes that while adaptation is occurring, progress remains limited.

The report is a part of Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action, Canada’s National Knowledge Assessment of how and why Canada’s climate is changing, the impacts of these changes and how we are adapting. The assessment reports raise awareness and understanding of the key issues facing our country and provide information to support sound adaptation decisions and actions. The Government of Canada is also working with partners in Ontario and across the country on the development of the country’s first National Adaptation Strategy, a whole-of-society blueprint for coordinated action to ensure communities and Canadians are prepared for the impacts of climate change.

By ensuring people in Ontario have access to credible, evidence-based information, this resource will enable them to make more informed decisions to prepare for, and respond to, climate change impacts.

A webinar on August 17 will follow the official release of the Ontario Chapter of the Regional Perspectives Report. Hear directly from the authors about how climate change is affecting Ontario and how communities and sectors are increasingly taking action to adapt.

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