Minister Wilkinson Announces New Programs That Combat the Risks Canadians Face From Flooding, Wildfires and Coastal Erosion in Support of Canada's First National Adaptation Strategy

NORTH VANCOUVER, BC, Nov. 24, 2022 /CNW/ – 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.                    

Quotes

Canadians in every region of the country are already feeling the effects of climate change, and the costs of these impacts are projected to rise to $25 billion by 2025 and to the range of $100 billion annually by 2050. Inaction is not an option. Through the National Adaptation Strategy, we will advance key resilience and adaptation measures to mitigate these changes, preserve livelihoods and protect our communities and the critical infrastructure we depend on. The result will be a stronger, safer and more prosperous place to call home.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson

Minister of Natural Resources

Canada is warming at twice the global rate and approximately three times the global average in the North. While we must keep fighting climate change, we must also be better prepared for the changes we are already seeing. Adaptation is about reducing the impacts of climate change on Canadians and communities and being better prepared to respond and recover. Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy gives us a world-leading and unified path forward not only to adapt but also to thrive under changing conditions.”

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault

Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick Facts

  • Canada launched a Map of Adaptation Actions in 2019 that provides engineers, public health professionals, urban planners, mayors and anyone else involved in long-term planning with user-friendly climate change information, data, resources and tools. Visit www.climatedata.ca to learn more.
  • Some of the Government of Canada’s most significant existing spending measures to support climate adaptation include:
    • $2.2 billion for 72 infrastructure projects across the country through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, to help communities better prepare for, and withstand, the potential impacts of natural disasters, prevent infrastructure failures and protect Canadians;
    • $3.2 billion for the 2 Billion Trees program, helping tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss while also contributing to multiple co-benefits such as increasing the resilience of forests to climate change and reducing community risks to natural disasters like flooding and wildfires.
    • $1.5 billion for the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings Program to provide municipalities, Indigenous communities and non-profit organizations with funding for building retrofits, including to enhance climate resiliency, and to build net-zero and climate-resilient new builds.
    • $200 million for the Natural Infrastructure Fund to support municipal and community projects that use natural or hybrid approaches to protect the natural environment, support healthy and resilient communities, and contribute to economic growth and jobs.
    • $200 million for the Agricultural Climate Solutions program to support farmers in adopting beneficial management practices that store carbon, reduce greenhouse gasses and enhance climate resiliency in three areas: nitrogen management, cover cropping and rotational grazing practices.
  • By 2025, climate impacts will slow Canada’s economic growth by $25 billion annually, which is equal to 50 percent of projected GDP growth.
  • By 2030, the average annual losses from disasters is forecast to reach $15.4 billion — a forecast that can be reduced by ambitious adaptation action.
  • Flooding is Canada’s costliest hazard, with average residential costs of $2.9 billion per year.
  • Analyses of adaptation actions across Canada revealed that, on average, every dollar invested in adaptation generates significant benefits. Some examples include:
    • Implementing new flooding and wildfire guidelines and standards for new construction could save Canada an estimated $4.7 billion a year — saving nearly $12 per $1 invested.
    • Climate-resilient building codes implemented in Canada have an estimated benefit–cost ratio of 12:1 — equivalent to a 1,100 percent return on investment.
    • Urban forests in the City of Toronto have been shown to generate $3.20 for every $1 invested by lowering cooling costs, improving air quality and reducing strains on stormwater infrastructure.
  • The Government of Canada is continuing to invest in making life more affordable for families across the country by helping homeowners switch from expensive home heating oil to energy-efficient cold-climate heat pumps through a $250 million investment for the Oil to Heat Pump Affordability Grant, a new stream to add to the existing Canada Greener Homes Initiative.

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SOURCE Natural Resources Canada

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