St. Peters Bay, PEI – As Canadians feel the impacts of climate change—from extreme heat and wildfires to floods and storms—this is the moment to build resilient communities for a strong economy.
Today marks another important step forward to equip Canadians to face the mounting impacts of a changing climate. With the release of Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy: Building Resilient Communities and a Strong Economy for engagement and final consultations, the Government of Canada commits to a whole-of-society approach to climate adaptation. The Honourable Bill Blair, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, alongside the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, launched the Strategy while also announcing the federal government’s action and investment plan for the immediate future.
The announcement includes $1.6 billion in new federal funding commitments to help protect communities from coast to coast to coast. Funding will help municipalities and townships build public infrastructures of the future, such as roads and bridges, that can withstand flooding, make sure Canadians have access to the information they need to stay safe during wildfires, and enable engagement and work with Indigenous communities on the development of region-specific health initiatives linked to changing climate conditions. The additional funding builds on existing federal commitments to adaptation, disaster resilience, and disaster response that total more than $8 billion to date.
New federal funding will help implement the five priority areas of the Strategy:
- improving health and well-being
- building and maintaining resilient public infrastructure
- protecting and restoring nature and biodiversity
- supporting the economy and workers
- reducing the impacts of climate-related disasters
Through the first-of-its-kind Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan, which outlines clear federal adaptation objectives and targets in order to focus policy and spending on measurable results, the federal government is delivering nearly 70 actions to address both immediate and future climate risks to Canada.
The funding announced today includes:
- a commitment to the Green Municipal Fund to help communities deploy funding in climate-focused projects to specific municipal needs of the future
- enhancing the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund to build more new structural and natural infrastructures to increase the resilience of communities
- developing the tools and data services Canadians need to access the right information and support experts with climate modelling and assessments
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 all orders of government, the private sector, and Canadians, to work together to build resilient communities and a stronger economy, to ensure Canadians continue to thrive into the future.
“The fight against climate change has reached our doorstep. We must not only reduce the emissions that cause climate change, we must also adapt to the changes that are upon us. Adaptation is a cost-effective and positive investment in the present and future. Taking measures to adapt can save lives, avoid damage to communities, reduce economic shocks to supply chains, and spur innovative technologies and jobs. Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy, guided by the best available science and informed by diverse views and perspectives, gives us a world-leading and unified path forward.” – The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“The devastating wildfire, flooding and hurricane seasons of the past year have demonstrated that urgent action is required to address the increased frequency and severity of climate-related disasters. The National Adaptation Strategy represents a new chapter in our work of preparing for emergencies that builds on our Emergency Management Strategy and will allow us to implement a risk-based approach focused on whole-of-society engagement to reduce our vulnerability and build Canada’s resilience.”
– The Honourable Bill Blair, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
“It was inspiring to see people and communities in Atlantic Canada come together to support one another in recovering from Hurricane Fiona—an effort that continues in many parts of the region. Working together is key to addressing challenges of this scale, and that’s why Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy proposes a whole-of-society approach to adaptation in this country. Today’s announcement is building on this momentum to help protect communities from coast to coast in the years ahead.”– The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
“Just in the last few years, communities across the country have seen first-hand the devastating impacts of extreme weather events. From Southeastern New Brunswick to the Lower Mainland in British Columbia, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires have displaced communities and damaged critical infrastructure. We know these events are only going to intensify. Working with our partners, our government will invest to ensure Canadians are protected—and the National Adaptation Strategy will be a key tool in guiding those investments.” – The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
“Climate change is the single biggest threat to human health. Adapting to and mitigating the inevitable effects of a changing climate is crucial to improving public health. This Strategy will support Canada in building a low-carbon and climate-resilient health system that can respond to the challenges of climate change while protecting our health from its impacts.” – The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health
“As we continue working to recover from the devastating effects Hurricane Fiona had on Prince Edward Island, it’s clear that we have to help protect Islanders, their homes, and their livelihoods, as well as our iconic natural spaces, from future extreme weather events made worse by climate change. This will not be the last storm. Actions like those proposed in Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy will help Islanders prepare. I’m so pleased that PEI is also so well served by the Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation at the University of Prince Edward Island.” – The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
“Northern and Indigenous communities are already experiencing the severe impacts of climate change on their communities. Our government is continuing its work in collaboration with northern and Indigenous communities to support community-led initiatives to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This includes understanding the impacts of climate change in their communities and co-applying Indigenous knowledge with science-based climate information to build a better understanding of climate change and its impacts.” – The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
“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
- Climate change adaptation refers to any activity that reduces the negative impacts of climate change, or helps people cope with them, or one that takes advantage of new opportunities that result from climate change.
- Every dollar spent on adaptation measures saves $13–$15, including both direct and indirect economy-wide benefits. Every dollar invested in adaptation generates significant benefits. Some examples of this return on investment 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 dollars per one dollar invested
- climate-resilient building codes implemented in Canada have an estimated benefit-cost ratio of 12:1, which is 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 dollar invested by lowering cooling costs, improving air quality, and reducing strains on stormwater infrastructure
- According to the Canadian Climate Institute, by 2025 climate impacts will slow Canada’s economic growth by $25 billion annually, which is equal to 50 percent of projected Gross Domestic Product 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.
- Robust engagement has informed the proposed approach for the National Adaptation Strategy. This engagement includes: input from nearly 120 experts and more than 800 written submissions from diverse stakeholders; more than 20 workshops and roundtables; a national symposium with 1,400 participants; and 16,000 contributions from the public received through the public engagement platform.