The Government of Canada creates an expert panel on adapting to climate change
Panel of experts to advise federal government on measuring Canada’s progress in building its resilience to climate change
August 29, 2017 – Gatineau, Quebec – Environment and Climate Change Canada
Taking action to adapt to climate change will help protect the health, well-being, and prosperity of Canadians and manage risks to communities, businesses, and ecosystems. Preparing for the effects of climate change before they happen will make our communities stronger and healthier for this generation and the next. That’s why the Government of Canada is making significant investments to help communities build their resilience to climate change as a key part of our plan to address climate change.
Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced the launch of the Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Results.
The Expert Panel will advise the Government of Canada on measuring progress on adaptation and climate resilience to better understand how federal, provincial, and territorial adaptation efforts are building Canada’s resilience to climate change, for instance, by providing up-to-date information, supporting climate-smart infrastructure, and updating building codes. The panel will also support the federal government in better communicating to Canadians how we are preparing for and adapting to the current and future impacts of climate change.
The Expert Panel will support the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, which is Canada’s plan to meet our greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, build resilience to the impacts of climate change, and create clean growth and jobs through investments in clean technology, innovation, and infrastructure.
Dr. Blair Feltmate, Head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo, will chair the Expert Panel. The panel will also include academic, private sector, government, non-government, and Indigenous representation. The panel will engage with provinces and territories in its work.
“Acting now to deal with current and future climate change impacts will help protect Canadians from climate change risks and reduce their costs from climate-related damage and health issues. By developing made-in-Canada adaptation expertise and technology to deal with the effects of climate change, we will create good middle-class jobs and spur innovation. The work of the Expert Panel will help us to better understand how all levels of government are helping to protect communities across Canada from the effects of climate change.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“All regions of Canada are subject to the impacts of a changing climate. In response to these impacts, the Expert Panel will serve a critical role in informing how we measure progress on advancing resilience and limiting extreme weather risk experienced by Canadians.”
– Dr. Blair Feltmate, Head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo
Climate change is impacting the severity, frequency, and duration of extreme events including flooding, droughts, storm surges, high winds, and heat waves.
The 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire displaced 90 000 people, destroyed 2 400 homes and other buildings, and caused disruptions in local economies. At approximately $3.5 billion, it was the costliest insurable loss in Canada’s history.
More recently, British Columbia has been experiencing its worst wildfire season on record. Since April 1, 2017, 1105 wildfires have razed approximately 10 114 square kilometres of British Columbia. More than 45 000 people have been displaced by the fires this summer, and approximately 2500 people remain evacuated from their homes, with 154 fires continuing to burn. So far this season, wildfires have cost the province $309 million, five times greater than the amount budgeted.
Climate change will significantly impact the frequency, duration, and intensity of heat waves, which can increase heat-related illnesses and fatalities in Canada. During prolonged heat waves in British Columbia (July 2009) and in Quebec (July 2010), public-health officials stated that there were an estimated 156 and 280 deaths, respectively, from heat-related causes.
The Government of Canada has made significant investments in building Canada’s climate resilience. Budget 2017 announced $260 million over five years (2017-2022), building on Budget 2016 investments for adaptation programs on information and capacity, infrastructure, human health and well-being, vulnerable regions, and climate-related hazards and disaster risks such as floods, fires, and storms.
Budget 2017 also provided further details on $22 billion in green-infrastructure investments to boost economic growth and build resilient communities. This investment includes $2 billion for a disaster mitigation and adaptation fund, which is the most significant commitment to date to invest in adaptation by the Government of Canada.
Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll free)
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