Canada helps York Region build climate change resilience through urban forest restoration and enhancement

News release

Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario, May 21, 2019—Now more than ever, communities need help adapting to the frequent and intensifying weather events caused by climate change. Reducing the impact of natural disasters such as flooding and wildfires is critical to keeping Canadian families safe, protecting local businesses and supporting a strong economy and the middle class.

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Wayne Emmerson, York Region Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, today announced funding for a project mitigating extreme temperatures, while also reducing the impacts of flooding and erosion in York Region.

The project involves planting trees and adding natural elements to increase the drainage capacity when heavy rainfalls occur. Urban forests are an essential tool to prevent flooding by reducing the volume of water going into the stormwater collection system. The new trees will also help improve air quality and provide relief from extreme urban temperatures for residents.

Once completed, this project will protect over 1.2 million York Region residents against extreme temperatures and flooding. It is also expected to save $23.61 for every $1 invested in long-term savings on recovery and replacement cost.

The Government of Canada is investing over $10.1 million to this project through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund. York Region is contributing over $15.2 million to the project.


“Taking concrete steps to adapt to the impacts of climate change is more and more essential to ensuring a safe prosperous future for our kids and grandkids. This urban forest restoration project will help York Region to prevent the impacts of extreme weather, including flooding, erosion, and extreme heat. The project will increase the air quality for residents and greatly reduce the costs of recovery following extreme weather incidents.”

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Extreme weather is becoming more severe, more frequent, more damaging and more expensive because of climate change. By investing in the infrastructure that protects our neighbourhoods, businesses, and families, we are building communities that can withstand future natural disasters and thrive for generations to come.”

The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety

“The York Regional Forest is made up of 2,300 hectares of protected land, located across our Region. The value of green infrastructure extends well beyond the natural environment.  This funding investment provides York Region with tangible benefits to protecting our communities by putting measures in place to develop a more resilient Region against the impacts of an ever changing climate.”

Wayne Emmerson, York Region Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Quick facts

  • The Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) is a $2-billion, 10-year program to help communities build the infrastructure they need to better withstand natural hazards such as floods, wildfires, earthquakes and droughts. 

  • DMAF is part of the federal government’s Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, which is providing more than $180 billion over 12 years for public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and rural and northern communities.

  • Investing in green infrastructure that helps communities cope with the intensifying effects of climate change is an integral part of Canada’s transition to a more resilient, low-carbon economy, which is among the commitments made under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. 

  • Budget 2019, Investing in the Middle Class, is the government’s plan to create more good well-paying jobs, put homeownership within reach of more Canadians, help working people get the training they need to succeed, support seniors, and lay the foundation for national pharmacare. 

  • With many municipalities across Canada facing serious infrastructure deficits, Budget 2019 proposes a one-time transfer of $2.2 billion through the federal Gas Tax Fund to address short-term priorities in municipalities and First Nations communities.

Associated links


Ann-Clara Vaillancourt
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Jennifer Mitchell
Manager, Corporate Communications, Corporate Services
The Regional Municipality of York

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
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