Ottawa presents its national climate change adaptation strategy

Ottawa released an update to its strategy to make communities more resilient to climate change on Tuesday.

The National Climate Adaptation Strategy was originally released last November. The federal government has since consulted with provinces and territories to get buy-in for the plan, which will require all levels of government to work together.

This strategy is “a roadmap that addresses the whole of society and that defines how to live in a changing climate”, summed up a senior official during a technical briefing to the media on Tuesday morning.

Since 2015, the government has invested $6.5 billion in adaptation, which includes $2 billion since fall 2022.

The National Adaptation Strategy includes a series of targets and goals to build resilience to wildfires, extreme heat, and major storms, such as hurricanes.

Eliminate heat-related deaths

Among the targets presented on Tuesday, Canada intends to eliminate, by 2040, deaths due to extreme heat waves.

In the fall, Ottawa announced the strategy included $30 million over five years to expand Health Canada programs that help people protect themselves from extreme heat, and $13 million over five years to expand other programs. health related to the impacts of climate change.

New maps of flood zones

Among other targets, the federal government, provinces and territories will, by 2028, “collaborate to prioritize at least 200 high-risk flood areas for the development of new flood hazard maps.” “. An amount of $164 million over five years was announced in the fall for the mapping of risk areas.

Building code changes

Also, by 2026, the National Building Code, the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code and the Canadian Electrical Code will have incorporated “additional climate change resilience considerations.”

According to the federal government, new flood and wildfire guidelines and standards for new construction “could save Canada an estimated $4.7 billion a year.”

Ottawa is providing $60 million over five years to accelerate the use of climate-responsive standards for resilient infrastructure.

New urban parks

Ottawa also plans to create 15 new national urban parks by 2030. The government argues that urban forests in the City of Toronto have “generated $3.20 for every dollar invested, lowering air conditioning costs, improving air quality and reducing pressure on stormwater management infrastructure.

$1.6 billion announced last fall

Ottawa announced in the fall that Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy included $489 million over 10 years for the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund. This federal fund already provides funding for smaller projects that address issues such as the risk to coasts from rising sea levels and infrastructure collapse due to thawing permafrost.

The national strategy also provides $284 million over five years to strengthen forest fire management, through measures such as creating wider firebreaks between forests and communities.

The strategy update was released as Canada faces its worst wildfire season on record, smashing the record for the most area burned in a single year in less than six months.

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