In November 2022, the Government of Canada released its first National Adaptation Strategy: Building Resilient Communities and a Strong Economy, establishing a vision for a more resilient Canada, and setting a whole-of-society blueprint for more coordinated and ambitious action to combat climate change. The announcement also included CAD 1.6 billion in new federal funding commitments to help protect communities across the county.
Like many countries around the world, Canada is feeling the impacts of climate change – from extreme heat and wildfires to floods and storms. This strategy marks another important step forward to equip Canadians to face the mounting impacts of a changing climate, signalling a significant moment for collective action to build resilient communities for a strong economy. The Government of Canada committed to developing Canada’s first comprehensive National Adaptation Strategy in December 2020 through the Strengthened Climate Plan. The commitment was reaffirmed at COP26 in Glasgow. With the release of Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy for engagement and final consultations, the Government of Canada commits to a whole-of-society approach to climate adaptation.
Commenting on the announcement, Sangita Kamblé, President and CEO of ICMIF member the Canadian Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (CAMIC) said: “CAMIC is pleased with the announcement by the Government of Canada on its first National Adaptation Strategy. This announcement is a strong step forward in delivering a strategy with world leading targets and goals that will drive the required progress on adapting to the worst impacts of climate change.”
“The strategy and plan reflect the recommendation of Climate Proof Canada, a coalition to which CAMIC belongs, to set out a plan to address flood, wildfire and extreme heat over five year, important to CAMIC and its members as the strategy delivers on priorities to increase community resilience and better protect against flood, fire and extreme heat while educating those across Canada about the risks faced as a result of climate change. The approach taken looks at all societies so that they can be protected” she added.
The Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan outlines how the federal government is contributing to implementing the National Adaptation Strategy. It provides a framework to organise federal adaptation actions going forward. The Government of Canada is making targeted choices to help meet the Strategy’s goals and objectives, while respecting the federal government’s role and authority for action.
The CAD 1.6 billion in new federal 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 CAD 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;
- and 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 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;
- and 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.