Additional comments on the National Adaptation Strategy

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What is Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy?

The National Adaptation Strategy will advance a shared vision for climate resilience in Canada that will be based on high-level principles and focused objectives. It will provide a blueprint for whole of society action to help communities and residents of Canada better adapt to and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Setting direction

Like Canada’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the National Adaptation Strategy will also set out short, medium and long-term direction. The Strategy will set transformational 2050 goals to provide a national destination for climate-resilience. It will include 2030 objectives to ensure accountability and progress in the right direction and 5-year action plans. While we are experiencing the effects of climate change right now, we do not know all the ways that climate change will affect us in the future. Because of this, the action plans will be updated regularly, based on the changes that we observe and our further understanding of what works best.

Goals and Objectives for Climate Change Adaptation in Canada

Based on work with partners, stakeholders, and expert advisors, we propose that the Strategy advance climate preparedness across five key systems at the core of our lives and communities: health and wellbeing, infrastructure and the built environment, the natural environment, the economy, and disaster resilience. The Strategy should recognize the connections and relationships among these systems and the climate change risks each one faces.

This systems approach will enable the National Adaptation Strategy to address large-scale adaptation opportunities. Through the long-term goals, medium-term objectives and tangible, short-term priority actions, the Strategy establishes a blueprint for ongoing improvements and innovation.

For each of the five systems, the Strategy would set out:

  • Challenges that climate change poses for that system;
  • Transformational goals (set to 2050, in alignment with Canada’s climate change mitigation targets);
  • Objectives, which outline specific medium-term milestones (set to 2030) needed to make progress towards the transformational goals;
  • Clear actions, which outline priorities for the first five years of the Strategy to enable accountability and focus investments; and
  • Highlights of solutions that are already being implemented.

The following sections outline our proposed direction, based on work with experts and partners so far. Please review them carefully – we want to hear what you think.

Disaster Resilience

Proposed 2050 goal: Communities and all people living in Canada are better enabled to prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the hazards, risks and consequences of disasters linked to the changing climate; the well-being and livelihoods of people living in Canada are better protected; and overall disaster risks have been reduced, particularly for vulnerable sectors, regions, and populations at greater risk.

Proposed 2030 objectives:

Objective 1: Disaster risk management and planning by public and private sector organizations is based on a shared understanding of disaster and climate change risks in all its dimensions of vulnerability, capacity, exposure of persons and assets, hazard characteristics, the environment, and other inadvertent impacts to better prepare for disaster risk response in the future. For example, this could include identifying the top risks, such as flooding, wildfire and heat events, along with concrete actions that could be undertaken by whole-of society partners.

Objective 2: All people living in Canada are able to access information on the climate risks they face in their communities and what actions they can take to prepare for, reduce, and respond to them. For example, this could include strengthening public awareness campaigns on emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction.

Objective 3: An increased, prioritized and sustained investment in Emergency Management (EM) and disaster risk reduction capabilities, and capacity building, across jurisdictions and amongst partners, with a view to leverage this expertise and increase coordination. For example, this could include developing a civilian response capacity with the participation of various orders of government and whole-of-society partners.

Objective 4: People living in Canada have the tools and capacity needed to remain and/or become financially secure and responsive to the threats and impacts of climate-related hazards. For example, this could include developing a Flood Risk Portal where the public could access information on how to better protect themselves and their households from flood risks.

Objective 5: National and regional readiness, mitigation, and recovery plans and policies allow people living in Canada of all socio-economic backgrounds to overcome challenges. For example, this could include incorporating traditional Indigenous knowledge into emergency management plans.

Objective 6: All orders of government have built, and are leveraging, interoperable mitigation/prevention programming across the Emergency Management system. For example, this could include developing standardized tools as well as enhancing public alerting and emergency communications capabilities.

Objective 7: There is a measurable reduction of people in Canada impacted by climate-related hazards. For example, this could include investing in managed retreats and strategic relocations for high flood risk areas and better planning and prevention for urban wildfire interface areas.

Objective 8: Every person living in Canada who was victim of a climate disaster is no longer displaced and their livelihood is restored within one year of onset as a result of relocation, and/or community investments in disaster mitigation. For example, this could include developing new disaster recovery mechanisms and appropriate disaster financial assistance supports.

Health and Well-Being

Proposed 2050 goal: The health of all people in Canada is supported by a climate-resilient and adaptive health sector that has robust and agile systems and services that account for and support the diverse components of well-being.

Proposed 2030 objectives:

Objective 1: Healthcare and public health systems in Canada have the resources, capacity, tools, and competencies needed to continually assess, understand, and reduce priority climate-related health risks.

Objective 2: People living in Canada have equitable access to climate change and health adaptation measures, where they understand their climate change health risks and are knowledgeable in ways to take action.

Objective 3: Climate change and health adaptation decision-making in Canada is underpinned by robust health, socio-economic, and environmental evidence, as well as Indigenous and other knowledge systems, to address climate-related health impacts.

Objective 4: The health sector as well as other health supporting systems are integrating health and climate change considerations into all decision-making processes.

Infrastructure

Proposed 2050 goal: All infrastructure systems in Canada are climate-resilient and undergo continuous adaptation to adjust for future impacts, to deliver reliable, equitable, and sustainable services to all of society.

Proposed 2030 objectives:

Objective 1: Technical standards have been updated or developed to skillfully embed climate change in all decisions to locate, plan, design, manage, adapt, operate, and maintain infrastructure systems across their lifecycle.

Objective 2: A robust investment framework is in place to guide the allocation of sufficient public and private funds towards low-carbon and climate resilient infrastructure, maximizing the long-term benefits of infrastructure investments.

Objective 3: All orders of government utilize a coherent and integrated, community-informed policy and regulatory framework to drive resilience in public and private infrastructure decision-making.

Objective 4: Our increasingly climate-resilient infrastructure systems support the health and well-being in communities and secure economies, with a particular emphasis on prioritizing benefits and eliminating funding gaps for marginalized populations and those in high-risk areas.

Natural Environment

Proposed 2050 goal: Biodiversity loss has been halted and reversed and nature has fully recovered allowing for natural and human adaptation, where ecosystems and communities are thriving together in a changing climate, with human systems existing in close connection with natural systems.

Proposed 2030 objectives:

Objective 1: Human activities are transformed to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, while respecting Indigenous rights and titles.

Objective 2: Inclusive adaptation governance systems are in place that involve communities in the co-development and implementation of actions that support a thriving natural environment.

Objective 3: Indigenous peoples, organizations, and communities exercise self-determination on their lands and territories for ecosystem stewardship initiatives to adapt to climate change.

Objective 4: The power of nature is leveraged, and resilience is enhanced through nature-based solutions that are mainstreamed, underpinned by decision-making frameworks that take into account both the economic and non-economic values of ecosystem services and avoid unintended negative impacts on ecosystems.

Objective 5: Conservation and restoration practices and plans, monitoring programs, and management practices are in place for the ecosystem services most affected by climate change to ensure their continued viability and adaptive capacity.

Objective 6: Decisions on adaptation actions are informed by comprehensive and accessible information on the state of ecosystems and their abilities to adapt and their overall resilience.

Economy

Proposed 2050 goal: Canada’s economy is structured to anticipate, manage, and respond to climate change impacts; and to advance actively new and inclusive opportunities within a changing climate, particularly for communities at greater risk, Indigenous peoples, and vulnerable economic sectors.

Proposed 2030 objectives:

Objective 1: The business case for adaptation is developed through research and knowledge is disseminated to the appropriate users.

Objective 2: The right incentives are in place and disincentives are removed for proactive adaptation.

Objective 3: Canada has a skilled, diverse, and adaptable workforce that is supported by education, training, and knowledge and skills development as the country adapts to climate change.

Objective 4: Investment in adaptation actions and activities is attracted through leadership and collaboration of all jurisdictions, both public and private sectors.

You can use the Forum tab to share any views and ideas on the following questions:

  • Do the goals and objectives for each system capture the full range of action we need?
  • Do the goals reflect where you think we need to be by 2050?
  • Are there important characterizations/outcomes that are missing in the goal statements?
  • Do the 2030 objectives capture where we need to be by the end of this decade? If not, what should be changed?
  • Are any key objectives for your community, organization or sector missing?
  • What steps are you taking in your community, organization or sector to prepare for climate change and to build resilience?
  • Does your community, workplace, or organization integrate climate risks in planning, operations, and management practices? What works best?
  • Are you aware of others that effectively consider climate risks in their community, workplace or organization?
  • Do you agree with the ideas in this platform? Why or why not?

What is Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy?

The National Adaptation Strategy will advance a shared vision for climate resilience in Canada that will be based on high-level principles and focused objectives. It will provide a blueprint for whole of society action to help communities and residents of Canada better adapt to and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Setting direction

Like Canada’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the National Adaptation Strategy will also set out short, medium and long-term direction. The Strategy will set transformational 2050 goals to provide a national destination for climate-resilience. It will include 2030 objectives to ensure accountability and progress in the right direction and 5-year action plans. While we are experiencing the effects of climate change right now, we do not know all the ways that climate change will affect us in the future. Because of this, the action plans will be updated regularly, based on the changes that we observe and our further understanding of what works best.

Goals and Objectives for Climate Change Adaptation in Canada

Based on work with partners, stakeholders, and expert advisors, we propose that the Strategy advance climate preparedness across five key systems at the core of our lives and communities: health and wellbeing, infrastructure and the built environment, the natural environment, the economy, and disaster resilience. The Strategy should recognize the connections and relationships among these systems and the climate change risks each one faces.

This systems approach will enable the National Adaptation Strategy to address large-scale adaptation opportunities. Through the long-term goals, medium-term objectives and tangible, short-term priority actions, the Strategy establishes a blueprint for ongoing improvements and innovation.

For each of the five systems, the Strategy would set out:

  • Challenges that climate change poses for that system;
  • Transformational goals (set to 2050, in alignment with Canada’s climate change mitigation targets);
  • Objectives, which outline specific medium-term milestones (set to 2030) needed to make progress towards the transformational goals;
  • Clear actions, which outline priorities for the first five years of the Strategy to enable accountability and focus investments; and
  • Highlights of solutions that are already being implemented.

The following sections outline our proposed direction, based on work with experts and partners so far. Please review them carefully – we want to hear what you think.

Disaster Resilience

Proposed 2050 goal: Communities and all people living in Canada are better enabled to prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the hazards, risks and consequences of disasters linked to the changing climate; the well-being and livelihoods of people living in Canada are better protected; and overall disaster risks have been reduced, particularly for vulnerable sectors, regions, and populations at greater risk.

Proposed 2030 objectives:

Objective 1: Disaster risk management and planning by public and private sector organizations is based on a shared understanding of disaster and climate change risks in all its dimensions of vulnerability, capacity, exposure of persons and assets, hazard characteristics, the environment, and other inadvertent impacts to better prepare for disaster risk response in the future. For example, this could include identifying the top risks, such as flooding, wildfire and heat events, along with concrete actions that could be undertaken by whole-of society partners.

Objective 2: All people living in Canada are able to access information on the climate risks they face in their communities and what actions they can take to prepare for, reduce, and respond to them. For example, this could include strengthening public awareness campaigns on emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction.

Objective 3: An increased, prioritized and sustained investment in Emergency Management (EM) and disaster risk reduction capabilities, and capacity building, across jurisdictions and amongst partners, with a view to leverage this expertise and increase coordination. For example, this could include developing a civilian response capacity with the participation of various orders of government and whole-of-society partners.

Objective 4: People living in Canada have the tools and capacity needed to remain and/or become financially secure and responsive to the threats and impacts of climate-related hazards. For example, this could include developing a Flood Risk Portal where the public could access information on how to better protect themselves and their households from flood risks.

Objective 5: National and regional readiness, mitigation, and recovery plans and policies allow people living in Canada of all socio-economic backgrounds to overcome challenges. For example, this could include incorporating traditional Indigenous knowledge into emergency management plans.

Objective 6: All orders of government have built, and are leveraging, interoperable mitigation/prevention programming across the Emergency Management system. For example, this could include developing standardized tools as well as enhancing public alerting and emergency communications capabilities.

Objective 7: There is a measurable reduction of people in Canada impacted by climate-related hazards. For example, this could include investing in managed retreats and strategic relocations for high flood risk areas and better planning and prevention for urban wildfire interface areas.

Objective 8: Every person living in Canada who was victim of a climate disaster is no longer displaced and their livelihood is restored within one year of onset as a result of relocation, and/or community investments in disaster mitigation. For example, this could include developing new disaster recovery mechanisms and appropriate disaster financial assistance supports.

Health and Well-Being

Proposed 2050 goal: The health of all people in Canada is supported by a climate-resilient and adaptive health sector that has robust and agile systems and services that account for and support the diverse components of well-being.

Proposed 2030 objectives:

Objective 1: Healthcare and public health systems in Canada have the resources, capacity, tools, and competencies needed to continually assess, understand, and reduce priority climate-related health risks.

Objective 2: People living in Canada have equitable access to climate change and health adaptation measures, where they understand their climate change health risks and are knowledgeable in ways to take action.

Objective 3: Climate change and health adaptation decision-making in Canada is underpinned by robust health, socio-economic, and environmental evidence, as well as Indigenous and other knowledge systems, to address climate-related health impacts.

Objective 4: The health sector as well as other health supporting systems are integrating health and climate change considerations into all decision-making processes.

Infrastructure

Proposed 2050 goal: All infrastructure systems in Canada are climate-resilient and undergo continuous adaptation to adjust for future impacts, to deliver reliable, equitable, and sustainable services to all of society.

Proposed 2030 objectives:

Objective 1: Technical standards have been updated or developed to skillfully embed climate change in all decisions to locate, plan, design, manage, adapt, operate, and maintain infrastructure systems across their lifecycle.

Objective 2: A robust investment framework is in place to guide the allocation of sufficient public and private funds towards low-carbon and climate resilient infrastructure, maximizing the long-term benefits of infrastructure investments.

Objective 3: All orders of government utilize a coherent and integrated, community-informed policy and regulatory framework to drive resilience in public and private infrastructure decision-making.

Objective 4: Our increasingly climate-resilient infrastructure systems support the health and well-being in communities and secure economies, with a particular emphasis on prioritizing benefits and eliminating funding gaps for marginalized populations and those in high-risk areas.

Natural Environment

Proposed 2050 goal: Biodiversity loss has been halted and reversed and nature has fully recovered allowing for natural and human adaptation, where ecosystems and communities are thriving together in a changing climate, with human systems existing in close connection with natural systems.

Proposed 2030 objectives:

Objective 1: Human activities are transformed to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, while respecting Indigenous rights and titles.

Objective 2: Inclusive adaptation governance systems are in place that involve communities in the co-development and implementation of actions that support a thriving natural environment.

Objective 3: Indigenous peoples, organizations, and communities exercise self-determination on their lands and territories for ecosystem stewardship initiatives to adapt to climate change.

Objective 4: The power of nature is leveraged, and resilience is enhanced through nature-based solutions that are mainstreamed, underpinned by decision-making frameworks that take into account both the economic and non-economic values of ecosystem services and avoid unintended negative impacts on ecosystems.

Objective 5: Conservation and restoration practices and plans, monitoring programs, and management practices are in place for the ecosystem services most affected by climate change to ensure their continued viability and adaptive capacity.

Objective 6: Decisions on adaptation actions are informed by comprehensive and accessible information on the state of ecosystems and their abilities to adapt and their overall resilience.

Economy

Proposed 2050 goal: Canada’s economy is structured to anticipate, manage, and respond to climate change impacts; and to advance actively new and inclusive opportunities within a changing climate, particularly for communities at greater risk, Indigenous peoples, and vulnerable economic sectors.

Proposed 2030 objectives:

Objective 1: The business case for adaptation is developed through research and knowledge is disseminated to the appropriate users.

Objective 2: The right incentives are in place and disincentives are removed for proactive adaptation.

Objective 3: Canada has a skilled, diverse, and adaptable workforce that is supported by education, training, and knowledge and skills development as the country adapts to climate change.

Objective 4: Investment in adaptation actions and activities is attracted through leadership and collaboration of all jurisdictions, both public and private sectors.

You can use the Forum tab to share any views and ideas on the following questions:

  • Do the goals and objectives for each system capture the full range of action we need?
  • Do the goals reflect where you think we need to be by 2050?
  • Are there important characterizations/outcomes that are missing in the goal statements?
  • Do the 2030 objectives capture where we need to be by the end of this decade? If not, what should be changed?
  • Are any key objectives for your community, organization or sector missing?
  • What steps are you taking in your community, organization or sector to prepare for climate change and to build resilience?
  • Does your community, workplace, or organization integrate climate risks in planning, operations, and management practices? What works best?
  • Are you aware of others that effectively consider climate risks in their community, workplace or organization?
  • Do you agree with the ideas in this platform? Why or why not?
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    • Do the goals and objectives for each system capture the full range of action we need?
    • Do the goals reflect where you think we need to be by 2050? 
    • Are there important characterizations/outcomes that are missing in the goal statements?
    • Do the 2030 objectives capture where we need to be by the end of this decade? If not, what should be changed?
    • Are any key objectives for your community, organization or sector missing?
    • What steps are you taking in your community, organization or sector to prepare for climate change and to build resilience?
    • Does your community, workplace, or organization integrate climate risks in planning, operations, and management practices? What works best?
    • Are you aware of others that effectively consider climate risks in their community, workplace or organization?
    • Do you agree with the ideas in this discussion paper? Why or why not?