Introduction to Accelerating Climate Change Adaptation in Canadian Municipalities
Since 2005, Clean Air Partnership (CAP) has produced numerous reports on climate change adaptation and delivered adaptation training workshops across Ontario. Through these efforts, and our other work on local climate change adaptation, CAP has connected with municipal representatives across Ontario and identified a number of key recurring gaps relating to climate change adaptation in Ontario municipalities.
There have been few publicized examples of ongoing municipal adaptation practices. However, actions to protect municipal infrastructure and health have, in fact, taken place, often in response to significant incidents and events that result in damage to persons or property. Generally, these actions have not been well documented nor have they been identified as climate change adaption activities.
Municipalities have not optimized knowledge transfer through the sharing of experiences, challenges and lessons learned, and actions are often not monitored and evaluated to determine their outcomes. Additionally, motivation for local adaptation tends to be reactive rather than preventative and the business case for cost savings from prevention has not been adequately communicated.
Funded by Natural Resources Canada, Accelerating Adaptation in Canadian Communities is a series of nine case studies and three webinars. Through this program, CAP is trying to close these gaps to:
- Review and update understanding of the current state of climate change adaptation in Ontario municipalities.
- Find and describe the experiences of municipalities that have begun adaptation actions;
- Motivate more municipalities to undertake actions through interactive webinars and informative case studies.
Through the completion of this series, numerous types of adaptation have been examined, including programs and initiatives, decision support tools and plans and policies. The drivers behind these adaptation options were both anticipatory and reactive. Municipal sectors covered include infrastructure, water conservation, public health, food, natural systems and planning. Reflecting Ontario’s geography, the case studies cover all regions of the province.