Government of Canada releases Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change in Canada: an update on the National Adaptation Strategy

Ottawa: Canadians are already witnessing and experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change. Canada’s climate is warming two times faster than the global average, and three times faster in the North. Across the country, climate change is affecting our communities, economy and environment, and poses serious risks to our health and well-being. That is why in December 2020, as part of its strengthened climate plan, A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, the Government of Canada committed to developing Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy.

Today, as work continues towards the development of the strategy, the Government of Canada released a report entitled Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change in Canada: an update on the National Adaptation Strategy. The report builds on a first round of conversations with provinces and territories, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, Indigenous representatives, and youth organizations to identify the strategy’s objectives and principles.

Also, the Government of Canada will be launching adaptation advisory tables led by environmental organizations, adaptation experts, Indigenous Peoples, and other key partners, including youth, from across the country. Those partners will have the mandate to create a framework for concrete adaptation action, with aspirational goals and advice on how to face climate change.

The extreme heatwave and wildfires in Western Canada this summer underscore the urgency of adapting to climate change. In the North, thawing permafrost is challenging traditional ways of life and infrastructure. In other parts of Canada, farmers continue to lose crops to both drought and flooding, and coastal communities are grappling with stronger storm surges and coastal erosion.

As warming continues, these kinds of events will happen more often. They demonstrate clearly the need for an accelerated pace of adaptation action alongside continued mitigation efforts. Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy will identify how best to protect Canadians – including through measures that focus investments to increase the resilience of communities, and protect public health and safety, as well as natural ecosystems and biodiversity.

Adaptation is needed and will continue while the strategy is being developed. The federal government has taken significant action to date.

In 2021, Canada announced $3.79 billion in new investments related to climate change adaptation and resilience. This included investments in wildfire resilience, flood maps, health adaptation, and standards to support infrastructure resilience, as well as $1.9 billion announced in Budget 2021 to support provincial and territorial disaster response and recovery efforts. Canada also submitted its first Adaptation Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on July 12, 2021, in conjunction with its enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution.

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