National Adaptation Strategy – funding implementation

People in Canada are witnessing and experiencing devastating impacts of climate change and there has been much emphasis on the urgency for an adaptation action plan. The National Adaptation Strategy (NAS) is due to be completed by the end of 2022. We hope that it will establish a clear framework for action to achieve climate resilience. The NAS Discussion Paper, published in May 2022, touched on multiple dimensions of climate adaptation needs, showing that adaptation and resilience are cross-cutting issues. This NAS paper focuses on: Health and Wellbeing; Resilient Natural and Built Infrastructure; Thriving Natural Environment; Strong and Resilient Economy; and Disaster Resilience and Security.

Secure, long-term funding will be essential to ensure that the NAS is effective at addressing this multifaceted challenge. In addition to GBC recommended top-ups of existing funds relevant to climate adaptation, we call for the implementation of a new, dedicated adaptation fund to advance key action priorities in the National Adaptation Strategy.

Based on the NAS Discussion Paper, and our knowledge of climate mitigation and adaptation needs, the Green Budget Coalition is calling for investment in five priority areas:

  • Natural and built infrastructure
    • Support for local natural infrastructure that will mitigate impacts of floods and urban heat island effects;
    • See Natural Infrastructure Fund top-up recommendation;
  • Protection of nature
    • Expand funding for the protection, restoration and improved management of ecosystems most vulnerable to climate change in line with Canada’s commitment to halt and reverse nature loss;
    • Invest in management practices and interventions required to maintain the viability of ecosystem services provided by natural areas and fish and wildlife populations;
    • See recommendations on: Permanent funding for land, freshwater and ocean protection and stewardship; Habitat Restoration Fund; and Habitat Infrastructure Renewal Fund;
  • Resilience of vulnerable communities
    • Invest in protecting people and communities that are particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change and those in vulnerable situations (e.g., Indigenous communities, elderly, low-income households);
  • Governance and capacity building
    • Municipal-level funding to support communities impacted by extreme weather events;
    • Support multi-level (i.e., provincial, regional and local government) as well as cross-departmental government coordination to implement NAS action plans and mainstream adaptation into all future investment planning;
    • Help the health sector understand, prepare for, and respond to the impacts of climate change through programs like HealthADAPT;
    • See Creating a permanent municipal climate action fund recommendation;
  • Data and mapping
    • Information tools (e.g., predictive mapping tools for fires and floods) that will better equip communities to prepare for and avoid costly damage from extreme weather events such as floods, drought, fires, and heat waves;
    • Climate vulnerability assessments of existing infrastructure (e.g., roads, bridges, hospitals, transmissions lines) and the development of action plans to improve resiliency;
    • See Supporting evidence-based decision making: improving environmental science & data recommendation, later in this document.

Recommendation:

Prepare a budget and/or create a dedicated fund for NAS implementation and action that could support key priorities that will be outlined in the NAS. [ECCC, INFC, NRCan]