Adaptation initiatives in Canada

Adaptation is occurring in Canada, both in response to, and in anticipation of, the impacts of climate change.

Adaptation initiatives have been undertaken by individuals and community groups as well as industry and governments . Much of this work has been achieved through informal actions or strategies in response to specific events or circumstances and where the capacity to take action existed.

Several initiatives address current risks and take into account the likely impacts of future climate change.

Selected Canadian examples:

  • Hunters in the Arctic have increased the use of the global positioning systems to assist navigation in unpredictable or challenging weather.
  • Homes and cottages are being built farther back from the coast.
  • The community of Arctic Bay, NU, has shifted a portion of its narwhal quota from spring to summer hunts to reduce risks associated with ice break-up conditions, and to increase chances of hunting success.
  • Residents of Pointe-du-Chêne, NB organized an emergency shelter in response to increasing flooding risk, and lobbied elected officials for less vulnerable road access.
  • Thermosyphons, self-powered refrigeration devices, have been used in the construction of several major infrastructure projects in the North to induce artificial cooling of permafrost under warming conditions.
  • Agricultural producers are purchasing crop insurance to offset losses caused by inclement weather.
  • The town of Vanderhoof, BC is engaged in a vulnerability assessment pilot project with the Canadian Forest Service with a specific goal of being able to plan adaptation to climate change.
  • New Brunswick’s Coastal Areas Protection Policy establishes set-backs for permanent structures and could facilitate planned retreat.
Adaptation and decision making

Integrating climate change into existing planning processes is an effective approach to adaptation. Rather than dealing with adaptation in isolation from other factors, integrating (mainstreaming) climate change into ongoing planning and policy decision making can provide efficiencies in the use of both financial and human resources. In such cases, climate change represents one of many factors to be considered in decision making.