The Ecology Action Centre is pleased with the release of Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy.
We applaud the efforts of the federal government in centering the most at-risk populations in the strategy, and are pleased with the commitment to continually review the objectives and evaluate progress. However, the strategy is missing several promises that would make it more effective in implementation.
As identified in the strategy, there is no better time than today to invest in adaptation plans and infrastructure. We are already seeing billions of dollars' worth of damage and further billions spent on mitigating the worst effects of climate change in Canada. The future costs to be borne by communities and governments are recognized in the strategy to be significantly higher than current adaptation spending commitments. These spending commitments must be significantly increased in order to meet the strategy’s targets.
The strategy falls short when it comes to a lack of a commitment to inventory critical and at-risk infrastructure, which should be the very first step in determining project priorities. In addition, there is no mention of preventing rebuilding of damaged communities and infrastructure in known risk areas, or managing retreat prior to disaster. The strategy states support for accelerating the use of nature-based solutions, but there are no requirements to include them as part of federal or federally funded projects. The inclusion of these commitments would better enable the strategy to achieve the desired outcome of a climate-resilient country going forward.