Question Period Note: National Adaptation Strategy


Reference number:
Date received:
Nov 24, 2022
Public Safety Canada
Name of Minister:
Blair, Bill (Hon.)
Title of Minister:
Minister of Emergency Preparedness


Release of the National Adaptation Strategy

Suggested Response:

• Hazards such as floods, wildfires, and extreme heat are increasing in frequency and severity, and represent a mounting threat to the safety of Canadians and the economic viability of Canadian businesses and communities. This is expected to continue into the foreseeable future as a result of climate change.

• The Government of Canada is committed to building resilience to these hazards, especially as we witness the growing impacts of climate-related disasters across Canada.

• This is why the Government of Canada is developing the Country’s first National Adaptation Strategy to support a shared vision for a resilient Canada. The Strategy will adopt a whole-of-society approach to unite all orders of government, Canadians, Indigenous Peoples, private sector, academia, and civil society, to align collective actions for faster, coordinated, and systemic adaptation to the impacts of climate change.

• As Minister of Emergency Preparedness, I am committed to working with whole-of-society partners to build resilience to the impacts of climate change, especially as we witness the growing impacts of climate-related disasters to Canadians.

• To help develop the National Adaptation Strategy, Public Safety Canada co-chaired an Advisory Table on disaster resilience and security, with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, with diverse stakeholders and experts. The Table’s advice identifies actions to advance priorities under Canada’s Emergency Management Strategy, with a focus on addressing floods, heat events, wildfires and recovery.

• Moving forward, the Government of Canada is committed to advancing efforts on climate adaptation and ensuring that Canadian communities are better prepared for the disaster risks they face.


Climate-change driven hazards are increasing in both frequency and costs, and are a mounting threat to the safety and economic viability of Canadian businesses and communities. In order to help control escalating disaster costs, Canada is in the process of shifting its approach to managing disaster risks. This involves moving from a reactive government-focused model to a proactive whole-of-society framework with a focus on disaster risk reduction, prevention and mitigation.

Disaster mitigation involves proactive measures to eliminate the risk of disasters before they occur in order to protect lives, property, the environment and reduce economic and social disruptions. International studies have demonstrated that when structural and non-structural measures are implemented in concert, the result is a 6:1 return-on-investment. A well-known example involves the significant investment in non-structural and structural mitigation along the Red River in Manitoba, which has generated a return-on-investment ratio at 27:1. The cumulative total of this work was over $1.1 billion, but it has prevented an estimated $30.3 billion in losses.

Reducing disaster risk and vulnerability and building resilient communities are objectives supported by the activities of a range of federal departments and agencies. Public Safety Canada working on creating a new low-cost national flood insurance program, as well as an action plan to assist homeowners with potential relocation. Canada is also working in collaboration with provinces, territories and Indigenous communities, we are working to complete flood maps for areas at the highest risk of flooding in Canada.

In December 2020, as part of its strengthened climate plan, A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, the Government of Canada committed to develop Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy (NAS) with provincial, territorial and municipal governments, Indigenous Peoples, and other key partners. In January 2021, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness was tasked to work with the Minister of Natural Resources, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and the Special Representative to the Prairies to develop a national climate change adaptation strategy.

The NAS establishes a shared vision for climate resilience in Canada, key priorities for collaboration, and a framework for measuring progress at the national level. The Strategy offers the opportunity to unite actors across Canada through shared priorities, cohesive action, and a whole-of-Canada approach to reducing climate change risks.

While Environment and Climate Change Canada leads this work, other federal Departments stood up Advisory Tables to lead work under thematic pillars. Each Advisory Table has been co-chaired by an organization outside of the federal government: Health and Wellbeing (Health Canada); Resilient Infrastructure (Infrastructure Canada); Thriving Natural Environment (Environment and Climate Change Canada); Strong and Resilient Economy (Natural Resources Canada); and Disaster Resilience and Security (Public Safety Canada).

The Disaster Resilience and Security Advisory Table, co-chaired with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, consists of diverse stakeholders, including representatives from National Indigenous Organizations, non-governmental organizations, academia, industry and others.

Advisory Table engagement has demonstrated that stakeholders are looking for significant, immediate and tangible actions in the area of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, especially as we see events unfolding in our country which demonstrate the growing impacts of climate-related disasters to Canadians. As such, the Advisory Table identified actions to strengthen Canada’s preparedness and readiness to disaster events with a focus on floods, heat events, wildfires and recovery.

The Advisory Table built on existing work underway for the Emergency Management Strategy for Canada (EMS), which establishes FPT priorities to strengthen the resilience of Canadian society by 2030 and Canada’s ability to assess risks and to prevent/mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. These EMS initiatives include the National Risk Profile, flood risk management, emergency preparedness and capacity building. The NAS will continue to mutually support, and complement, concurrent work under the EMS.

Moving forward, the NAS will aim to reduce climate change risks, increase adaptive capacity, and ultimately accelerate the pace and scope of adaptation action required to meet the urgency of the climate change impacts we are witnessing. By providing a national framework for action, the NAS will help ensure that all parties have clarity on roles and responsibilities in disaster risk management, and support adaptation actions that are cohesive, targeted, and strategic.

Additional Information: