Municipalities are on the front lines of climate change, as more frequent and unpredictable floods, wildfires and extreme weather threaten people’s homes, local businesses, and municipal infrastructure.

Protecting Canadians starts locally. Responding and adapting to weather extremes requires collaboration among all orders of government. But people look first to their local leaders to drive local solutions.

Local governments are making the most of current tools to build resilient communities and keep people safe. But local adaptation opportunities far outstrip current federal funding commitments. With new tools, we’re ready to scale up critical local adaptation work—everything from flood mitigation to wildfires breaks, to stabilizing shorelines to enhancing natural infrastructure.

We can’t afford to wait. If we don’t act now, annual costs of extreme weather could rise from $5B next year to $43B by 2050. The good news: every dollar invested in adaptation today saves six dollars in future costs.

FCM urges parties to commit to long-term tools empowering local leaders to protect Canadians from new weather extremes.

Quick facts
the cost of climate change to Canada in 2020
the cost of climate change to Canada by 2050
of all natural disasters occurring in Canada since 1970 caused by floods
Mayor Rebecca Alty

"The City's successful application for Disaster Mitigation & Adaptation funding, supported by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and the North Slave Metis Alliance, represents a significant investment in the City's structural and natural capacity to mitigate the potential economic, environmental and social impacts of climate change, and provides Yellowknife with the ability to respond to disasters triggered by natural hazards and extreme weather events"
Mayor Rebecca Alty, City of Yellowknife

Doug McCallum

"The City of Surrey is working with neighbouring municipal and indigenous governments, environmental groups, the federal government, and additional partners to protect our residents against sea level rise and coastal flooding. This work, on this scale, would not be possible without the federal Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF). Canada has the longest coastline in the world, and the safety of residents and resilience of communities would increase with an expanded DMAF."
Mayor Doug McCallum, City of Surrey

Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin

"With two major flooding events within a span of three years, Gatineau knows first hand about the impact of climate change. The federal government must play a leadership role to provide predictable, flexible, long-term infrastructure funding tools to help municipalities reduce disaster risk and adapt to climate change."
Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, City of Gatineau

Climate change case studies
With predictable, long-term funding, we will see more climate change projects like these:
City of Saint John
Saint John renews anti-flooding infrastructure

The City of Saint John will use $11.9 million from the Disaster Adaptation and Mitigation Fund to support the implementation of a flood mitigation strategy. As part of the project, the city will refurbish the sea wall, raise or replace city pumping stations, and relocate vulnerable electrical utility infrastructure on the Saint John waterfront.

Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay will save money while preventing floods

Thunder Bay, Ontario is using federal investment to launch a $33 million community flood mitigation project. This project includes upgrades to the Boulevard Lake Dam to increase its ability to handle flood waters, separates the combined storm water and sanitary sewers and upsizes existing storm sewers in five neighbourhoods. The project will also install bioretention and biofiltration facilities across the city. These components will work together to increase capacity and substantially reduce the risk of overwhelming drainage infrastructure during significant rainfall. The project is estimated to save $15.30 on recovery and replacement costs for every $1 invested.

Halifax studies flood-prone areas

Halifax Regional Council recently co-sponsored a study with Halifax Water and the National Disaster Mitigation Program that identified the top 10 flood prone areas within the municipality and the recommended mitigation strategies for each of these sites. The costs of such mitigation measures are in the millions of dollars, and more detail study is required.

Surrey, B.C.
Surrey adapts coastal areas to impacts from climate change

In Surrey, the coastal floodplain spans 20 percent of the community, impacting more than 2,500 people. To help their coastal communities become more resilient, the city is developing a Coastal Flood Adaptation Strategy for Surrey’s coastal floodplain area. Funding provided by FCM’s Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program helped fund key background studies needed for the CFAS. On May 24, 2019, the Government of Canada confirmed a $76.6M investment to help implement flood adaptation measures that will increase flood resilience and protect over 125,000 commuters, residents, homes and businesses who are at high risk of coastal flooding.

Fire truck in fire station
Protecting northern Saskatchewan from wildfire threats

85 Northern Saskatchewan communities are better protected against the threat of wildfires after participating in the funding of 141 fuel mitigation initiatives across 1,072 hectares of municipal land. These measures will lower the risk of fires getting started, help in the safe and effective management of outbreaks, reduce property damage, and protect lives.

© 2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities