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Climate Change Adaptation Strategy


Vancouver City Council has adopted a comprehensive Climate Change Adaptation Strategy to ensure that Vancouver remains liveable and resilient in the face of climate change. 

The landmark strategy recommends nine primary actions and over 50 supporting actions that the City of Vancouver can take to incorporate climate change adaptation measures into new projects and daily operations for all City business.

These actions will guide the way we build and maintain City streets, sewers, building infrastructure, parks and greenspaces to ensure they are resilient to climate change.

Learn more about the primary actions in the background tab.

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Read about this initiative in-depth

Recent developments

Council adopts amendments to the building bylaw to address the increased risk of flood damage

9 July 2014 - As part of the overall strategy to ensure Vancouver is ready for the impacts of climate change and the increased risk of flood damage, Council adopted amendments to the building bylaw that raise flood construction levels.

First Canadian municipality to adopt a comprehensive climate change adaptation strategy

25 July 2012 - The City of Vancouver became the first Canadian municipality to adopt such a strategy based on the proven Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) planning framework; joining other leading cities nationally and provincially in preparing for the anticipated impacts from climate change.

Continuing to build on existing climate change adaptation measures

2012 July - The City started work on several primary actions including integrated stormwater management planning, flood-proofing policy review, and urban forest management planning.  

Water BarrelNine primary actions of the Strategy

  1. Complete a coastal flood risk assessment
  2. Amend flood-proofing policies
  3. Develop and implement a citywide integrated storm-water management plan
  4. Continue with sewer separation
  5. Develop a back-up power policy
  6. Continue to implement water conservation actions
  7. Support and expand extreme heat planning
  8. Include climate change adaptation measures in the next Vancouver Building Bylaw update
  9. Develop and implement a comprehensive urban forest management plan

The primary actions build on existing projects, get us closer to reaching our Greenest City 2020 Action Plan  goals, and provide benefits to the community regardless of the extent of climate change impacts.

Mayor Gregor Robertson at GCAT Conference

Background to developing the Strategy

In 2007 March, Vancouver City Council directed staff to examine potential impacts of climate change on the City's infrastructure and to report back with measures that should be taken to minimize these impacts. A Climate Adaptation Working Group was initiated and included staff from across the City.

In its last term, Council brought adaptation planning back to the forefront as a quick start action under the Climate Leadership goal in the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan.

The City joined the Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI ) Climate Change Adaptation Initiative pilot in late 2010 along with a cohort of local and regional governments across Canada where participants work through ICLEI’s five milestone methodology with the goal of developing and implementing a climate change adaptation strategy over two years.

Steps in developing the Strategy:

  1. Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium at the University of Victoria used climate models to identify anticipated regional climate changes. Impacts from these anticipated changes were identified across the City.
  2. Vulnerability and risk assessments were completed in order to prioritize impacts.
  3. Workshops were created to brainstorm adaptation measures to prepare for, or respond to, impacts.
  4. Adaptation measures were evaluated and reviewed.

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Map of projected sea levels