Vancouver Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

Vancouver, Canada’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy proposes actions to respond to increased heavy rain events, sea-level rise, more intense storms, and hotter and drier summers. The 2012 plan integrates climate adaptation strategies into existing and planned projects to ensure that adaptation efforts are mainstreamed into the City’s agenda.

As outlined in chapter 2, the plan draws on a methodology outlined in ICLEI Canada’s “Changing Climate, Changing Communities” mitigation planning guide. Following initial interviews with key stakeholders, a working group conducted a risk and vulnerability assessment. This was used to identify the relevant climate impacts and evaluate potential strategies for addressing them. Through a series of workshops attended by city staff, Vancouver prioritized actions into “must do”, “monitor” or “investigate further” categories.

Social equity concerns are addressed by the following two objectives from the plan:

  • Objective 3.1: Reduce safety and health risks for the homeless and low-income populations due to inclement weather. This will involve increasing sheltering capacity and pursuing more aggressive mold remediation. 
  • Objective 4.2: Decrease morbidity and mortality during heat events, especially within "vulnerable populations." For this, the plan proposes developing a map that overlays demographic data with tree canopy data. 

Chapter 3 of the plan outlines the relevant climate science and chapter 4 discusses the expected climate impacts, including how it will impact infrastructure, public health, vulnerable populations, the economy, habitats and green space, and the coastal zone. Cross-cutting issues are described 

In chapter 5 the plan proposes a series of actions to respond to specific climate impacts. For each action, the plan also lists supporting strategies that will allow Vancouver to meet the goal. For example, the plan explains that Vancouver plans to separate the sanitary and stormwater sewers by 2050 to better prepare the city for heavy rain events. For this goal, the plan also suggests that the City incorporate rainfall projections into street designs and implement stormwater detention efforts when redesigning parks.

The plan focuses primarily on actions that the City can independently implement, but notes that climate adaptation will involve collaboration between multiple levels of government, the private sector, and community groups. The plan also aims to integrate adaptation into other existing plans, policies and programs including their Integrated Stormwater Management Plan, Greenest City Action Plan, Urban Forest Management Plan, and the Vancouver Building By-Law Update. 

Additional information - including a decision matrix, details on the vulnerability and risk assessment, climate model projections, adaptation challenges and responses, and potential adaptation indicators - are included in appendices. 



Publication Date: November 7, 2012

Related Organizations:

  • City of Vancouver, Canada


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Adaptation plan


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