Press release

Winnipeg Forum to Determine How Canada Should Advance Natural Infrastructure

Experts from across the nation are meeting in Winnipeg at Canada’s first-ever Natural Infrastructure Forum.

November 12, 2018

WINNPEG, November 13, 2018—Experts from across the nation are meeting in Winnipeg at Canada’s first-ever Natural Infrastructure Forum.

They will kick start a national discussion on how we can direct the millions of dollars invested by governments, including the governments of Manitoba and Canada, in natural infrastructure to build cities, towns and landscapes that are more resilient to climate change.

The event will is being hosted in Winnipeg at Convocation Hall at the University of Winnipeg on Wednesday November 14, 2018, and media are invited to attend from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Manitoba’s Minister for Sustainable Development Rochelle Squires, as well as Ontario MPP Toby Barrett will open the event at 9:00 a.m. Craig Stewart, from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, will lead a panel discussion on how we can utilize existing federal and provincial programs aimed at preserving Canada’s abundant natural infrastructure resources.

In the face of rising climate uncertainty, Canada is increasingly using natural infrastructure (such as wetlands and urban forests) as a complement to traditional grey infrastructure to build resilience in the face of climate change.

In fact, a recent report from the Insurance Bureau of Canada revealed that Manitoba, and Canada more broadly, could save millions of dollars and mitigate the impacts of natural disasters such as flooding, by investing in natural infrastructure, that can bring humans and the environment a whole host of benefits.

“Investing in natural infrastructure like wetlands can be cheaper and more effective than traditional built infrastructure” said David McLaughlin, Director of Climate Change for Canada at the International Institute for Sustainable Development. “It is fast becoming a smarter option for cities and communities looking to adapt to climate change and protect residents from flooding.”

 “It is important to get the right people in the room, so we can work together to move Canada’s natural infrastructure agenda forward,” said Lara Ellis, Vice-President, Policy and Partnerships at ALUS Canada. 

With presentations and discussions led by 14 expert speakers from across the country, the Forum will explore why natural infrastructure is an important and efficient use of financial resources, and how we can accelerate natural infrastructure projects and activities across the country through financing and implementation measures.

The Natural Infrastructure Forum is being organized by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), ALUS Canada, A Weston Family Initiative, and the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), with support from the Province of Manitoba.


Sumeep Bath, Communications Manager, IISD Experimental Lakes Area; (204) 599-2595


The international team of multi-disciplinary experts at the International Institute for Sustainable Development, headquartered in Winnipeg, delivers the knowledge to act. We tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems by conducting innovative research, generating evidence and championing sustainable solutions.

ALUS Canada, A Weston Family Initiative, is a national charitable organization that works with farmers and ranchers to establish and maintain green infrastructure projects that produce ecosystem services for Canadian communities. There are currently more than 18,500 acres enrolled in the ALUS program by 575 participants, from 21 communities in five provinces, and the program is rapidly expanding.

​​​Established in 1964, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the Canadian property and casualty insurance market. IBC works on a number of fronts to increase public understanding of home, auto and business insurance.

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.

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