Advancing the Climate Resilience of Canadian Infrastructure

A review of literature to inform the way forward

Canada's climate is changing, bringing new risks for its roads, buildings, water pipes, ports, and transmission lines. As past climate parameters can no longer be relied on when making decisions related to the design, construction, and maintenance of new and existing infrastructure, new approaches are needed. An integrated, whole-of-society approach—bringing together all orders of government, sectors, and civil society—is required to increase the climate resilience of the infrastructure supporting Canadian communities.

By Darren Swanson, Deborah Murphy, Jennifer Temmer, Todd Scaletta on July 11, 2021
  • Greater effort and investment are needed if Canada's ageing infrastructure is to keep up with accelerating climate change and close an infrastructure deficit already estimated to be between CAD 150 billion and CAD 1 trillion.

  • Natural infrastructure is becoming a mainstream, cost-effective option for enhancing the resilience of Canada's built infrastructure while also providing communities with other important benefits.

  • A diverse range of strategies, policies, guides, standards, codes, and financing programs have emerged in Canada and internationally to help inform efforts to increase the climate resilience of built infrastructure.

The report Advancing the Climate Resilience of Canadian Infrastructure: A review of literature to inform the way forward is intended to inform and create awareness of an integrated, whole-of-society approach to making infrastructure across Canada resilient to a changing climate. Written for infrastructure owners, designers, builders, operators, investors, policy-makers, and stakeholders, it provides a snapshot of the range of action taking place in Canada and internationally to increase the climate resilience of infrastructure.

The report compiles available information on the impacts and risks of climate change for Canada’s infrastructure from a regional perspective and for six types of built infrastructure. Illustrative examples of current technical solutions to addressing these risks are presented. In addition, it summarizes the range of natural infrastructure solutions that are available to enhance the resilience of communities to climate change. To better understand actions being taken to improve the climate resilience of Canadian infrastructure, the report synthesizes a range of current policies, guidelines, and financing being implemented federally and internationally to inform and incentivize climate-resilient infrastructure.

Report details

Climate Change Adaptation
Focus area
IISD, 2021