The City's Climate Change Action Plan was followed by the Climate Adaptation Strategy, Ahead of the Storm: Preparing Toronto for Climate Change, which outlined a number of actions that will improve the City's resilience to climate change and extreme weather events. The reports, Resilient City: Preparing for Extreme Weather Events and Resilient City - Preparing for a Changing Climate were adopted by City Council in December 2013 and July 2014, respectively, continuing to further the City's efforts in creating a more resilient Toronto.
What is Climate Change Adaptation?
Climate change adaptation can be defined as initiatives and measures taken to reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems to actual or expected climate change effects. Examples of adaptive actions include raising river or coastal dikes, and substituting more temperature-shock resistant plants for sensitive ones, etc.
Toronto's Climate Change Risk Assessment Tool
The City has developed its own climate change risk assessment tool (process and software). The most important benefit of the tool is that City service and infrastructure providers will be better able to identify and mitigate climate change-related risks and take action to reduce the impact of severe weather on infrastructure and key services. This will help avoid significant costs and service disruptions that could harm citizens, business operations, and the natural environment in Toronto.
Climate change risk assessments have been conducted in two City divisions: Transportation Services and Shelter, Support & Housing Administration. Other divisions will follow. A Resilient City Working Group has been formed to facilitate this process.
Toronto's WeatherWise Partnership
Convened by the City of Toronto and CivicAction in 2011, the WeatherWise Partnership is a group of more than 50 public, private and not-for-profit organizations from across the Toronto region that are working together to better protect the region's residents, organizations, infrastructure, and environment from extreme weather.
Examples of Adaptive Actions
The City, residents and businesses are taking action to make our buildings and infrastructure more resilient to extreme weather and improve the city's overall sustainability, including:
- Planting more trees to increase shade and to clean and cool the air
- Increasing the size of storm sewers and culverts to handle greater volumes of runoff
- Proactive pruning of trees to reduce damage to property and electrical power lines during wind storms
- Increasing the inspection and maintenance of culverts on a regular basis and especially after storm events
- Using rain barrels to reduce runoff and capture rainwater for reuse
- Installing permeable surfaces (rather than asphalt, for example) to reduce runoff from heavy rainfalls
- Landscaping with drought-resistant plants
- Changing the slope of the land at the lot level to direct runoff away from proeprty that can be damaged by excess surface water
- Installation of basement backflow preventers and window well guards to reduce flooding risks
- Using cool/reflective materials on the roofs of homes and buildings to reduce the urban heat island effect
- Changing some city workers' uniforms to lighter colours during the summer months
- Health programs such as West Nile, Lyme Disease, Shade Policy, Cooling Centres, Smog Alerts and the Air Quality Index
- Ahead of the Storm: Preparing Toronto for Climate Change(2008) (PDF)
Full document – 46 pages This document describes a series of short-term actions to start in 2008 which will improve our ability to cope with climate change, and 29 longer-term actions that will result in a comprehensive adaptation strategy.
- Ahead of the Storm: Preparing Toronto for Climate Change – Highlights document (2008) (PDF) 19 pages.
Provides a summary of the ‘Ahead of the Storm’ document and its highlights.
- Toronto's Adaptation Actions (April 2011) (PDF) Read the list of adaptation actions undertaken by City divisions and other Toronto Region organizations.
- Public Engagement Report on Climate Change Adaptation (PDF) A series of six public and stakeholder engagement meetings were held to seek input on the proposed priorities and actions in the City’s adaptation strategy framework document: Ahead of the Storm: Preparing Toronto for Climate Change. Read the report to learn more about the meetings and stakeholder input.
- Best Practices on Climate Resilience from Six North American Cities (June 2014) (PDF) Research report on best practices in climate resilience written for decision support purposes for the "Resilient City – Preparing for Climate Change" Staff Report.