New report shows urgent need for climate adaptation investment

Enhancing local projects to better protect Canadians from the effects of climate change​

Ottawa, ON (Sept. 26, 2019) – The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) have released striking new data demonstrating the urgent need for new investments in local climate adaptation—and the areas where that investment is needed most.

According to the report’s findings, avoiding the worst impacts of climate change at the municipal level will cost an estimated $5.3 billion per year shared among all three orders of government. Those investments are critical to helping local communities adapt to the changing climate, and to reduce risk from extreme weather.

“Municipalities are on the front lines of climate change and the more frequent extreme weather that threatens people’s homes and businesses,” said FCM President Bill Karsten. “We’re making the most of current tools to build resilient communities, but there’s more we can and must do to better protect Canadians from the effects of a changing environment.” The report also found that Canada’s eastern and northern regions are most in need of adaptation investments—with flooding, erosion and melting permafrost posing the greatest risk. Among infrastructure priorities, local buildings, dikes and roads require the most urgent upgrades.

“Across the country, our communities are feeling the devastating impacts of climate change as the financial and emotional costs continue to rise,” said Don Forgeron, President and CEO, Insurance Bureau of Canada. “Canadians expect leadership from all orders of government and that leadership includes increased funding for infrastructure that protects us all from the devastating effects of severe weather.”

FCM and IBC are calling on all parties to commit to a two-step approach to build community resilience.

  • Unlock ready-to-go projects, by immediately topping up the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund by $2 billion through 2023-24.
  • Create longer-term federal tools—no less than $1 billion a year for 20 years—engaging with municipal and other partners to determine the full scale of need.

“Protecting Canadians starts locally, and we can’t afford to wait,” Karsten said. “Every dollar invested today in local resilience saves six in future costs. With the right tools, local leaders are ready to scale up critical local adaptation work—and keep people safe.”

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About the Federation of Canadian Municipalities

FCM has been the national voice of municipal government since 1901. Our members include more than 2,000 municipalities of all sizes, from Canada’s cities and rural communities, to northern communities and 20 provincial and territorial municipal associations. Together, they represent more than 90 percent of all Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Municipal leaders from across Canada assemble each year to set FCM policy on key issues.

Canadian municipalities came together in 1901 as the Union of Canadian Municipalities (UCM). The Dominion Conference of Mayors was established in 1935 and by 1937 the two national bodies joined as the Canadian Federation of Mayors and Municipalities—renamed the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in 1976.

Today, we advocate for municipalities to be sure their citizens’ needs are reflected in federal policies and programs. Year after year, our work benefits every municipal government and taxpayer in Canada, and our programming delivers tools that help municipalities tackle local challenges.

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About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, pays $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

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Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC)

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