The federal government is expected to release its draft national climate change adaptation strategy shortly. According to Insurance Bureau of Canadathe objectives that will be set out in the strategy should include specific targets.
On March 30 in Vancouver, the forum took place 2022 World Cupa conference bringing together business leaders and researchers working on the transition to an economy based on sustainable growth.
Many representatives of the Trudeau government took part in the activity, including ministers Steven Guilbault and Jonathan Wilkinsonrespectively holders of the portfolios of theEnvironment and Climate Change and Natural Resources Canada.
During the forum, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) organized a round table in which the two ministers above participated, as well as representatives of insurers and the municipal world, professional associations and national Aboriginal organizations. . The activity was carried out jointly with the Climate Change Institute.
The roundtable focused on the development of the National Adaptation Strategy, which will outline how Canada’s economy and society can be more resilient and better prepared to deal with the impacts of climate change.
Craig StewartBAC’s vice-president for federal affairs, explains to the Insurance Portal the context that led to the organization of the forum and the industry’s expectations regarding this strategy. The advisory committee was created last fall. He published his report in January.
“It dealt with the objectives to be achieved in five main areas: health, infrastructure, natural ecosystems, the economy and resilience to climate change,” he says.
The document is expected to be published at the same time as the draft strategy will be officially unveiled for public consultation, by the end of April. The national strategy will then be launched before the end of the autumn.
A concerned minister
At the same forum, Minister Guilbault presented his 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Canada’s Next Steps for Clean Air and a Strong Economy.
“Minister Guilbault was very present during the round table and he asked excellent questions. To be honest, I think the launch of the GHG emissions plan took up a lot of his time and he wasn’t necessarily very well prepared for our discussion. But he got in there and focused on the right questions, and he assured the participants that their concerns had been heard,” said Mr. Stewart.
“When we think of adaptation, we believe that most people are concerned about natural disasters such as floods, forest fires, tornadoes or hailstorms that we have experienced in recent years. We found that the exchanges did not allow us to help Canadians prepare to mitigate the damage related to this type of disaster,” he says.
The round table of the Global 2000 forum aimed precisely to clarify the expectations of stakeholders on the most important risks to be monitored and the means to be taken to mitigate the damage they cause. The 90-minute discussion was very informative for the government, according to Mr. Stewart.
The vice-president of the BAC believes that objectives to be achieved by 2050 are necessary, but they must be followed by criteria and indicators. “We believe in defining concrete targets, with a timetable for each sector of activity and the means to be taken to achieve them,” he says.
For example, the national strategy could plan to reduce the number of deaths resulting from the harmful effects of a heat wave by 90% by 2030. “What does it take to get there? This may mean, for example, subsidizing the purchase and installation of air conditioners or air exchangers that target the most vulnerable people,” suggests Craig Stewart.
The government has already promised to sequester carbon by planting 2 billion trees in the short term, he adds. “It could use part of this investment to green neighborhoods and create parks in urban centers where the heat wave is most damaging,” he adds.
According to him, it is important that the strategy be associated with specific programs aimed at achieving the targets, and these concrete measures are not all very costly.
Craig Stewart remains optimistic that Canada will have accurate and accessible floodplain mapping by the end of 2023. IBC has been calling for this update for several years. “It’s coming, the funding is complete, the government is committed,” he said.
The national flood insurance program is also the subject of negotiations between the Canadian government and the provinces. This project should also be completed within 18 months, according to Mr. Stewart. “The will is there, the insurance industry is ready to play its part as a partner, so I believe the work is on the right track,” he says.
Floods are the scourge on which the industry has given the most thought along with the various levels of government. The national strategy should therefore include very specific targets in this area.
“I’m a cautious optimist and believe we’ll have a serious plan on climate adaptation in the fall. But it is important that the population expresses its expectations for the future and that its concerns are considered by the authorities,” concludes Craig Stewart.