"My grandmother once told me, 'Grandson, you or your son may one day see a winter without snow'

Preparing for the future climate

Preparing for the future means taking measures such as improving surface drainage to prevent
flooding during severe rainstorms; being sure that land for expansion of communities will not be
submerged by lake and river flooding; ensuring that Health Centre staff are familiar with newly
appearing diseases like Lyme Disease; equipping a building with air conditioning to deal with
summer heat stress in elderly people; being ready to evacuate people with breathing problems if
smoke from wildfires reaches a community; considering ways of protecting communities from
the flames of wildfires; and making people aware of thin ice and shallow water when travelling.


What is climate change adaptation planning?

Changing climate is impacting people in many different ways and in many different aspects of their lives: more severe and frequent rainstorms have resulted summer flooding in southern Ontario, severely disrupting travel and damaging infrastructure; warmer and shorter winters in the far north of the province have led to fewer weeks of winter roads for transporting fuel, construction materials and other heavy loads; more numerous wildfires in the Boreal forest, started by lightning strikes and fuelled by forest floor litter dried by summer drought, threaten northern communities in the summer; changes in the migration patterns of geese and caribou are disrupting subsistence hunting.

Many other consequences are affecting agriculture, health, water supplies, recreation, and public safety. 

Planning for the future by understanding the past 

Climate change adaptation planning involves assembling a list of past weather related events and incidents, analyzing the record for patterns in relation to meteorological data, determining trends, and looking ahead informed by computer models. Adaptation includes implementing ways of reducing anticipated risks to safety, property, and community infrastructure, and promotes the well-being of families and communities.

Adaptation strategies and policies might include banning construction on flood plains; changing building codes to make homes more resistant to very high winds; making sure that emergency evacuation plans and equipment are in place to remove people from communities threatened by wildfires or floods; communicating effectively about thin ice and dangerous travel conditions in the north; thinning forest and creating firebreaks around communities and ensuring firefighters are adequately trained and have access to suitable equipment, especially in remote communities; ensuring that surface drainage systems are able to handle run off from late winter rainstorms when the ground is frozen.

Click on a theme below to learn more about adapting to vulnerabilities in these sectors.