Toronto published a policy report outlining an approach that will see climate change resilience integrated into decision-making and coordination across city agencies and with private sector partners.

In 2014, Toronto unveiled Resilient City – Preparing for a Changing Climate, a policy paper that lays the groundwork for comprehensive adaptation action. The report outlines how climate change resilience can be integrated into decision-making and coordination of city operations and services. Furthermore, it proposes specific recommendations, such as the creation of a geospatial risk assessment tool that tracks data from different departments and utilities, like heat vulnerability, locations of flood zones, locations of previously flooded areas and electrical outages, and areas of heavy tree damage, that recognize interdependencies between city departments.

60 organizations participated in WeatherWise, a forum for large organizations operating critical infrastructure in the city, recommended by the report.

Cities100 – 2016

Keeping with the theme of coordination and collaboration, the report underpinned the creation of the cross-sectoral Resilient City Working Group (RCWG), made up of 16 city organizations, plus several outside agencies, including utilities and transit agencies. Collectively these organizations work to develop and support a broad range of new actions to address climate change impacts on infrastructure, services, and city operations in a coordinated and cohesive way to ensure that Toronto is prepared for and capable of adapting nimbly to the effects of climate change.

The challenge

In addition to flooding and winter storms, Toronto faces increased instances of heat waves, with modeling suggesting that by 2040-2050 daily maximum temperatures could reach 44°C. To adapt to these pressing concerns, Toronto is laying the groundwork for action through the Resilient City report, ensuring that services and operations – both in and outside the city’s jurisdiction – are coordinated.


Economic The report details recommendations that could cost the city $1.3 million annually, a fraction of the costs incurred through climate change impacts, such as rain storms in 2005 and 2013 that cost the city $47 million and $70 million, respectively.

Environmental The report recommends improved care for the city’s trees in order to reach its overall goal of increasing canopy cover to 40%.

Health Toronto hopes that the adaptation measures recommended by this report will prevent more illness and death from extreme heat, poor air quality, and vector-borne disease.

Social The report recommends updating floodplain maps for vulnerable areas to incorporate 3-D modeling and future extreme weather projections, which will help protect at-risk residents from future impacts.

About Toronto

Toronto is the most populous city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario. With a population in 2016 of 2,731,571, it is the fourth most populous city in North America and is recognized as one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world. While the majority of Torontonians speak English as their primary language, there are over 160 different languages spoken in the city. Toronto is a prominent centre for music, theatre, motion picture production, and television production. Toronto is known for its many skyscrapers and high-rise buildings.

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