Toronto, Ontario Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

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Toronto, Canada

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted in July 2008

Source File:


Work is underway to develop a strategy to prepare Toronto for the long-lasting changes in weather patterns that are caused by climate change.

"While mitigation remains on the forefront of our climate change agenda, it's clear that we must take action now to adapt to the realities of climate change that we see today, and the realities we will see with greater intensity in the future.

National governments are falling behind in taking action on this important issue so it's up to cities to act and that's what Toronto is committed to doing."
Mayor David Miller

Ahead of the Storm: Preparing Toronto for Climate Change outlines a series of actions to improve Toronto’s resilience to climate change including:

  • A series of short-term actions beginning in 2008 that will help prevent and/or minimize the impacts of climate change in Toronto
  • a series of actions that will guide the City’s development of a comprehensive, long-term strategy to adapt to climate change.

Ahead of the Storm was unanimously endorsed by City Council in July, 2008.

Local Climate Changes
In 2007, City staff invited a panel of Canadian climate change experts to speak at a special meeting of the Parks & Environment Committee, and work with staff to lay the groundwork for the City’s Climate Change Adaptation strategy.

The experts agree that Toronto will experience more frequent and severe weather as a result of climate changes and that these changes will include higher temperatures, extreme heat, heavy rainfalls, drought and the introduction of new and invasive species.

Learn more about the special meeting with local climate change experts.

Adaptive Actions
Examples of actions that will make our infrastructure and buildings more resilient to climate change and improve the city's overall sustainability include:

  • planting more trees to increase shade and clean and cool the air
  • using rain barrels to capture rainwater for reuse
  • using permeable surfaces (rather than asphalt for example) to reduce runoff from heavy rainfalls
  • landscaping with drought-resistant plants and
  • using cool/reflective materials on the roofs of homes and buildings to reduce urban heat.

Change is in the Air: Toronto's Climate Change, Clean Air and Sustainable Energy Action Plan, which was unanimously endorsed by Council in July 2007, set in motion Toronto's bold and ambitious climate change agenda. The plan includes more than 100 actions to reduce the greenhouse gas and smog-causing emissions which contribute to climate change. It also recommended the development of a comprehensive strategy to adapt to the long-term changes in our weather patterns that are already underway.