PICS Strategic Plan 2017-2022

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) has released their Strategic Plan 2017/2022.  Over 100 people in the PICS community contributed to the creation of this plan.

The document defines PICS’ vision, revised mandate, objectives and principles. It builds on the institute’s core competencies and sets the strategic research approach and governance direction for PICS.

The plan focuses on three strategic areas:

  • Conducting collaborative research
  • Communicating climate change solutions
  • Enhancing organizational development

To learn more about PICS, click here.


ACT Article in Latest Issue of Streamtalk

The latest issue of Streamtalk, the newsletter for stewards of salmonids and their habitat from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, includes an article on page 5 from ACT researcher Edward Nichol detailing ACT’s recent project on Still Creek. This report and other deliverables, released in June 2017, documents the restoration of Still Creek and the return of spawning salmon to East Vancouver, and explores how municipalities worked together to restore this urban ecosystem.

Click here to read Streamtalk now.


Postdoctoral Position: Hydroclimate Scientist

PCIC is seeking to hire a postdoctoral Hydroclimate Scientist.

 Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC)

 The Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) was created to assess climate impacts in the Pacific and Yukon Region of Canada. The goals of the Consortium are to foster collaborative research, to strengthen the capacity to address regional climate change and variability, and to provide the scientific basis for policy development. PCIC is a regional climate service centre at the University of Victoria that provides practical information on the physical impacts of climate variability and change. Through collaboration with climate researchers and regional stakeholders, PCIC produces knowledge and tools in support of long-term planning.  http://www.PacificClimate.org


The Hydroclimate Scientist works as part of a multi-disciplinary team to study the impacts of climate variability and change on hydrology and water quality in western Canada. This postdoctoral position is part of the pan-Canadian Global Water Futures (GWF) research program (https://gwf.usask.ca), led by the University of Saskatchewan, which aims to place Canada as a global leader in water science for the world’s cold regions and to address the strategic needs of the Canadian economy in adapting to change and managing risks of uncertain water futures.  Under the theme of ‘Climate and Diagnostic Hydrological and Water Quality Modelling’, the GWF proposes the development of a unified pan-Canadian modular hydrology/water quality multi-model system for assessment of hydrologic sensitivity under historical and future climates. In this context, this position is responsible for the enhancement and application of PCIC’s version of the Variable Infiltration Capacity hydrology model (VIC-GL), which includes coupled glacier mass balance and dynamics components, for select Canadian basins.

Nature of Work

The Hydroclimate Scientist undertakes basic and applied research to quantify the impact of climate variability and change on the hydro-climatology of select Canadian basins. He/she works under the supervision of the Lead for PCIC’s Hydrologic Impacts theme and collaborates with members of the Hydrologic Impacts theme and GWF’s pan-Canadian modelling team. PCIC offers a positive, supportive and collegial work environment that promotes collaboration and excellence. As a user and stakeholder driven organization, PCIC requires that candidates be able to flexibly adapt their research objectives to changing organizational and stakeholder priorities and needs.


The objectives of the position are to conduct research that seeks to address some or all of the following:

  • Contribute to the further development and enhancement of VIC-GL, which may include the addition of the ability to explicitly represent continuous permafrost, large lakes and reservoirs, flow abstraction and regulation, vegetation dynamics, and land use change
  • Evaluate the extent to which hydrology and water quality in select Canadian watersheds has responded to observed climate variability and change and evaluate potential hydrologic impacts under projected future climates
  • Understand and describe the climatic mechanisms that generate hydrologic extremes of flood and drought and quantify changes in hydrologic extremes under future climates
  • Work closely with stakeholders to communicate and inform adaptation of water resources operations, management and planning, and with the GWF program to support the use of VIC-GL and the development of a multi-model framework

 Knowledge and Experience

  • PhD in the physical sciences, preferably in the Hydrologic, Atmospheric or Climate sciences
  • Experience in the development and application of hydrologic or land surface models (such as the Variable Infiltration Capacity model)
  • Experience studying climate variability and change, and its hydroclimatic implications
  • Experience working on interdisciplinary projects and with interdisciplinary teams
  • A high level of productivity for peer?reviewed publications is expected.


  • Excellent data analysis and data visualization skills
  • Excellent statistical analysis skills
  • Excellent communications skills
  • Excellent programming skills in several languages (C++ and python being particularly useful)
  • The applicant must have excellent multi?tasking skills


  • Work in a self?directed manner and within a team environment
  • Re-evaluate and adjust priorities and objectives in light of research findings and evolving requirements
  • Ability to acquire, manipulate and analyze large spatiotemporal data sets.
  • Ability to find creative solutions to complex, open-ended problems.
  • Operate with a professional demeanor while representing PCIC and GWF at professional meetings and other venues.

Employment period

3.5-year term commitment.  The position is full time (37.5 hours per week), and pay will be commensurate with education and experience.

Additional information: Address enquiries to Markus Schnorbus at climate@uvic.ca.

Application: Please send your application including a cover letter, CV, and three professional references to Markus Schnorbus, climate@uvic.ca, with “ATTN: Hydroclimate Scientist” in the subject line.  Please indicate whether you are legally able to work in Canada.

 Review of applicants will start immediately and continue until suitable candidates are found.


October 23: The Invisible City Film Screening

Millions of refugees are struggling to find a place to call home. Climate change will intensify this crisis as more and more people leave their homes to find habitable conditions or become displaced due to extreme weather.

Join Simon Fraser University for a film screening of The Invisible City [Kakuma]. This film documents life in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, highlighting the resilience of children and youth in the camp. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with UN delegates, former refugees and academics.

Event sponsored by:

Sponsored by:
SFU International
SFU’s Institute for the Humanities
Aga Khan University – East African Institute
University of Fraser Valley
Queen Elizabeth Scholars and DOXA

For film details visit: www.theinvisiblecitykakuma.com/.


Materials Available from Livable Cities 2017

The 2017 Livable Cities Forum took place in Victoria, BC September 18th-20th. The LCF2017 Program explored building low carbon, resilient communities.

Presentations are now online. Visit the Program Page and scroll through the online schedule. Click on the presentation links in each session to see presentations!

There is also a Storify of Tweets and photo highlights of the event – click here to view it.

To make the next Livable Cities Forum even better, fill out the post-event survey here with your feedback.


Fulbright Arctic Initiative: Apply by October 16

The Fulbright Arctic Initiative will bring together a network of scholars, professionals and applied researchers from the United States, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden for a series of three seminar meetings and a Fulbright exchange experience.

At its core, the Fulbright Arctic Initiative will create a network to stimulate international scientific collaboration on Arctic issues while increasing mutual understanding between people of the United States and the people of other countries.  Using a collaborative model to translate theory into practice, program participants will address public-policy research questions relevant to Arctic nations’ shared challenges and opportunities.

Outstanding scholars from the U.S. and abroad will be selected to participate in the program as Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholars through an open, merit-based competition. At least four of the scholars will be selected from the United States and at least one scholar will be selected from each of the other Arctic Council member states. Co-Lead Scholars  will provide intellectual leadership throughout the Program, in addition to mentoring program participants and facilitating discussion and collaboration among the Arctic Initiative Scholars.

Selected scholars will participate in an individual Fulbright exchange of a minimum of six weeks and a maximum of three months, as well as in-person seminars and ongoing virtual communication, all supporting the scholars’ required collaborative research projects. Scholars will be selected on the basis of an individual research project linked to an exchange visit and potential to collaborate in a group research project in one of two thematic areas described below.

  • The Fulbright Arctic Initiative will provide a platform for scholars from across the Arctic region to engage in collaborative thinking, analysis, problem-solving and multi-disciplinary research across two core thematic areas:
    • Resilient Communities: The Arctic is facing profound social, economic, and environmental change and communities are increasingly confronted with critical policy challenges related to issues of health and wellness, energy resource management, environmental protection, sustainability of the Arctic Ocean, infrastructure, indigenous rights, education, and regional governance.  Further research is needed on ways to build social resilience in communities to adapt to changes across the Arctic.  This research should focus on and ideally involve Arctic communities themselves and consider the application of indigenous knowledge to help inform policy at local to regional scales, as well as multi-disciplinary research to bring differing or complementary viewpoints.
    • Sustainable Economies: The rapid changes in the Arctic Ocean system resulting from sea ice decline, changes in water conditions, and increasing shipping and energy production have significance for Arctic nations, global markets, and coastal communities.  The economic impacts of environmental changes and globalization in the Arctic, together with the region’s expanding connections to the global economy, require research to address how commercial opportunities can be supported and balanced with the need for sustained subsistence livelihoods in Arctic communities.

Click here for more information.


Sea Level Rise – The Big Picture

ACT, along with local partners, is excited to offer the following free public discussion series:

The Octopus’s Garden? Planning for Sea Level Rise 

Regions around the world are experiencing climate change impacts such as droughts, floods, wildfires, and heat waves, while planning for the long-term effects of sea level rise and coastal storms. These stressors are driving damages and increased costs for communities, and increasing the risk of mass migration.

Building on the success of the Resiliency and YOU talk, this series runs from June-November 2017, and features experts on sea level rise from a variety of backgrounds who will address ways we can adapt and build resilience, with a focus on local to global challenges and solutions. Topics to be addressed include the science and physical challenges to sea level rise, local, provincial and international preparations and initiatives, climate refugees, traditional knowledge and indigenous responses to sea level rise, and finally what to expect globally – and what we can do about it locally.

Join us for the final talk in our series:

November 8, 7 pm: Sea Level Rise -The Big Picture


  • John Englander, Oceanographer, consultant and expert on sea level rise
  • Gil Kelley, General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability, City of Vancouver

Click here to register for this talk.


ACT Executive Director Appointed to Federal Adaptation Panel

ACT’s Executive Director Deb Harford has been appointed to the federal government’s Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Results.

This panel will help to define how to measure progress on federal, provincial, and territorial adaptation efforts in building Canada’s resilience to climate change. The panel will also help communicate to Canadians how the government is preparing for and recovering from the impacts of climate change.

Having a better understanding of this progress will allow for continuous evaluation and improvement of adaptation actions to provide better results for Canadians.

The expert panel will support and complement ongoing work related to the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

The expert panel will be chaired by Dr. Blair Feltmate, Head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, at the University of Waterloo. The panel will include academic, private sector, non-governmental organizations, Indigenous Peoples, and government representatives, and it will engage with provinces and territories in its work.

For more information, click here.


Watch the Video: Coastal First Nations Flood Stories

On September 1, ACT co-hosted an event exploring Coastal First Nations flooding stories in relation to climate change and sea level rise.

This event featured Squamish Chief Ian Campbell and Haida elder Captain Gold.

Watch the video from the event now!


Also, make sure to check out the forthcoming events in our Planning for Sea Level Rise series:

  • October 5, 6:30 pm: Sea Level Rise and the International Response – Policy Action Featuring: Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, Kingdom of the Netherlands; Tamsin Lyle, Principal, Ebbwater Consulting; Deborah Carlson, Staff Counsel for Green Communities Program, West Coast Environmental Law.
  • October 19, 7 pm: Sea Level Rise and Forced Migration – The Challenges for Climate Refugees Featuring: Saleemul Huq, Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development; James Horncastle, Lecturer, Hellenic Studies Program at SFU; Anna Zhuo, co-founder of Climate Migrants and Refugees Project.
  • November 8, 7 pm: Sea Level Rise – The Big Picture Featuring: John Englander, Oceanographer, Consultant and expert on sea level rise; Gil Kelley, General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability, City of Vancouver.

Click here for more information.


150 Years and Beyond: The Impact of Diaspora Communities on Canada

Join Cuso International and SFU International for a panel discussion and dialogue on the role of diaspora in politics, business and society.

Canada prides itself on its diversity, contrasting its mosaic approach to the integration of immigrants with the American melting pot. But are newcomer communities successfully integrating into Canadian society? What impacts have diaspora communities had on the Canadian economy and its politics?  Where are we today? How will diaspora communities contribute to shaping Canada’s future?

Keynote Speaker: Senator Mobina Jaffer

Panel Discussion

  • Sanjay Jeram, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, SFU
  • Paola Murillo, Executive Director, Latincouver
  • Ravi Mohabir, Partner, Deloitte & Cuso International alumnus
  • Moderated by Shaheen Nanji, Executive Director Pro Tem, SFU International

Thursday, October 12, 2017
Panel Discussion: 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Event Reception: 7:00 – 8:00 pm

Segal Graduate School of Business, Simon Fraser University
Room 1200-1300, 500 Granville Street, Vancouver

Click here to RSVP.


McMaster Centre for Climate Change Public Lecture Series – David Miller

For our colleagues in Ontario:

Wednesday, October 18
6:30 pm
McMaster Innovation Park
Hamilton, ON

Join the McMaster Centre for Climate Change for their Fall 2017 public lecture from David Miller. David Miller was the visionary behind the City of Toronto’s 2007 Climate Change Action Plan which set an ambitious target of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. That ambitious target was the catalyst behind current efforts by the City of Toronto, under the TransformTO initiative, to define low carbon pathways at a district and city-wide scale.

David Miller believes that the solutions to climate change are underway, led by the world’s great cities, and the recent support of forward looking governments like Canada. But it is clear from events like the serious flooding in Houston that the need to act is urgent. His talk will demonstrate that the programs and policies led by cities around the world show the path forward to mitigate the effects of climate change in a way that builds strong communities – and achieves the goals of the Paris Agreement.

For more information, and to RSVP, click here.


Webinar: The Future of Wildland Fire in Canada – Hot and Smoky?

The Forestry Adaptation Community of Practice (FACoP) is pleased to announce the following webinar:

The Future of Wildland Fire in Canada – Hot and Smoky?
Tuesday, October 3
1:00-2:00 pm EDT
Presented by: Mike Flannigan (Director of the Canadian Partnership for Wildland Fire Science & Professor of Wildland Fire at the University of Alberta)

Wildland fires are a frequent occurrence in many regions of the world. These fires are the result of interactions between climate/weather, fuels, and people. Our climate and associated day-to-day weather may be changing rapidly due to human activities that may have dramatic and unexpected impacts on regional and global fire activity. A warmer world means longer fire seasons, more lightning activity, and most importantly drier fuels. Existing studies suggest a general overall increase in fire occurrence and area burned, although there is significant temporal and spatial variability. Future trends in fire severity and intensity are more difficult to project due to the complex and non-linear interactions between weather, vegetation and people. However, there are indications that fire severity and intensity are increasing.

This year has been a very active fire year with significant fire activity in Portugal, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and Canada. The last 5 years has seen lots of wildland fire in regions of Canada including 2013 in Quebec, 2014 in the Northwest Territories, 2015 in Saskatchewan & Alberta, Fort McMurray Fire in 2016 and a record breaking year in BC this year. The end result is that we have to learn to live with wildland fire and that fire management is already challenging and will be even more challenging in a warmer world.

Click here to register.


Job Posting: Executive Director, Renewable Cities

Renewable Cities is an international program of the SFU Centre for Dialogue in Vancouver, British Columbia whose mission is to support cities in the transition to 100% renewable energy. The program launched in May 2015 at a Global Learning Forum and has since helped to catalyze international leadership by providing the inspiration, ideas, connections, and supports towards urban energy transitions. Renewable Cities has convened multiple events and undertaken significant thought leadership work, from the local to the international level over the past three years. It works across disciplines and sectors with on-the-ground implementers to leaders on the global stage.

Renewable Cities’ current Executive Director will be transitioning to a new position in the Centre in December 2017. The SFU Centre for Dialogue is looking for a new Executive Director to lead the program into the future by providing the vision, ambition, and entrepreneurial skills to expand the program’s funding base and lead an effective team.

The Executive Director needs to be both a thought leader in their own right and an effective convener of other experts from many different fields. They must have the skills to work effectively with civil society, private sector and academic leaders, and with governmental and non-governmental organization from the municipal to the international level. The position requires a deep grounding in one or more of the fields of sustainable urban development, energy or dialogue.

Deadline: Monday, October 16.

Click here for more information and to apply.


From Pipelines to Dams: Energy Production and BC’s Water

On September 20th, the POLIS Water Sustainability Project is hosting the first webinar in its 2017/2018 Creating a Blue Dialogue webinar series. Register now!

WHAT: From Pipelines to Dams: Energy Production and BC’s Water
DATE: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017
TIME: 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. PT ( 3 p.m. to  4:30 p.m. ET)

Communities across BC experience a range of impacts on their water and watersheds related to energy and resource development. Whether these impacts are the result of pipelines, hydraulic fracturing, liquefied natural gas, mining, hydroelectric facilities, or forestry activities (or the cumulative effects of a mix of these activities), the link between water and energy is clear: Without readily available and abundant water, there is no energy development. Yet, with energy development comes negative impacts on our water.

In this webinar we will hear from three speakers who each bring an important perspective to the ongoing conversation about the “water-energy nexus” in BC.

Ben Parfitt (Resource Policy Analyst, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) will discuss issues related to enforcement and compliance in the mining sector, with a focus on recent controversies around unauthorized dams.

Dr. Gilles Wendling (Founder & Senior Hydrogeologist, GW Solutions) will speak from his experience as a hydrogeologist and frequent collaborator in watershed management and planning initiatives, sharing the story of how hydraulic fracturing has impacted groundwater in northeast BC.

Finally, Shannon McPhail (Co-Founder and Executive Director, Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition) will provide a boots-on-the-ground community perspective by commenting on the tough realities and trade-offs that rural communities face when big energy development projects move into their watersheds. We’ll hear about some of the projects the SWCC has undertaken in order to support Indigenous communities, better understand the impacts of cumulative effects, and build bridges across sectors to support economic revitalization in the Skeena.

**SPACE IS LIMITED** Register now!


Survey: Is Your Local Government Taking Action on Biodiversity?

Local Government Representatives,

Is your local government engaged in area-based nature conservation? ICLEI Canada wants to know your opinion – in 10 minutes!

Canada Target 1 aims to protect and conserve at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland waters, and 10% of coastal and marine areas, by 2020 to help stem the loss of biodiversity.  Reaching this goal will take a pan-Canadian, effort, involving many government departments, Indigenous groups, communities and organizations across Canada.  Municipalities have a role to play too.  Currently municipal parks and protected areas are not included in Canada’s report to the international conservation community, but many could be. Help us bring your voice to the Pathway to Canada Target 1 initiative by sharing your opinion in this ten-minute survey.

Please share this survey with with your fellow peers in municipal government!

Shape-shifting risk: Climate change adaptation strategies for an un-stationary planet

If you’re in Victoria, check out this event from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions:

Shape-shifting risk: Climate change adaptation strategies for an un-stationary planet
Thursday, September 14
3:00-4:00 pm
Cadboro Commons, Campus View Room, University of Victoria

Climate change is producing new types and degrees of risk associated with severe weather, such as floods and droughts. At the same time, global food systems are undergoing new climate change related risks. Simply living with these new risks has increasingly become the norm. Market management of risk is generally not yet adapting to novel financial, social and environmental impacts. For example, some of the world’s most valuable real estate in cities such as New York, London and Vancouver faces unprecedented risk from severe weather, with little change to the risk management strategies implemented. Globally, food security risk profiles are shifting. Food production systems are under threat as climate change exacerbates projected food production deficits in some areas.

Dr. Zen Makuch, a leading interdisciplinary researcher in domestic, European and international climate change regulation and policy, proposes that a combination of novel forms of insurance coupled with behavioral risk management strategies is key to adapting to climate change risks in these areas.

This is a free public event, but please register to save your seat.


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