Ontario Climate Consortium: 5th Annual Symposium

The OCC team is holding their 2017 Ontario Climate Symposium which will be taking place at York University on May 11th and 12th.

The theme for this year’s symposium is “Just Transformations: The Next 150”. This event hopes to encourage the development of positive narratives and visions of a just future – ones that cross boundaries between natural science, social science, law, humanities and the arts.

Given that Canada is celebrating the 150th anniversary of confederation this year, discussions will be encouraged about what Ontario could be like in the next 150 years. The organizers are also mindful that from many indigenous perspectives, the collective responsibility we bear for ensuring the well-being of our Earth and its communities (both human and non-human) applies to at least seven generations into the future. Inherent to this responsibility is the importance of caring for marginalized and vulnerable communities and sharing fairly the benefits of our transition towards a more sustainable society. This perspective will inform the symposium throughout the program.

Register now!


Comox Valley Eco-Assets Symposium

The Comox Valley on Vancouver Island is facing a long list of challenges as more frequent and intense winter storms and summer droughts overwhelm engineered infrastructure and natural systems (that have been degraded over time by land use activities). It is feast AND famine! Now, the four local governments in the valley are facing a total cost approaching $200 million for proposed engineered infrastructure solutions to these problems.

On March 14-15, the 22 environmental and ratepayer groups comprising the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership are hosting a symposium to explore less expensive ‘design with nature’ solutions. Sponsors include the City of Courtenay, Comox Valley Regional District, Village of Cumberland and Real Estate Foundation of BC. The symposium spotlight will be on the potentially powerful and cost-effective role that ecosystem services can play in an infrastructure strategy.

ACT author and water advisor Bob Sandford is also a keynote speaker at this event.

“The stewardship and conservation sector has traditionally focused on habitat restoration and protection of lands with high ecological values,” states David Stapley, Program Manager with the  Comox Valley Conservation Partnership. “With cumulative impacts from climate change, urban and resource development escalating, these groups have now become community leaders in educating and supporting improved land use practices.”

“To address these escalating challenges, the Eco-Assets Symposium will promote measures that capture the value of ecological assets to address infrastructure and climate change issues by integrating them into land use planning and practice.”

Click here to learn more and to register.


ACT ED on Roundhouse Radio


ACT Executive Director Deb Harford was recently interviewed on the Roundhouse Radio show Impact. 

Deb discussed why we need to adapt to climate change – and, more importantly, how to ensure adaptation actions build in low-carbon solutions to ensure resilience overall. She also tackled climate change denial, innovation, and how to re-frame a low-carbon future as a desirable, positive world.

Listen to the interview here.


Free Public Lecture: Resiliency and You

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions – SFU and the Pacific Water Research Centre in the Faculty of Environment at Simon Fraser University are pleased to invite you to a free public talk and discussion:

Can cities have the wisdom to adopt preventive measures before disaster strikes as we shift into a climate unsteady future?

Presented by  Nadine Magdefrau, Research Coordinator, Institute of Spatial Planning;
Robin Change, Research Associate, European Planning Cultures, the Technical University of Dortmund, Germany;
Moderator: Alec Balasescu, Adjunct Professor, Urban Studies, SFU.
When:  Thursday, March 9 7pm
Where: SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings, Room 1400, Vancouver
How:  Reservations- click here to register.

Watch Now: ACT on Columbia River Treaty Panel


ACT’s Executive Director Deb Harford and Senior Advisor and water expert Bob Sandford were panelists at this recent event:

The Columbia River Treaty: Seeking Solutions to Emerging Challenges

This panel discussion on the Columbia River Treaty was moderated by Dr. Zafar Adeel, Executive Director of the Pacific Water Research Centre at SFU.

Panelists included:

Eileen Pearkes, Author, A River Captured: The Columbia River Treaty and Catastraphic Change

Deborah Harford, Executive Director of ACT (the Adaptation to Climate Change Team) and Coordinator of Climate Change Initiatives, Pacific Water Research Centre, SFU; Co-Author, The Columbia River Treaty: A Primer

Bob Sandford, EPCOR Chair for Water and Climate Change Security, United Nations University and Co-Author, The Columbia River Treaty: A Primer

Kelvin Ketchum, retired BC Hydro, Columbia River Treaty and reservoirs operations veteran

The ratification of the Columbia River Treaty in 1964 was a landmark event, with significant implications for hydropower generation and flood protection. One of the largest transboundary international water treaties in the world, it has met with considerable success over the decades in addressing these issues from Canadian and American perspectives.

However, implementation of Treaty dams and associated operations created negative impacts for BC Basin residents, farmers and First Nations that continue today, while emerging challenges pertaining to ecosystem impacts, sustainability of fish habitats, and changing climate and hydrological patterns are gaining prominence for river basin management around the world. Equally, issues of equity and social justice have a different connotationtoday than was the case in 1964.

The panelists explored these emerging challenges and issues, and discussed how BC, Canada and the US can utilize the Columbia River Treaty or modifications to it as a way of responding to these emerging concerns. The panelists – who represent a broad range of professional and social perspectives – also engaged with the highly engaged and well informed audience in an interactive dialogue.

Please click on the link to access a live streamed recording of the event:


Climate Justice: Local, Tribal, Global, and Generational


Join the Security & Sustainability Forum for this upcoming webinar:

Climate Justice: Local, Tribal, Global, and Generational
Monday, February 27, 2017
1:00 – 2:45 pm

This year, 2017, is the American Public Health Association’s “Year of Climate Change”. Please hold the date for a very special kick-off webinar on “Climate Justice: Local, Tribal, Global, and Generational”. You’ll hear from speakers who are engaged in the fight for climate justice and healthy communities, to explore how climate justice is the best strategy to address both climate change and health inequities in the US and around the world. You won’t want to miss this free session.

Click here to register.



SFU 20 Year Sustainability Vision and Goals Release Event


Please join President Petter and the Sustainability Office in celebrating the release of SFU’s 20 Year Sustainability Vision and Goals, a product of a yearlong community-wide engagement process. This event will bring together the diverse and broad community of SFU staff, faculty and students who contributed to the creation of the 20 Year Sustainability Vision and Goals and are passionate about embedding sustainability into the fabric of the institution. Attend this event to engage, network and celebrate SFU’s first-ever long-term vision for sustainability.

20 Year Sustainability Vision and Goals Release Event:

Date: Wednesday March 1st, 2017

Time: 12:00-2:00pm

Location: Diamond Alumni Centre – SFU Burnaby Campus

Light lunch will be provided.

As space is limited, please register to attend here.


Two-Part Webinar Series: Collaboration to Enhance Resilience to Climate Change


Collaboration to Enhance Resilience to Climate Change

An emerging trend in climate change risk management is a systems perspective considering the interdependencies of infrastructure providers. The first webinar provides an overview of how the City of Toronto has engaged internal divisions and external organizations, such as Toronto Hydro and other utilities, to better understand and manage climate risk. The second webinar provides a more detailed look at how Toronto Hydro is taking practical actions to adapt to climate change.

Part 1: Interdependencies and Multi-sectoral Climate Change Risk Management

  • Presenter: David MacLeod (Senior Environmental Specialist, City of Toronto)
  • When: February 22, 2017 from 1:00-2:00pm ET
  • Cost: Free!
  • Description: The City of Toronto has been a pioneer in the field of municipal climate change risk assessment for a decade. Collaborative engagement of both internal and external infrastructure organizations that support “core functions” of Toronto has been essential to this groundbreaking work. Central to that thinking has been consideration of how sectors such as electricity, natural gas, district heating/cooling, roads, water supply, drainage, railways etc. are dependent on each other for ongoing operation. This creates a complex web of “interdependencies” that can break down when extreme weather causes damage to engineered systems not designed for this level of stress. Beyond climate stresses, factors of increasing population and infrastructure deficit may create a “perfect storm” and possible “cascade or domino failures”, which may be mitigated by advance identification of key failure points of high dependency.
  • Click here to register!
Part 2: Toronto Hydro’s Climate Adaptation Actions

  • Presenter: Rob McKeown (Engineer, Toronto Hydro)
  • When: March 1, 2017 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm ET
  • Cost: Free!
  • Description: Whether it’s extreme heat, flooding, ice storms or other forms of extreme weather, an electric utility’s infrastructure may be vulnerable to the changes in the climate. Electricity is an essential component of our society, so Toronto Hydro is in the process of integrating climate change adaptation strategies across its Engineering Division. In this webinar, Rob McKeown will discuss the process that Toronto Hydro has been following to adapt to climate change. Steps followed include a vulnerability assessment, roadmap development and implementation. Ongoing system resilience enhancements through capital and maintenance programs and new technologies will also be discussed. Finally, a status update of the roadmap implementation one year into the process will be presented.
  • Click here to register!

Workshop: Floods and Drought- Tackling Wild Weather




9:00AM TO 5:00PM



9830 100 AVE, FORT ST JOHN

Climate change is exposing Northern BC communities to changes in weather patterns and an increase in extreme events. These changes place local and regional critical infrastructure at risk, which the Northeast region has witnessed in recent flooding. Changing climate hazards have created the need to adapt the design and maintenance of critical infrastructure.

This full-day introductory workshop will address the future climate trends for the Northeast region and how existing online tools can support adaptation. Presenters will share their experiences with climate risk assessments of highway infrastructure, community flood response and collaborative drought management. The workshop will also highlight available funding opportunities and learning resources for climate change adaptation and asset management.

Registration is free of charge. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for participants.

This workshop is supported through Fraser Basin Council’s BC Regional Adaptation Collaborative program (funded by Natural Resources Canada and the BC Ministry of Environment). 



ACT moves to a new home in the SFU Faculty of Environment’s Pacific Water Research Centre

ACT is excited to announce a new partnership with SFU’s Pacific Water Research Centre (PWRC) based at the Faculty of Environment. Please see the press release below for details:

{Click here for SFU’s Pacific Water Research Centre Statement}

SFU’s Pacific Water Research Centre beefs up with Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT)

07 February 2017

Deborah Harford on left working with Surrey residents at City meeting co-hosted by ACT on sea level rise.

Deborah Harford on left working with Surrey residents at City meeting co-hosted by ACT on sea level rise.

SFU’s Pacific Water Research Centre (PWRC) is boosting its research capabilities, with ACT (the Adaptation to Climate Change Team) joining the centre as one of its programs.

ACT brings leading experts together with industry, community and government decision-makers to find ways to sustainably adapt to priority climate change issues.

“Most climate change issues have water at their core,” says Deborah Harford, executive director of ACT.

“For instance, climate change magnifies the severity of extreme events such as flooding (too much water) and droughts (too little water), and both can lead to poor water quality.

“Joining the Pacific Water Research Centre is a strategic partnership that will allow us to collaborate closely and work together to advance climate change adaptation.”

SFU’s Faculty of Environment established the Pacific Water Research Centre in 2015 as a response to water challenges encountered in British Columbia, Canada and the world. The centre brings together researchers, academics and experts to look at a range of water issues, from water’s influence on communities and human wellbeing—particularly First Nations and indigenous communities, to water ethics, resource management and coastal ecosystems.

“Climate change adaptation is a major strategic priority for the PWRC,” says Zafar Adeel, PWRC’s executive director.

“We’re delighted to welcome ACT. They bring a decade of specialization in all aspects of climate change adaptation, including community engagement and innovative research, as well as publication of highly respected and well-received policy reports and other resources.”

ACT joins PWRC from SFU’s School of Public Policy where it had been housed since its founding in 2006. An interdisciplinary program, ACT will continue its collaboration with the public policy school and a number of other SFU departments and schools.

Related Stories:


Carbon Talk: Can BC’s forests help to reduce emissions?


Can British Columbia’s Forests Help Reduce Emissions?
Thursday, February 16th
12:30 – 1:30 pm
Room 2270, SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings St

British Columbia’s forests and forestry products have a large impact on provincial emissions, through both their ability to store and release carbon into the atmosphere. So what are the opportunities to manage forests and wood products with the goal reducing emissions? And how might climate change impacts interact with carbon-focused forest management goals?

Join us for a free public dialogue with Dr. Werner Kurz, Senior Research Scientist at the Canadian Forest Service (Natural Resources Canada) and lead of the Pacific Institute of Climate Solutions’ Forest Carbon Management Project.

Click here to register.

Can’t make it in person? Carbon Talks will be webcast live, thanks to the support of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. Webcast link: http://www.youtube.com/user/carbontalks/live (Follow the conversation on Twitter at @CarbonTalks)


  • Dr. Werner Kurz, Senior Research Scientist, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada

Webinar: Making Urban Water Sustainability a Reality

blue dialogue

The next webinar in POLIS’s “Creating a Blue Dialogue” webinar series:

Making Urban Water Sustainability a Reality
Friday, February 17th
12:00 – 1:30 pm PT

Canada’s water and wastewater infrastructure requires urgent attention. The 2016 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card revealed that 29 per cent of Canada’s drinking water infrastructure and 35 per cent of its wastewater infrastructure is in fair to very poor condition. Canada is facing an “infrastructure moment,” which includes an unparalleled opportunity to set the course for the next generation of sustainable urban water infrastructure in this country. The Government of Canada is committed to investing over $180 billion in infrastructure over the coming decade.

In this webinar, Tony Maas will discuss the importance of urban water sustainability. He will present a suite of recommendations to align water infrastructure investments and regulatory regimes around a vision of sustainability, resilience, and innovation. Emanuel Machado will then share lessons learned from the Town of Gibsons’ pioneering “eco-asset” management strategy, which was developed to promote ecological sustainability and smart infrastructure management and maintenance.

**SPACE IS LIMITED** Register now!


Call for Ontario Adaptation Resources


Are you experiencing the impacts of climate change in your line of work? Are you currently planning for, or implementing, adaptation plans or actions? If so, OCCIAR would like to hear from you!

The Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources (OCCIAR) is currently seeking information on how various sectors in Ontario are managing the effects of climate change. We are seeking stories of adaptation taking place in the following sectors:

  • Energy
  • Mining
  • Forestry
  • Municipal planning
  • Infrastructure

Share your “adaptation story” and it could be featured in a report on climate change adaptation in Ontario!

Please click here to submit your story before March 10, 2017.

In appreciation of your time, your name will be entered into a draw to win a $25 gift certificate to MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op).


Register Now: Renewable Cities’ Global Learning Forum 2017

Have you registered for Renewable Cities’ Global Learning Forum 2017?
Global Learning Forum 2017 is a solutions-focused dialogue on the road to 100% renewable electricity, heating and cooling, and transportation in cities. This three-day event takes place from May 17-19 in Vancouver, BC.
Join Renewable Cities to meet with your peers and experience the dialogue difference in Vancouver, a city that’s striving for 100% renewable energy. Forum 2017 features 32 small group workshops, an inspiring opening night event, plenary sessions, site visits, networking receptions, and more!

Webinar Series: Green Shores(TM)


Wondering about the Green ShoresTM  planning approach? The Fraser Basin Council is holding two webinars for you to learn more:

Green ShoresTM for Busy Professionals
Thursday, February 23rd
11:00am – 12:00 pm

Have you heard about Green Shores and are wondering what it is all about? This webinar is for land-use professionals and others who would like an introduction to Green Shores. Presented by DG Blair (Stewardship Centre for BC) and Johanna Wolf (Climate Action Secretariat), topics covered will include: an introduction to the use of Green Shores credit and rating systems (Green Shores for Homes; Green Shore for Coastal Development) for shoreline projects as well as the benefits of Green Shores for climate risk, adaptation and ecosystem resilience. Information on Green Shores training opportunities through Stewardship Centre for BC and University of Victoria will also be provided.
Register here for this webinar.

Using 3D Modeling for Green ShoresTM Projects
Tuesday, March 7th
11:00 am – 12:00 pm

This webinar will show the capabilities of ultra-high precision shoreline models to assist with planning and implementing Green Shores projects. Dr. Nathan Vadeboncoeur will present on the new interactive 3D visualization tool, Smart Shores, uses aerial images collected by UAVs (drones) and high-precision ground-based GPS to create centimetre-level accurate landscape models that can be used to assist in the design, implementation and evaluation of Green Shores projects. The webinar will also discuss how these tools can be used as part of an online platform for accessing the wealth of knowledge other Canadians have developed in managing their own shores.
Register here for this webinar.

Upcoming Conference: Resilience 2017

conference board

Check out the below information on Resilience 2017, the Conference Board of Canada’s upcoming conference on preparing for hazards:

Natural disasters are on the rise. Are we prepared?

As human infrastructure continues to grow and spread, so too do the risks posed by natural hazards including wildfires, flooding, extreme weather, and temperature fluctuations. And as we’ve seen in recent years, disasters focused in urban areas can be absolutely catastrophic. While it is impossible to predict natural events, the lessons learned from recent events can provide invaluable insights into building resilience to a variety of future hazards. So how prepared are we now? And where do we go from here?

Join us April 25-26, 2017 in Edmonton for Resilience 2017. At this year’s event, you will gain insights into issues such as implementing resilience in infrastructure, the insurance industry perspective and risk management, wildfire threats and their economic and social impact on both urban areas and remote communities, and how social media has evolved to play a significant role in the response to emergencies.

View the agenda today to see some of the sessions we have planned. Join us to hear speakers such as:

  • Stéphanie Durand, Director General, Emergency Management Policy and Outreach, Public Safety Canada
  • Chris Graham, Assistant Deputy Chief, Emergency Management, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo 
  • Dr. Satyamoorthy Kabilan, Director, National Security and Strategic Foresight, The Conference Board of Canada 
  • The Hon. Danielle Larivee, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister of Service Alberta, Alberta Municipal Affairs 
  • David McGown, Senior Vice-President, Strategic Initiatives, Insurance Bureau of Canada 
  • Dr. Michael Flannigan, Professor, Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta 
  • Shane Schreiber, Managing Director, Alberta Emergency Management Agency 
  • Jean-Philippe Tizi, Vice-President, Emergency Management, The Canadian Red Cross
  • Brett Whittingham, Business Continuity and Emergency Planner, City of Calgary

Register by February 26 to save $200! You’ll also receive:

  • Evaluating Calgary’s Emergency Response Plan: Lessons from the Flood Part 1 – Webinar Recorded Sept.2, 2015
  • Evaluating Calgary’s Recovery Operations Centre: Lessons from the Flood Part 2 – Webinar Recorded November 17, 2015

Take advantage this special offer by registering online quoting priority code ERESTOP7!

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