On February 22, 2016, the Centre for Natural Hazard Research, in cooperation with Simon Fraser University’s ACT (Adaptation to Climate Change Team) and Natural Resources Canada, hosted a one-day workshop to initiate and stimulate a national discussion about weather-caused and weather-triggered hazards that are changing in a warming world.

A report of this workshop is now online, along with a workshop workbook and slide decks of the presentations.

The two main goals of the workshop were to:

  1. improve knowledge and confidence of practitioners and policy makers when making land-use decisions or changes in professional practices that require a consideration of climate change; and
  2. spark a national initiative to produce an understandable document that summarizes changes to hazards driven by changes in climate.

Workshop delegates represented a cross-section of stakeholders and experts in natural hazards, risk management, policy and climate change, and included researchers, engineers, geologists, planners, officials from local, provincial, and federal government, and emergency managers.

Plenary presentations provided a framework for the workshop and stimulated discussions. The morning presentations provided an overview of the present understanding and implications of climate change, a summary of the impacts of sea-level rise in Canada, and some of the challenges and needs of those dealing with weatherrelated hazard management. The presentations provided perspectives of a municipality (the City of Vancouver), a developer, and professionals (engineers and geoscientists). Plenary presentations in the afternoon provided insight into current provincial and federal initiatives and programs related to climate change adaptation.

Two question-guided breakout sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, allowed the workshop participants to share their thoughts and experience on the challenges and needs they face in their discipline or profession in understanding the intensity and frequency of climate-based and climate-influenced hazard events in a changing climate. The morning breakout session focused on identifying challenges in understanding and further aimed to assess whether there is a discrepancy between hazards that pose the largest threats and hazards that pose the biggest challenges in understanding. In the afternoon, the breakout session concentrated on identifying needs, in the form of information, tools, and governance and/or partnerships.

ACT is also continuing work on developing understanding of and resources for the hazards climate change is exacerbating for a variety of professions.

Click here to read the report and other resources from the workshop.