Ontario’s Provincial Climate Change Impact Assessment

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As the world’s climate is changing, we are seeing impacts on a global scale and right here at home. In recent years, Ontario has experienced more frequent and extreme events such as severe rain, ice and wind storms, prolonged heat waves and milder winters. In 2018 alone insured damage for severe weather events across Canada reached $1.9 billion. Further, the Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates that for every dollar paid out in insurance claims for homes and businesses, Canadian governments pay out $3 to recover public infrastructure damaged by severe weather.

Ontario is proud to be a leader in Canada when it comes to our work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As a result of our efforts, our province’s total greenhouse gas emissions have decreased significantly since 2005. In fact, Ontario has shouldered the largest share of Canada’s progress towards its 2030 Paris Agreement target. To ensure that we continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen our resiliency to the impacts of climate change, in 2018 we released the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, which is our roadmap to preserving and protecting our land, air and water, addressing litter and reducing waste, and supporting the people of Ontario.

Our plan commits us to lowering greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, a target that aligns with the federal government‘s Paris commitments, while at the same time taking steps to ensure Ontarians are prepared for the impacts of climate change that we know are coming.

This past summer, we selected a consulting team led by the Climate Risk Institute to conduct Ontario’s Provincial Climate Change Impact Assessment. The team consists of recognized leaders in understanding, assessing, and communicating climate change risks, vulnerabilities, and impacts. Ontario’s impact assessment will use the best science and information to better understand where and how climate change is likely to affect communities, critical infrastructure, economies and the natural environment. It will look at a variety of information such as climate data, land use patterns, and socio-economic considerations, and incorporate feedback from multiple stakeholders to help ensure that the assessment and analysis is robust in providing a thorough understanding of climate change impacts across the province.

Understanding the existing impacts of climate change and identifying potential future impacts will help the province, municipalities, Indigenous communities, and others make more informed, timely decisions that will help prepare and protect Ontarians by strengthening our resilience to climate change. The results of the Ontario’s Provincial Climate Change Impact Assessment could also serve as a foundation for developing appropriate climate change resilience and risk management strategies by a wide range of decision-makers.

The consulting team led by the Climate Risk Institute is currently working with my ministry to develop the overall approach and methodological framework for the assessment of climate change impacts. The Ontario’s Provincial Climate Change Impact Assessment is currently in its early stages and will be conducted over the next two years. The process will include multiple opportunities for my ministry and the consulting team to engage with key stakeholders, decision makers, and Indigenous communities across the province to help ensure that a broad, province wide perspective is captured.

I look forward to the final results which are expected to be released in 2022 which will help our government and local communities make important decisions on planning and infrastructure investments to keep our communities healthy and safe for future generations.

JEFF YUREK, MINISTER, MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT, CONSERVATION AND PARKS is a proud lifelong resident of St. Thomas. His desire for a better Ontario motivated him to seek the nomination for the Progressive Conservative Party, and he became the riding’s MPP in October 2011. Jeff has served in various roles in government including PC Health Critic, Natural Resources and Forestry Critic, and Transportation and Auto Insurance Reform Critic, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Minister of Transportation, and is currently the Minister of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks. Jeff continues to be a trusted advocate for local concerns in Elgin-Middlesex-London. When not at Queen’s Park, he enjoys quality family time with his wife Jenn, daughter Maggie, and dog Thatcher, travelling, attending local events, and visiting the family cottage.

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