Minister Wilkinson Releases New Report Showing the Impacts of Climate Change and Necessity of Climate Adaptation in Ontario

·5 min read

OTTAWA, ON, Aug. 15, 2022 /CNW/ - Across Ontario, Canadians are feeling the impacts of climate change in their communities and on their livelihoods. That is why today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, announced the release of the Ontario Chapter of the Canada in a Changing Climate: Regional Perspectives Report to help inform and support adaptation to climate change in Ontario.

According to the report, temperatures are increasing in the province, with the greatest warming observed in Northern Ontario and the largest increases occurring in the winter. With further warming, heat waves are projected to become more frequent. Annual precipitation is projected to increase along with extreme precipitation events, resulting in increased risk of flooding. Lake levels in the Great Lakes have been highly variable, experiencing both record lows and extreme highs. These changes are affecting Ontario's communities, environment and economy.

This new chapter also highlights the wide range of climate impacts that Ontario is facing and how the province is adapting. It reveals that Ontario's infrastructure is vulnerable to climate change and that nature-based solutions help address climate change impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Impacts on biodiversity are magnified through the cumulative effects of climate change, habitat loss, urbanization, pollution and other threats. In the Great Lakes Basin, adaptive management is key for addressing climate change impacts, and adaptation measures improve forest health, carbon storage and biodiversity.

Climate change brings both threats and opportunities to Ontario agriculture and food systems, while existing human health inequities will be worsened by climate change. The chapter also concludes that while adaptation is occurring, progress remains limited.

The report is a part of Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action, Canada's National Knowledge Assessment of how and why Canada's climate is changing, the impacts of these changes and how we are adapting. The assessment reports raise awareness and understanding of the key issues facing our country and provide information to support sound adaptation decisions and actions. The Government of Canada is also working with partners in Ontario and across the country on the development of the country's first National Adaptation Strategy, a whole-of-society blueprint for coordinated action to ensure communities and Canadians are prepared for the impacts of climate change.

By ensuring people in Ontario have access to credible, evidence-based information, this resource will enable them to make more informed decisions to prepare for, and respond to, climate change impacts.

A webinar on August 17 will follow the official release of the Ontario Chapter of the Regional Perspectives Report. Hear directly from the authors about how climate change is affecting Ontario and how communities and sectors are increasingly taking action to adapt.

Quotes

"Today's report confirms that Ontario, like every region of Canada, is facing significant climate challenges, from exacerbated health inequities to increasingly at-risk infrastructure. That is why our government is examining the regional effects of our changing climate: to better enable informed decision-making to prepare for, and respond to, climate impacts. With these reports, we are ensuring that Canadians have access to credible, evidence-based information, information that will go on to inform their choices as well as our own as we develop Canada's first National Adaptation Strategy."

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Natural Resources

"Across Ontario, communities are facing challenges from a changing climate. Important evidence-based information, such as in this report, can help communities prepare. We are working with partners to develop Canada's first National Adaptation Strategy. The Strategy will help support whole-of-society action to address and better prepare for the impacts of a changing climate including communities, the natural environment and the economy. We can and we must do both mitigation and adaptation — play both offence and defence — for a complete effort."

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change

"Climate change is top of mind for rural communities in Ontario and across Canada. Ontarians are counting on us to make sound decisions based on the credible, evidence-based science of our country's climate experts. The insights from this report will help Ontario's communities be more prepared to take action against the continued effects of climate change and protect Ontario's vulnerable infrastructure, including the Great Lakes."

The Honourable Gudie Hutchings
Minister of Rural Economic Development

"Communities across Canada, including in Ontario, are experiencing more frequent and severe weather events due to climate change. The release of this provincial chapter underlines how important it is for climate change adaptation and emergency management efforts to be implemented together and requires close co-operation across all orders of government, industry and individuals. The Government of Canada is championing these efforts through the development of the National Adaptation Strategy and the delivery of the Emergency Management Strategy for Canada. The evidence from this report will continue to help inform our efforts as we work together to anticipate, mitigate and recover from the impacts of climate change."

The Honourable Bill Blair
President of the Queen's Privy Council and Minister of Emergency Preparedness

"Ontario is a leader in Canada when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and nature-based solutions through programs like the Greenlands Conservation Partnership Program. We've taken meaningful action to prepare for the impacts of climate change by undertaking the first Provincial Climate Change Impact Assessment, using the best available science and data. Results from the multi-sector assessment will help Indigenous communities, municipalities, businesses and local decision-makers make informed choices to adapt to climate change while building a strong economy."

The Honourable David Piccini
Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

Associated links

Register for the Webinar on August 17
Canada in a Changing Climate: National Issues Report
Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action
2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Clean Air, Strong Economy
Map of Adaptation Actions
Canada's National Adaptation Strategy

SOURCE Natural Resources Canada

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