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Input to Provincial Strategies

As a follow up to the Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan, the Ontario government established an Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation. The panel’s mandate was to provide advice on measures to help the Ontario government understand how to prepare and plan for climate change impacts. The panel's final report, Adapting to Climate Change in Ontario, was released in November 2009 and contains 59 recommendations.

In 2011, the provincial government released its formal response to the 2009 Expert Panel Report:
Climate Ready – Ontario’s Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan.

Summary of Conservation Ontario's Response to Province's Climate Ready report:

CO_response_climate_change

Managing climate change impacts on water, water infrastructure, and water-related natural features, as we adapt to a changing climate, will be a significant challenge for everyone.

On April 21, 2011, the Ontario government released its formal response to the 2009 Expert Panel report on Climate Change Adaptation. This report, entitled Climate Ready: Ontario’s Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan, guides the government on how to incorporate climate change adaptation into existing provincial policies and programs, and prioritizes actions that have co-benefits between mitigation and adaptation. The Province addresses a number of issues that are directly relevant to Conservation Authority businesses and even identifies some areas – particularly around flood management – where Conservation Authorities play a very important role.

Need Our Best Available Science
Given the uncertainty that surrounds climate change impacts, Ontario’s Conservation Authorities feel we need to utilize the best available science in order to facilitate informed decision-making. Enabling ongoing sustainability of Ontario’s environment will ensure the health and safety of current and future residents in Ontario.

Conservation Ontario identified a series of priorities within the Province’s Strategy:

  • Use an Integrated Watershed Management approach to incorporate climate change adaptation
  • Enhance the science and monitoring in order to track climate change impacts
  • Improve flood management in Ontario
  • Support strong regulatory tools to protect against natural hazards
  • Review Ontario’s Low Water Response Program
  • Build local ecosystem resilience through initiatives around biodiversity and Great Lakes
  • Collaboration between Conservation Authorities and the Province's proposed Climate Change Directorate

Conservation Ontario’s Full Response-Conservation Ontario’s Response to Climate Ready: Ontario’s Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan (June 2011)

Summary of Conservation Ontario's Response to the Expert Panel Report

  • An Integrated Watershed Management approach allows us to address multiple issues and objectives; and enables us to plan within a very complex and uncertain environment.
  • Through their monitoring programs and work on the ground across Ontario, Conservation Authorities can provide local watershed expertise to help the Province to adapt to climate change impacts. A number of Conservation Authorities are already studying the effects of climate change on their watersheds and are beginning to incorporate adaptation into their programs.
  • Conservation Authorities have significant local implementation capacity and their programs span a wide range of issues including water quality and quantity, natural heritage, and land management.
  • Conservation Authorities have established local relationships, partnerships and a network of community contacts that puts them in a good position to support community capacity building for adaptation.

Key Recommended Actions:

Protect Ontario from Water Hazards by ensuring Ontario’s flood management programs have the capacity to cope with changes.

Create a Provincial Watershed Management Working Group to develop approaches to implement the Expert Panel recommendations related to water.

Define Conservation Authority Role in Climate Change Adaptation

Conservation Ontario’s Response to the Expert Panel Report