As Canada Heats Up, Officials Scramble to Keep Up

"Canada is getting hotter faster than ever before and at a faster rate than almost any other country," reports Anna Mehler Paperny, and the country's infrastructure, public health, and economy are vulnerable to unforeseen impacts.

1 minute read

January 24, 2013, 10:00 AM PST

By Erica Gutiérrez


As Canadian communities begin to apply new temperature norms, a decennial task, they are faced with abnormal trends. "Average temperatures are rising across the board, during winter most of all. In the past 65 years, Canada’s national average winter temperature has risen 3.2 degrees," reports Anna Mehler Paperny. She adds, "Rain, snow, sleet and hail storms are becoming more erratic. What were once considered exceptional weather patterns – the kind researchers reject to avoid skewing their data – are becoming common." 

"Canada’s infrastructure wasn’t built for this kind of climate," notes Paperny. "And much of the burden falls on municipal governments, with road, sewer and transit systems that can barely cope with existing weather conditions, let alone future vagaries." Adapting to these higher temperatures is becoming a challenge for local public health officials trying to assist vulnerable populations, and for cities and developers dealing with changes to building codes. Even insurance companies and apple farmers are feeling the effects of erratic weather.

“Traditionally, in the whole area of climate change, almost 99 per cent of the discussion has focused on mitigating,” said Blair Feltmate, who runs Canada’s Climate Change Adaptation Project. "But 'climate change is a done deal. There’s nothing we can do to turn it off. … How do we adapt to that new reality?'”

Monday, January 21, 2013 in The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Aerial view of Oakland, California with bay in background

California Exodus: Population Drops Below 39 Million

Never mind the 40 million that demographers predicted the Golden State would reach by 2018. The state's population dipped below 39 million to 38.965 million last July, according to Census data released in March, the lowest since 2015.

April 11, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Wood-frame two-story rowhouses under construction.

Fair Housing Cannot Take a Back Seat to ‘Build, Baby, Build’

If we overlook fair housing principles in the plan to build US housing back better, we risk ending up right back where we started.

April 11, 2024 - James Jennings

High view of woman walking in parking lot with red and white cars visible at left.

Non-Roadway Traffic Deaths On the Rise

A growing number of traffic deaths occur in driveways, parking lots, and other non-roadway spaces.

1 minute ago - Streetsblog USA

Purple jacaranda trees in bloom in Los Angeles with tall white Art Deco buildings in background.

LA County Releases Draft Community Forest Management Plan

LA County's Chief Sustainability Office just released the discussion draft of Room to Grow, the first Community Forest Management Plan for the county.

April 21 - Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Office

Aerial view of downtown Seattle, Washington at dusk.

Seattle Downtown Plan Expands Permitted Uses

The Downtown Activation Plan shifts from Euclidean to form-based zoning to encourage more commercial development.

April 21 - Governing

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.