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Cities Adapt to Extreme Heat: Celebrating Local Leadership

2016 – Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Canadians are experiencing more frequent and extreme heat events. Temperatures sometimes soar to levels that are dangerous to our health. The risk of health impacts from extreme heat is expected to continue rising due to climate change. Local and regional governments are in a position to implement many of the critical actions to help Canadians better cope with extreme heat. This includes issuing targeted warnings, opening cooling centres in public facilities such as libraries, community centres and public pools, providing water for those in need, educating the public, and planting trees and other actions to cool urban environments and reduce urban heat islands.

Seven experts from the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) and Health Canada authored this report. The 20 case studies presented in this report provide examples of local and regional governments across Canada that have adapted to better cope with extreme heat. These examples were chosen because they are innovative and could inform efforts in communities across the country. This series of reports is a celebration of the leadership that local governments are providing in Canada on a broad range of important issues, including actions to address extreme heat. Each case study includes comments from an individual working within a local government whose responsibilities include the development and implementation of actions to address extreme heat risks. This report helps to raise awareness of health risks from extreme heat, offers examples of heat-health adaptation that other communities can learn from and is intended to spur action to prepare Canadians for the impacts of climate change.

Keywords: Canada

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