February 2, 2015

A Climate Change Risk Assessment and Adaptation Strategy for York Region


In 2011, York Region in partnership with nine local municipalities and three conservation authorities, developed an initial strategy for responding to the risks associated with a changing climate. As part of the adaptive management cycle, which is used to build resilience to evolving climate risks, it is necessary to re-assess climate impacts periodically over time and establish processes for assessing and implementing alternative risk mitigation measures. Since it has been more than 3 years since York Region’s first adaptation strategy was drafted, it is now time to begin this re-assessment.

As a result of several extreme weather events — such as the flooding and ice storm in July and December 2013 respectively — decision makers have been prompted to take a closer look at the specific impacts of climate and extreme weather in York Region. For instance, York Region, the Cities of Vaughan and Markham, and the Town of Aurora began a year-long process in the fall of 2014 to assess risks to critical stormwater management systems. Similar adaptive management and resiliency-based planning has been undertaken in neighbouring municipalities, the Great Lakes Basin, and province more broadly.


The overall objective of this project is to complete a comprehensive risk and vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning case study. Given the range of potential impacts of climate change on the local environment and communities, adaptation planning is required to enhance the resilience of local populations, natural systems and municipal assets/services.


This project will establish the processes, develop the tools and templates, compile/develop the necessary climate information, and enhance staff capacity needed to conduct climate risk and vulnerability assessments, and resiliency-based adaptation planning.