Ottawa says it wants to eliminate all deaths related to extreme heat by 2040.
The federal government laid out that goal in the final version of its national adaptation strategy, which it released Tuesday.
That plan comes as Canada is facing its worst wildfire season on record, breaking the record Monday for the most area burned due to fire in a single year in less than six months.
“In the coming decades, climate change will bring more frequent, intense and extreme weather events than the heatwaves, floods, severe wind, and wildfires we experience today,” the report reads.
“All the while, slow-onset impacts such as sea-level rise will continue to evolve. Acting now to prepare and adapt to climate change can protect the well-being of all people and the environment in Canada.”
The federal government has been working on the plan for more than two years, and in the last few months consulted with provinces and territories to get their buy-in to the plan.
The final version of the national adaptation strategy includes targets to shore up resistance to wildfires, extreme heat and major storms, such as hurricanes.
That includes measures to protect people from extreme heat, updated flood maps for high-risk areas and public education about the specific risks people might face in their own communities.
For example, one of the targets the government has set out is to have half of Canadians take “concrete actions to better prepare for and respond to climate change risks facing their household” by 2025.
By 2030, the federal government wants health networks to have identified risks, developed adaptation plans and measure progress towards climate-resilience. By 2040, it wants deaths due to extreme heatwaves eliminated.
Furthermore, by 2030 Ottawa hopes 80 per cent of public and municipal organizations to have factored climate-change adaptation into their decision-making processes.
Finally, by 2027, the federal government is aiming for 80 per cent of coastal communities and 60 per cent of businesses located in coastal regions to be implementing adaptation actions to increase climate resilience and reduce the economic impacts of climate change.
“Achieving the goals and objectives of this strategy will require whole-of-society action and coordination among governments,” the report said.
“We can only meet the magnitude of the challenge if we all work together. With climate justice at the heart of our shared goals, which encompasses the pursuit of environmental justice more broadly, the strategy can help people in Canada thrive in the face of climate change.”
The government said it will update the strategy again in 2030. Associated action plans will be developed on five-year cycles to allow sufficient time for implementation, assessment of results, and consideration of anticipated climate impacts.
The report added that Ottawa will lead the development of progress reports midway through the strategy’s cycles, informed by actions across the country.
Ottawa committed $1.6 billion in new spending to the adaptation plan last fall and is expected to put some more money on the table with Tuesday’s announcement.
— with files from The Canadian Press