Cover report of Future by design: standards for a climate resilient Canada

Future by design: standards for a climate resilient Canada

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Final Report of the 2016-2021 Standards to Support Resilience in Infrastructure Program


Our buildings and infrastructure are designed with weather in mind. We expect our homes to protect us from heavy snow, our stormwater systems to whisk away heavy downpours, and our electrical grid to be reliable so that we can stay cool in the hottest summers. Climate change means that the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events are changing, and the climate that we considered when setting requirements is not likely to be the same climate that our buildings and infrastructure will experience 10, or 30, or 50 years from now.
Since 2016, the Standards Council of Canada’s Standards to Support Resilience in Infrastructure Program has advanced standardization strategies to address these rising risks. By updating our existing standards and guidance, and developing new standards where there are gaps, we can reduce or avoid many of the risks from climate change. This report provides a detailed overview of our work from 2016 to 2021. 

The Program has led the development of 41 standards and related guidance to safeguard communities and infrastructure. These include: 

  • Three guidance documents that will help people writing standards – who may be experts in their fields, but not in climate change – consider how to incorporate weather and climate change information into their work; 
  • Thirteen standards and foundational documents that will help communities across Canada reduce the risks of flooding; 
  • Eight projects considering other hazards to buildings and infrastructure, ranging from extreme heat to wildfire to severe winds; 
  • Six new standards, four updated standards, and an updated technical guide that directly help Northern communities deal with thawing permafrost and extreme weather, while considering the North’s unique geographic and climatic factors; 
  • A series of four new standards that will increase infrastructure practitioners’ access to highly localized weather and climate data, by standardizing how hydrometeorological data in Canada is collected, shared, described, and assessed; and, 
  • New guidance document to support Indigenous communities seeking to monitor weather and climate variables. 

We’ve made significant progress, but there is still much more to do to ensure infrastructure is built to higher design standards and with climate change in mind. Fortunately, the Standards to Support Resilience in Infrastructure Program has been renewed for a further five years, until 2026. SCC is eager to continue leading the update and development of climate-ready standards that make a substantive difference to Canadian communities, households, and business.