Climate Adaptation Plan

The City of Guelph Climate Adaptation Plan will be an action-oriented plan that outlines how the City will adapt its policies and plans, assets, operations, and services to ensure we are prepared to withstand and recover from the impacts of climate change.

We first identified a need for the plan during the City’s strategic planning process. The City’s Strategic Plan sets clear direction and priorities for sustaining our future, which include creating and executing an ambitious and achievable Climate Adaptation Plan.

In 2022, we began work on the plan. The plan will be developed from April 2022 to mid-2023, according to the following four project stages:

  • Stage 1: Scoping and planning – develop vision, goals, and scope
  • Stage 2: Strategic context review – collect and review background material (e.g., asset inventories, climate data, existing City preparedness actions)
  • Stage 3: Risk and vulnerability assessment – assess climate risks
  • Stage 4: Actions and plan development – develop and prioritize actions, along with implementation and monitoring strategy

Plan vision and goals

We are now at the end of Stage 1 of the project. We have been working with the steering committee, core project team and staff working group and have developed the following vision and goals for the plan.

Vision: Guelph is adaptable and resilient in the face of a changing climate. We protect City assets and sustain what we have for an equitable, strong, vibrant, and safe community. We are future ready.

Strategic Goals:

  • Environment and health: Sustain environmental health, biodiversity, and individual wellbeing
  • Infrastructure: Prepare for the future with resilient built and natural infrastructure, while protecting existing resources
  • Economy: Strengthen economic prosperity by reducing the risk of economic loss; focus on adaptation actions that are fiscally responsible and achieve measurable long-term benefits
  • Safe: Reduce risk, strengthen our community’s emergency preparedness and disaster response
  • Fairness: Ensure climate adaptation solutions benefit everyone in our community equitably

Community engagement and communications

The Climate Adaptation Plan is primarily an internal planning document, however there will be opportunities for engagement and communications.

      • A project webpage
      • A public open house: We are planning an open house during the last phase of the project to present the draft Climate Adaptation Plan and collect community feedback
      • Outreach to select community partners: We will reach out to different community partners (e.g., Grand River Conservation Authority, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, University of Guelph) to learn from each other throughout the plan’s development.

About the City’s different climate change initiatives

In addition to developing a Climate Adaptation Plan to ensure our community is prepared to withstand and recover from the effects of climate change, Guelph is working on ways to use energy more wisely and reduce our carbon emissions to fight climate change. This is called climate mitigation. More information on corporate and community energy use and carbon emissions can be found on the City’s Energy and Climate Change webpage and the annual Corporate Environmental Sustainability Report.

Infographic showing the difference between mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation includes actions to reduce emissions that cause climate change such as sustainable transportation, clean energy, and energy efficiency. Adaptation includes actions to manage the risks of climate change impacts such as disaster management and business continuity, flood protection, and infrastructure upgrades. Some actions have both a mitigation and adaption benefit such as water conservation, new energy systems, local food, education, complete communities, and urban forest.

FIGURE 1 Mitigation versus Adaptation (from City of Calgary 2018)

For more information

To provide your comments, request more information, or if you require this information to be provided in an alternate format per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005), please contact:

Shelley Lorenz,
Project Manager, Special Projects
Compliance and Performance Division
Environmental Services
City of Guelph
[email protected]

Mari MacNeil
Compliance and Performance Division
Environmental Services
City of Guelph
[email protected]