Climate Adaptation Plan

Want to learn more about the Climate Adaptation Plan? Come visit us at one of our pop-up events this April! Details below.

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

Recent Updates

As of March 2023, we have completed Stages 1 to 3. We are now finalizing Stage 4.

Recent highlights include:

  • Completing a background review to learn and build upon the City’s existing climate adaptation actions (things we are already doing to reduce the impact of a changing climate)
  • Reaching out to City partners and community organizations
  • Identifying climate hazards and the physical, environmental, health, social and economic impacts these hazards have on the City
    • Climate hazards include things like freezing rain, flooding and extreme heat
  • Meeting with City staff to understand the City’s ability to cope with and respond to the effects of a changing climate
  • Evaluating climate risk and the City’s ability to cope with and respond to the effects of a changing climate
  • Developing a list of recommended actions to address high priority climate risks
    • Prioritization involves a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) lens

Our next steps including drafting the final plan document and seeking Council approval.

Plan vision and goals

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
      • Public pop-up information events (April 15 & 22, 2023): we are planning two pop-up information events to present the draft Climate Adaptation Plan:
        • April 15th (time TBD): Guelph Farmers’ Market, 2 Gordon St, Guelph, ON
        • April 22nd (9 am – 2 pm): Hanlon Forest Tree Planting event, 355 Laird Road, Guelph, ON
      • 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.
      • Presentation to Council (Fall 2023): We will present the draft plan to Council this fall for approval.

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)

Partner Working Group Meeting Minutes

Guelph CCAP PWG – Meeting 1 (Stage 2) – Meeting Summary

Alternate formats available upon request.

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]