Building on ongoing work with local communities to prepare for extreme temperatures, new funding will help assess and plan for the risks of extreme heat and cold that B.C. has been experiencing due to climate change.
“In addition to colder winters, people across the province are feeling the impacts of hotter summers and heat waves. Extreme weather caused by climate change puts vulnerable people at risk and we need to ensure that communities have plans in place to keep people safe,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness. “This funding will help support communities in developing the tools and knowledge they need to better protect people during these extreme weather events.”
More than $430,000 is being provided through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF) to communities to improve knowledge of the risks associated with extreme temperatures and how these risks will change over time. The funding may be used to develop effective response plans and strategies to prepare, mitigate and adapt to those risks.
This funding will support planning work and is part of government’s ongoing efforts to strengthen readiness of communities throughout the province.
Projects have been funded throughout B.C., and include:
- developing an Extreme Temperature Response Plan in Port Moody focused on the community’s most vulnerable populations;
- mapping risks associated with future changes in temperature, assessing vulnerabilities to climate hazards, identifying impacts on vulnerable populations and engaging with local Indigenous groups in Maple Ridge;
- creating a map that will be regularly updated with locations where services support vulnerable people during extreme temperatures in Kelowna; and
- conducting an extreme-temperature risk assessment to identify the social, economic and environmental impacts of extreme temperature events in Klemtu and developing an extreme-temperature response plan.
In September 2022, the Province provided nearly $1.9 million to 36 First Nations and local governments for extreme-heat projects and strategies. This year, the stream was expanded to include extreme cold, in addition to extreme heat.
In February 2023, the Province provided $180 million to CEPF, bringing the total provincial investment in the program to $369 million since its establishment in 2017. More than $164 million has been provided to First Nations and local governments through CEPF for nearly 1,600 projects that help communities mitigate and prepare for disasters and climate-related emergencies. The CEPF is administered by the Union of BC Municipalities on behalf of the Province.
Trent Bossence, fire chief/emergency program co-ordinator, District of Kitimat –
“By investing in extreme-temperature preparedness, we are not only safeguarding lives, but also fortifying our infrastructure, bolstering economic resilience, and ensuring that the most vulnerable among us have the resources they need to withstand the challenges posed by extreme weather events.”
Clay Brander, board chair, qathet Regional District –
"As small, remote communities, we must work together to remain resilient and respond quickly in the event of local emergencies, and we are grateful for the Province's support to help us prepare. We are pleased to be collaborating with our government partners, the Tla'amin Nation and the City of Powell River, as well as the First Nations Health Authority, Island Health and Vancouver Coastal Health, to assess the risk to public health and safety, and develop response and mitigation plans for extreme temperature events."
Tom Dyas, mayor, City of Kelowna –
“We are pleased to receive this funding to assist with our extreme cold weather response plan. The challenge of climate change affects us year-round, so it is important for us to build on the extreme temperature plans we already have in place. The city’s response plan for extreme cold weather is primarily focused on risks to vulnerable populations, particularly those sheltering outdoors. The Extreme Cold Response Plan funded by this grant will ensure Kelowna develops a collaborative approach with community service providers and those with lived experience to mitigate the related health and safety risks.”
For information about the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, visit: https://www.ubcm.ca/cepf
For information about disaster- and climate-risk reduction, visit ClimateReadyBC: https://www.ClimateReadyBC.ca
To learn about the Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy: http://www.gov.bc.ca/BC-Adapts
A backgrounder follows.