Climate Change Adaptation

Electricity Canada and its members are committed to adapting electricity infrastructure to the effects of climate change.


Human-caused climate change is affecting Canadians already. In March 2019, the Canadian government released ‘Canada’s Changing Climate Report,’ which unnervingly shows Canada’s climate to be warming two-to-three times faster than the global average, with average temperatures possibly rising by 6.3 degrees by the year 2100.

Warming weather due to climate change is causing profound changes to seasonal and annual patterns in terms of precipitation, temperature, and numerous other variables. It is also changing the frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme weather events. These changes can pose significant risks for electricity companies—risks that need to be managed through adaptation. The challenge most industries must now consider is how to adapt to those increasingly severe and frequent weather events.

With inevitable climate change on the horizon, electricity companies understand the unique role the sector plays and the importance of ensuring safe, reliable, and affordable electricity for customers. This means utilities must continue to harden infrastructure against increasingly severe and frequent weather events as the costs of inaction will exceed the costs of adaptation.

While climate adaptation plans for industries are not yet government-mandated, investors and insurers are increasingly interested in assessing the risks posed by a company’s exposure to climate change. Furthermore, as providers of a critical service, a resilient electricity sector is essential to all other sectors abilities to adapt. From responding to power outages promptly, to identifying critical and vulnerable assets and operations and investing in the right infrastructure and technology, climate adaptation for the electricity sector is a multi-faceted battle for which utilities are preparing.

Electricity Canada & Climate Change Adaptation

  • While most electricity companies have been proactive in monitoring and planning for climate change and extreme weather, Electricity Canada has been encouraged by our members’ interest to expand their scope and deepen their knowledge on climate adaptation. Electricity Canada members recognize both the challenges and opportunities that arise when a solid understanding of climate science is paired with a strategic approach to managing the impending risks of climate change.
  • Electricity Canada stands alongside Canadian utilities to help prepare Canadians for the effects of climate change. With funding from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Electricity Canada undertook a three-year project from 2017 to 2020 to develop climate adaptation planning guidelines for electricity companies in Canada. The guidelines are recommended processes for utilities to follow when creating tailored company-specific adaptation plans. Given the diverse geography and structure of the electricity sector in Canada, a series of workshops were also delivered across the country to work hands-on with utilities in interpreting and applying the proposed guidelines. After several rounds of consultations and various iterations of the document, the guidance document is now available publicly and currently being used by members at various stages.

Electricity Canada recommendations to the Federal government:

  • Develop a national adaptation strategy
  • Improve national understanding of climate risks and opportunities
  • Support scientific research and climate data at a regional level
  • Ensure cross-border coordination and risk management

Did You Know?

  • Electricity Canada agrees that a comprehensive, all-of-government approach to adaptation is extremely essential to Canada being resilient against a changing climate.
  • The electricity sector would greatly benefit from being included as an active participant in the development of a national strategy or plan, as the electricity sector is an essential and fundamental component of transitioning to a low-carbon economy.
  • As the climate continues to change, the sector strives to maintain the existing high level of reliability to which Canadians are accustomed.
  • Having a resilient electricity system with high reliability is essential to ensuring stable electricity prices.