Climate change is already having significant and often devastating impacts on communities across the province. Understanding the full scope of climate risks and the values and strengths unique to each community will help governments, Nations, communities, businesses, organizations and individuals work together to prepare for these impacts.

Below are examples of five significant areas of climate impacts for B.C. – and how we’re already responding.

Climate risk

Potential impacts

Helping people and communities prepare

Wildfire



  • Increasing costs of fire suppression and damage
  • More smoke-related health impacts such as asthma
  • Damage to infrastructure and buildings
  • Impacts on quality of drinking water
  • The $60 million Community Resiliency Investment Program assists Indigenous communities and local governments to reduce local wildfire threats through FireSmart disciplines and Crown Land Wildfire Risk Reduction

  • B.C.’s Cultural and Prescribed Fire program promotes healthy forests and reduces wildfire risk

  • The Province is investing in wildfire risk reduction, reforestation, forest rehabilitation, and other efforts through the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C.

  • Through Stronger BC, the Province is investing in projects that will reduce the risk of wildfires on Crown land while creating more than 500 jobs in rural communities.

  • A heat pump can cool your home and filter out air pollution particles, like smoke. You can also use a portable HEPA filter to breathe easy during wildfire season.

Floods and Rising Sea Levels




  • Health and safety risks
  • Damage to infrastructure and property
  • Repair costs, economic losses and insurance payouts
  • Negative impacts to drinking water
  • Flooding of agricultural lands
  • Impacts on fish and wildlife habitat

  • The Province has invested more than $103 million in 248 flood risk reduction projects across the province through Emergency Management B.C. including the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund which helps local governments and First Nations build resilience in response to emergencies, as well as joint investments with the federal government for the Adaptation, Resilience and Disaster Mitigation program, and the National Disaster Mitigation Program.

  • Land-use planning can minimize flood risk and may include community decisions to limit development and infrastructure in floodplain areas.

  • Surrey’s Coastal Flood Adaptation Strategy is a community-driven plan to manage wide-spread flooding and keep the community safe.

  • Simple actions like installing and maintaining backflow valves and clearing storm drains can help reduce flood risk in homes and businesses.

Heat waves and warmer average temperatures


  • More risk of heat-related illnesses and impacts to mental health
  • Shifts in diseases and pests
  • Change in the location of ecosystems and species

  • Climate & Agriculture Initiative BC works with the agriculture and research sectors, and governments, to increase the resilience of B.C. agriculture to the impacts of climate change including drought and pests.

  • Through Stronger BC, the Province is investing in more than 60 projects dedicated to restoring diverse ecosystems and conserving fish, wildlife and habitat throughout B.C.

  • Kamloops has a plan to protect and expand urban forest cover to create more shade and help neighborhoods stay cool when the summer heats up.

  • With warmer average temperatures, cherry growers are beginning to expand orchards northward.

  • HealthLinkBC has tips for staying safe in summer heat - like keeping hydrated, avoiding strenuous activity or visiting an air-conditioned community center or library.

Drought




  • Less water in reservoirs leading to water restrictions
  • Lower water levels and higher
    temperatures in rivers affecting fish health
  • Water shortages affecting agricultural crops and animals

  • In the Okanagan, farmers are using new techniques and technology to reduce the amount of water used in orchards and prepare for droughts in the future.

  • B.C.’s Water Sustainability Act contains new tools that can be used to manage water through water shortages and plan for future changes in water resources.

  • Choosing the right plants and hard landscaping materials can help protect your property from drought, fire, and flood while also reducing water, energy and landscaping costs.

Loss of forest resources


  • Changes in tree species distribution
  • Job loss, economic impacts
  • Changes in variety of recreational and cultural values provided

  • B.C.’s seed transfer project helps forests adapt to climate change by moving seedlings to locations where they will be well-adapted to the future climate.

  • Maximizing tree diversity when replanting forests is helping to build resilience in our forests.

  • The First Nation Mountain Pine Beetle Initiative is designing new strategies to support Indigenous communities in affected areas.

  • Provincial Forest Stewardship Plans are working to foster resilient forests and maintain future options and benefits in a changing climate.

To learn more, visit the B.C. Climate Preparedness and Adaptation website.