How are Ottawa residents experiencing climate change?

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Flooding, heat warnings, drought, severe storms - no matter where you live, chances are you’ve been impacted by climate change.

We know Ottawa is experiencing warmer, wetter and more unpredictable weather. Summers are getting hotter and winters less cold. While average total annual precipitation (rain and snow) has increased, it varies greatly both in terms of where and when it falls.

A detailed climate study tells us these trends will continue in the future.

In the summer, we hear stories of farmers losing their crops to droughts while residents are inundated with heat warnings. In the winter and spring, families and businesses worry about flooding and freezing rain.

How climate change is impacting our everyday lives is an important part of the policies and programs that will go into the City’s new Climate Resiliency Strategy. The strategy will assess how Ottawa is vulnerable to climate change and identify strategies to mitigate the greatest climate risks. It will go hand in hand with Energy Evolution, the City’s strategy to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Recently, the City asked residents to complete a survey on climate change. With over 350 responses so far, the Interim What We Heard Report summarizes what some Ottawa residents had to say (spoiler: 93 per cent of respondents are very concerned or concerned about climate change) and how we can come together to address climate challenges.

The survey is open to all residents until the end of July. By sharing your thoughts and experiences with climate change, you are helping to inform the Climate Resiliency Strategy. So please consider participating today!

Key Findings in Interim What We Heard Report

Key Findings in Interim What We Heard Report


The City of Ottawa conducted a survey to help understand how residents feel about:

    • How climate change is affecting residents and their communities
    • The future impacts of climate change residents are most concerned about
    • How we can best prepare Ottawa to be resilient to the impacts
    • What residents are doing to adapt to current and future climate change
  • 93 per cent of respondents are very concerned or concerned about climate change.
  • The top three concerns about climate change are:
    • The increase in the number of heat waves and the number of hot days over 30 degrees Celsius (78 per cent)
    • Changes in the natural environment (73 per cent)
    • Increased risk of flooding (71 per cent)
  • The most common impacts experienced by respondents are heatwaves (77 per cent), changes in the natural environment (51 per cent) and high winds/tornadoes (49 per cent).
  • When asked to describe how they’ve been affected, respondents told stories of their property, health or lifestyles being impacted by extreme weather events (heatwaves, drought, flooding, tornadoes, ice storms), Lyme disease and increase in winter temperatures.
  • Just over half (56 per cent) of respondents say they are very prepared or somewhat prepared for the impacts of climate change. Thirty per cent say they are not prepared.
  • Taking steps to keep safe in the sun and keep homes cool were the most common actions that respondents are already taking, followed by protecting against ticks and mosquitoes. Developing an emergency preparedness plan, checking in on neighbours during extreme events and protecting against ticks and mosquitoes were the most common actions that respondents are planning to do.

The City also wants to hear from local business owners, organizations and institutions. Has climate change impacted your operations? How are you preparing? Visit our webpage to learn more and tell us about your experiences.

To learn more about the Climate Resiliency Strategy and what the city is doing to prepare for climate change, please visit engage.ottawa.ca/climate-resiliency.

If you would like to receive updates on the Climate Resiliency Strategy and other climate change news, subscribe to the climate change e-newsletter.

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