Vancouver is taking action to support the city’s most heat-vulnerable residents during times of extreme heat, helping to alleviate the unequal burden of climate crisis impacts on local communities.

The 2021 extreme heat wave (“Heat Dome”) in Vancouver tragically demonstrated how different populations do not face equal risk from climate-related hazards. Most people who lost their lives to heat-related illnesses were over 70, lived alone, had chronic health conditions and mobility challenges, and were materially or socially deprived. Addressing extreme heat and wildfire smoke vulnerability is a priority for Vancouver, as outlined in the city’s Resilient Vancouver StrategyCity of Vancouver Climate Adaptation Strategy and City of Vancouver Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP)

Focusing on community-led and equity-centred approaches, the City of Vancouver’s Resilient Neighbourhoods Program seeks to strengthen climate resilience by working closely with trusted community partners to provide cooling support and services during extreme heat events. One key activity of the programme has been the distribution of critical supplies, including cool kits and DIY air filters, to those most impacted by extreme heat and air quality emergencies.

Building on this, Vancouver will primarily use the C40 Inclusive Climate Action (ICA) Cities Fund grant to expand the programme, partnering with disability organisations to provide appropriate and accessible cooling and air quality support to people with disabilities. The project’s findings will continue to support the work of the City of Vancouver Accessibility Strategy, inform future updates of the Climate Adaptation Strategy, as well as build business cases to accelerate green and resilient building policies and broader climate resilience policies that benefit disproportionately impacted residents.

The C40 Inclusive Climate Action (ICA) Cities Fund is designed to help cities develop and implement climate projects with equity and inclusion principles at their core. As part of the 2023 programme, C40 is supporting six global cities to develop and deliver climate projects over a 12 month period that are inclusive, fair and benefit all residents. Learn more about the ICA Cities Fund.

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