In addition to reducing GHG emissions, Toronto needs to plan ahead to be ready to cope with and recover from the impacts of a changing climate.

Climate change adaptation means taking proactive action to lower the risks and negative impacts of a changing climate so that communities and ecosystems are prepared to cope with the new climate conditions.

Climate resilience is the ability to respond to climate change and extreme weather events quickly, effectively, and equitably. In a climate-resilient city, the interconnected systems we depend on can respond and reorganize to provide the functions and services we depend on and recognize. Climate resilience is connected to the broader concept of urban resilience.


Some of the main climate hazards to address in Toronto include:

  • More hot weather: In the past, Toronto had about 12 days per year with temperatures above 30°C. Now, we average about 18 days per year, and by 2050 it could be 55-60 days.
  • Rainstorms and flooding: Future springs and winters will be warmer and wetter with more intense rainstorms, leading to more frequent and intense flooding
  • Poor air quality: In 2023, there were record levels of harmful air pollutants in Toronto as a result of distant wildfires. Those wildfires are expected to become more common as the climate warms.
  • Extreme weather: Our future weather may also include more windstorms and more extreme winter weather such as ice storms.

These changes in weather are costly and affect the health and wellness of Toronto residents and damage public and private infrastructure and natural ecosystems. They disrupt service delivery and the economic and social systems we depend on.

Taking action early saves money: spending a dollar today on adaptation will save $15 in the future. Across Ontario, a proactive adaptation approach would save 1.1 billion dollars per year in climate costs by the end of the century, compared with simply reacting to the impacts of climate change. There are also many co-benefits including mental and physical health benefits of access to green urban spaces, creation of green jobs, connecting communities and addressing inequities.

Toronto’s 2019 Resilience Strategy identified the many important pressures that Torontonians are facing, including housing, mobility, equity, climate change, civic engagement, and the strength of communities, and discussed how we can build resilience to all of these important challenges. To address our resilience to climate change, we need to change how we do business to consider how a future climate will affect the infrastructure, natural systems, services, and communities that make up the City. Examples of projects that increase Toronto’s climate resilience are:

Climate-Resilient People and Planning

  • Toronto’s Heat Relief Strategy, aims to reduce the incidence of heat-related illness and death in Toronto due to extreme heat and includes a network of cool spaces that are open throughout the summer.
  • The City’s Emergency Plan specifically considers extreme weather events including flooding, winter weather and extreme heat.
  • Toronto’s Wildfire Smoke Response Strategy was developed in 2023 in response to unprecedented air quality impacts.

Climate-Resilient Natural and Built Environments

  • The Toronto Green Standard sets sustainable design and performance requirements for new private and city-owned developments.
  • A new Bayview Avenue Flood Traffic Management System will enable effective traffic diversion during flooding in this area.
  • Toronto’s Green Streets manage the impact of wet weather events and provides social, economic and environmental benefits.
  • The Wet Weather Flow Master Plan protects our environment and water quality in the Lake, rivers, streams and other water bodies from stormwater.
  • Toronto’s Ravine Strategy guides ravine management, use, enhancement and protection of the City’s Ravines, and the Toronto Biodiversity Strategy aims to support healthier, more robust biodiversity and increased awareness of nature in Toronto.
  • Toronto’s Parkland Strategy intends to expand the system, improve the function of existing parks, connect parks and other open spaces, and remove barriers so that parks and other open spaces are inclusive places and equitably accessible to everyone.

Climate Equity ensures that climate resilience efforts prioritize historically marginalized and vulnerable communities, ensuring equal access to resources and decision-making processes. These communities often face unfair impacts from climate change due to factors like inadequate infrastructure and social disparities. Climate equity seeks to centre resilience around those most affected, fostering inclusivity, and redressing historic injustices.


Embracing Indigenous worldviews means respecting the wisdom, knowledge, and practices of Indigenous communities, particularly as they relate to the land. Indigenous peoples have a deep understanding of sustainable land stewardship and ecosystem preservation. For climate resilience initiatives, incorporating Indigenous perspectives means collaborating respectfully with Indigenous peoples, benefiting from their insights, and acknowledging their role as knowledge keepers and environmental stewards.


Stay informed: Check your local forecast or learn about Weather Alerts for Toronto. During an extreme weather event you can receive information from places like newspapers, telephone, internet and social media, the local television and radio station, or people you know in your community.

Prepare your home: There are measures you can take to protect your home from climate impacts related to heat, flooding, wind damage, and loss of power. These infographics include measures for people who live in apartments and condos as well as ideas for commercial real estate. There are also ways to weatherproof your home while preparing for extreme heat, cold and wind with the Preparing for Extreme Weather resource.

Stay connected: Research shows that people who are isolated are the most likely to be affected when there are extreme weather events. Communities with more social connections tend to be more resilient to any kind of stress. Join a community organization, get to know your neighbours – and check in on those who live alone.