The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) is making a difference by delivering standardization solutions to help mitigate the impact we have on the environment and to help us adapt to our changing climate.
When it comes to weather, Canada is a country of extremes. Our often harsh and varying climate has a significant impact on infrastructure—from the roads and bridges we drive on to the foundations of the houses we live in, right down to where and how we build those houses. Environmental changes are creating new challenges for how we build and maintain that infrastructure.
Climate change has resulted in more extreme wind, fluctuating temperatures, and changing precipitation patterns which threaten the integrity of Canada’s infrastructure—putting our communities at risk. That is why SCC is working with governments and industry to adapt standards and codes to ensure our infrastructure is climate resilient and safe.
Making Infrastructure Climate Resilient Across Canada
In the past, our climate was more predictable, allowing engineers and planners to anticipate the weather that infrastructure would face during its life expectancy. Today’s more frequent extreme weather events mean that is no longer possible. SCC is committed to working with stakeholders to develop and implement innovative standardization solutions that ensure building and infrastructure codes across Canada are developed, maintained and upgraded to consider future needs which will improve climate resiliency and create stronger communities for Canadians.
In support of the Government of Canada’s objective to adapt infrastructure to climate change impacts, SCC is leading new initiatives to address a critical gap in the development of standards by providing an overview and understanding of the collection, management and use of climate and weather data for the future design of climate-resilient infrastructure. In doing so, SCC will give stakeholders the information they need to include climate considerations in new or updated infrastructure standards.
SCC is also supporting the updating of existing infrastructure standards, like those involved in towers and antenna supporting structures, to ensure that critical infrastructure across Canada is safe and climate ready. Where standards do not exist, SCC is supporting research and working with stakeholders to identify options for standardization solutions to address their needs.
For instance, an SCC-funded report by the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo, Preventing Disaster Before It Strikes: Developing a Canadian Standard for Flood-Resilient Residential Communities, has outlined a series of best practices to make new residential communities more flood-resilient. These best practices will be used to develop a new standard. Stakeholders, including developers and municipalities, support this direction and recognize the value of a standardization solution in addressing the issue of residential flooding.
A new research report funded by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), the National Research Council and Intact Financial Corporation has identified practical and cost-effective ways to alleviate the risk of future floods.
Entitled Weathering the Storm: Developing a Canadian Standard for Flood-Resilient Existing Communities, the new report from the University of Waterloo’s Intact Centre on Climate Adaptationincludes simple steps homeowners can take to prevent flooding, such as:
- installing backwater valves on basement sewer lines;
- disconnecting downspouts from eavestroughs to prevent sewer back-ups; and
- clearing leaves and debris from catch basins.
Additionally, SCC supported another research report, Standardization Guidance for Weather Data, Climate Information and Climate Change Projections, that was conducted by Ouranos. It examines the state of climate information in Canada and highlights how it can be integrated into infrastructure design decisions to make the country more climate resilient. The research is a comprehensive overview of the state of weather data, climate information and climate change projections in Canada. It provides recommendations for where standardized guidance could address current gaps and strengthen the integration of this information into infrastructure design.
Finally, SCC is building on the success of the Northern Infrastructure Standardization Initiative (NISI) through a second phase of the program. Five National Standards of Canada that address the unique circumstances found in Canada’s North have already been published. The next phase will deliver an additional series of standards on issues ranging from wastewater treatment to erosion protection.
Helping Canada’s Clean Tech Industry Compete and Grow
Environmental issues such as climate change, air quality, clean water and clean soil create challenges for countries around the world, including Canada. Innovative technologies and products can help address some of these challenges by reducing pollutants and emissions. Environmental technology verification (ETV) helps demonstrate how these products live up to their performance claims.
New technologies can face market resistance because they are unable to demonstrate a successful track record. ISO 14034 Environmental management -- Environmental technology verification (ETV) is an international standard developed with Canadian participation (supported by SCC and led by Environment and Climate Change Canada) that provides verified evidence of the performance claims of new technologies. In essence, ETV acts as a “seal of approval” that backs up claims of clean tech companies and helps them compete in Canada and markets around the world.
SCC’s video describes the benefits of ETV and clearly lays out the process for businesses and innovators to meet its requirements.
By working together to strengthen the climate resilience of our infrastructure, SCC is helping to protect the health and well-being of Canadians, build stronger communities, and support the innovative clusters that are key to Canada’s growth and competitiveness.