One of the major events that inspired the development of this plan was the European Heat Wave of 2003 that resulted in an esimated 35,000 deaths. This tragedy is referenced in the guiding documents presenting the plan to Council. There was also the death of a homeless man, Curtis Brick, from heat exposure in a park. The climate projections used in this work were completed by PCIC in 2016 as funded by the City. The City continues to work on heat response closely with BC Housing, Vancouver Coastal Health and the Centre for Disease Control, Environment Canada and a range of other partners. Health Canada provided significant support to initiate various actions such as heat mapping.
The City of Vancouver expects heat-related mortality rates to rise by some 325% by 2050 (with correspondingly large increase in morbidity as well) and in order to combat this, they created the Extreme Heat Initial Response Guidelines to help people and communities better prepare for the future climate. Climate projections at the time of the creation of this program estimated that the city should see its average annual temperature increase by 1.7C by the 2050’s and up to 2.7C by the 2080’s. These increases in heat will affect all members of the city, but not equally. Some population, including the homeless, the elderly, and those suffering from mental illness and addiction, are more likely to be deleteriously impacted by climate-induced heat. It is these groups specifically that this program attempts to help. Success is difficult to measure because the worst effects of the increasing heat have not been felt yet but many features of this Guideline have already been implemented, and many more are in the preparatory stages.