Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the City of Magog

Further to reports published by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Union des municipalités du Québec (UMQ) on the issue of climate change and municipalities, the City of Magog, in southern Quebec, adopted in 2021 its first Climate Change Adaptation Plan. To build this plan, the City referred to Élaborer un plan d’adaptation aux changements climatiques : Guide destiné au milieu municipal québécois (a French-language guide to assist Quebec municipalities in developing a Climate Change Adaptation Plan), published by Ouranos, and worked with numerous stakeholders, including citizens and several local environment and conservation organizations. The plan it produced outlines the main actions needed to increase the resilience of the municipality and its population regarding the impacts of climate change.

Understanding and Assessing Impacts

One of the inspirations of this plan is the methodology developed by Ouranos (2010), which structures the development of a municipal plan for adaptation to climate change in five stages: the assessment of the impacts of the current climate, defining the potential impacts of climate change and analyze vulnerabilities, carry out a risk assessment, find and prioritize options to manage risks and, ultimately, produce and implement the adaptation plan. This has however been adjusted to include advances in knowledge since the publication of the guide, the approach of this plan aimed to increase the resilience of the community in the face of the current and future climate by establishing a list of adaptation actions to be undertaken, particularly in the areas of public health and municipal infrastructure. Although actions with co-benefits that would also contribute to climate change mitigation are a plus, priority was given to initiatives promoting adaptation. Each relevant adaptation option identified in the scientific literature and the plans of other municipalities in the region was thus analyzed based on a vulnerability index developed by the City to facilitate decision-making and implementation. Applied at the scale of dissemination areas, this index integrates sensitivity and adaptive capacity, the latter being calculated, among other things, from the costs and effectiveness of the measure. The final recommendations are based on the coping strategies that best reduce vulnerability.

Identifying Actions

The development of this plan was requested by the municipal council of the City of Magog following reports from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ) on climate change and its impact on municipal issues, such as public health and infrastructure. This was also part of the actions proposed in the environmental action plan for the City of Magog 2020-2025. The internal expertise available within the Environment Division was used to carry out the vulnerability assessment for each intervention strategy. These have been chosen based primarily on scientific literature and similar documents adopted by other municipalities in the region (as well as elsewhere in the province), as well as with the contribution of specific information. from the population (survey), local organizations, various municipal services and public resources such as the Vulnerability Atlas. It was thus possible to analyze a variety of adaptation strategies with the methodology developed for the project and thus highlight the strategies with the greatest impact at the lowest cost.


Given the speed of production of the adaptation plan and the context of the Covid-19 pandemic during its development, it focuses on adaptation strategies rather than very specific actions and focuses on the strategies that the municipality can put in place on its own. Moreover, none of the strategies listed and assessed was eliminated from the monitoring table, the vulnerability index of each aimed above all at guiding the decision-making of the municipal administration in its prioritization choices. In addition, a significant proportion of the adaptation strategies assessed are already part of municipal and government programs, which facilitates the monitoring of their implementation and only requires continuous monitoring of opportunities for improvement. For example, stormwater management initiatives such as regulations on stormwater management in new developments or the program to disconnect gutters from the sanitary sewer network are already in place, but would benefit from better follow-up. The general implementation of the strategies is planned for a horizon of 2030.

Outcomes and Monitoring Progress

The plan assigns specific monitoring responsibilities to certain employees and identifies the various municipal departments concerned with the implementation of the different strategies. Their role is in particular to monitor the opportunities for implementation, for example the availability of new subsidies or the renovation of municipal infrastructures. In addition, several of the strategies evaluated concerning municipal regulations could be integrated into the regulatory tools currently under review, in particular those concerning the protection of wetlands.