People walk past the flooded parking lot of the Pebb Building, located across from the Ottawa River, following a rain storm in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. The National Research Council says Canada’s homes and highways were built with assumptions about weather patterns that are no longer relevant thanks to climate change. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Canada seeks updated climate change predictions for new building codes

OTTAWA — The National Research Council says Canada’s homes and highways were built with assumptions about weather patterns that are no longer relevant, thanks to climate change.

Now the NRC is asking for help to figure out what kind of weather to expect in the coming years, so it can revamp national building codes to ensure everything from houses and office towers to bridges and wastewater systems can withstand the consequences of a warmer planet.

“Canada’s buildings and public infrastructure systems … are designed based on historic data assuming a stationary climate, and were not designed to accommodate certain extreme weather events being attributed to climate change,” reads a Nov. 6 tender issued by the council.

“As such, there is a growing risk of failure of buildings and infrastructure.”

From melting permafrost and coastal erosion due to higher sea levels in the north, to the unusual warmth and dryness of the summer in British Columbia this year, experts say Canada has already started to bear witness to the effects of climate change.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned about the increasing frequency of extreme weather last spring while he was touring homes in western Quebec damaged by the engorged Ottawa River.

The costs faced by the federal disaster financial assistance program have also soared. Since 2011, the program has spent an average of $360 million a year, three times what the average annual cost was over the previous decade. Most of that is for floods and forest fires.

Adapting the building code to mitigate and adapt to new weather patterns is one of the commitments of the national climate change framework, agreed to by Ottawa and 11 provinces and territories almost a year ago. In the spring budget, Ottawa set aside $40 million over five years for the NRC’s five-year climate-resilient buildings project.

But before the building codes can be adapted, the NRC needs to know what kind of extreme weather to expect.

The tender seeks a consultant to update weather and climate data for 660 locations across the country, including expected temperatures, wind patterns, rain and snow fall, and humidity.

The successful applicant will work with the Meteorological Service of Canada as well as officials from Environment and Climate Change Canada to develop information about the expected impacts from average increases in global temperature from 0.5 degrees Celsius up to a maximum of 5 C.

The earth has already warmed up more than one degree on average compared to preindustrial levels and the Paris climate change accord commits the world to trying to keep it from hitting two degrees by the end of the century.

The new data will be then used for a 2020 update to the national building code and the national highways building code, which are not laws but serve as models for provinces and municipalities.

The tender closes Dec. 11 and the NRC expects work to begin on the project in January.

Just Posted

Canada caught between 2 powers, feeling alone in the world

TORONTO — First U.S. President Donald Trump attacked Canada on trade. Then… Continue reading

Carbon pricing is most efficient way to cut emissions, Canadian Chamber says

OTTAWA — Canada’s largest business group has endorsed a carbon tax as… Continue reading

Tory senators stalling laws for political advantage, Independents say

OTTAWA — Conservative senators are being accused of deliberately stalling Liberal government… Continue reading

Police across Canada probe bomb threats as U.S. authorities dismiss ‘hoax’

TORONTO — Police forces in cities across Canada investigated multiple bomb threats… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

WHL’s Thunderbirds, Silvertips open to NHL joining Seattle hockey market

TORONTO — The Seattle area’s major junior hockey teams aren’t worried about… Continue reading

Canadian freestyle skier Karker excited for Dew Tour’s modified superpipe

Rachael Karker has a renewed sense of confidence heading into her second… Continue reading

CBS settled with Dushku over ‘Bull’ star’s sexual comments

LOS ANGELES — CBS reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year… Continue reading

Kanye reignites Drake feud on Twitter, alleges threats

LOS ANGELES — Kanye West is not sending Christmas cheer to Drake.… Continue reading

Councillors in Toronto, Ottawa vote to allow retail cannabis stores

TORONTO — Councillors in Toronto have voted to allow retail pot shops… Continue reading

Barry Cooper: Separation has become a real possibility, thanks to Ottawa’s abuses

In the past couple of weeks, a retired senior oil executive, Gwyn… Continue reading

Sex assault trial for former gymnastics coach resumes in Sarnia

SARNIA, Ont. — The trial of a former high-ranking gymnastics coach accused… Continue reading

Most Read