Fighting climate change in an urban context: Toward a disability inclusive approach

By Sébastien Jodoin and Naomi Gupta
While existing literature already addresses the consequences of urban climate action for racial and socio-economic inequalities, its intersections with inclusion and equality for people with disabilities have received little attention from researchers. This lack of knowledge is problematic in light of emerging evidence that climate mitigation and adaptation efforts have the potential to dismantle and reinforce the social, economic and physical barriers faced by people with disabilities.

Presence & power: The illusion of Indigenous inclusion in climate adaptation plans in Canada

By Janna Wale
Over the past several years, there has been an increasing recognition of the importance of including Indigenous knowledge in both responding and adapting to climate change. Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy (NAS) and associated Action Plan (NAP), released in draft in 2022, presented a landmark opportunity for Indigenous people to both meaningfully contribute and lead climate action and adaptation. However, many aspects of Indigenous inclusion and representation in the development of the NAS and NAP fell short. This research considers the involvement (or lack thereof) of Indigenous peoples in adaptation planning and decision-making in Canada.

Exploring equity and justice content in Vancouver’s environmental plans

By Emeralde O’Donnell and Andréanne Doyon
Scholars have raised concerns about vague uses of equity and justice terms negatively impacting equity and justice work in planning. We explored the link between equity and justice framings and outcomes in four of Vancouver’s environmental plans. With the inequitable impacts of climate change and a history of planning worsening inequities, we must consider how approaches to equity and justice are impacting planning work in our cities.

Key considerations for addressing the equity deficit in municipal climate action

By Jennifer Dobai and Manuel Riemer
Increasingly, municipalities are taking actions to address global climate change at a local level. Yet, some of these actions generate unintended consequences for marginalized communities, resulting in an equity-deficit. In this summary, the authors first review a study that explored the perspectives of key municipal sustainability actors on this equity-deficit in municipal climate action. While there was a general awareness of this issue, the participants highlighted several key structural barriers in addressing it. Building on this finding, the authors then review a second connected study from the same municipal area that investigated how a needed transformation may be initiated by shifting mental models of municipal leaders.

Achieving deep-energy retrofits for households in energy poverty

By Laura Tozer, Hannah MacRae and Emily Smit
This systematic review identifies which factors influence the achievement of energy retrofits for households vulnerable to energy poverty. The results identify a range of influential factors across several themes: financial, policy, organizational, trust, communication, technical, attitudes, and health. Quality of life, health, trust, and communication are particularly influential motivating factors among households vulnerable to energy poverty. Financial considerations such as the availability of no-cost retrofits and the prospect of lower costs are also important. Government requirements to retrofit and minimum energy standards are motivating, particularly in the social housing sector.

Supporting climate action and Indigenous self-determination: Ethical space-based planning in the Upper Columbia region of British Columbia

By Moe Nadeau
Planners play a key role in shaping society, but have historically oppressed Indigenous communities. Adopting Ethical Space-based planning can balance power dynamics between Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments, fostering collaboration and ethical decision-making for land. Indigenous voices are the key to climate action, as their deep connection and commitment to act in relationship with the land supports long-term sustainability. This research offers recommendations to advance Ethical Space in planning initiatives. Through Ethical Space, planners can create more just and resilient futures.

Access to green spaces: A source of environmental inequalities? The case of Saint-Henri in Montreal

By Étienne Tardif-Paradis
In recent years, the Montreal metropolis has stepped up the implementation of greening projects in line with an ideal of sustainable urban development and environmental justice. The Saint-Henri district is an emblematic case in point, with its high density of green spaces. However, the proliferation of public interventions to green urban spaces is taking place in a living environment characterized by specific socio-economic realities and needs, and marked by a process of gentrification. Here, the authorities’ desire to respond to certain socio-environmental inequalities by improving access to green spaces is having paradoxical consequences.

Adaptation measures by Quebec municipalities: Progress and determinants according to deprivation level

By Johann Jacob and Pierre Valois
With many climate risks concentrated in urban areas, adaptation to climate change is an issue that cities and municipalities can no longer ignore. A better understanding of the potential effects of adaptation actions, particularly the less desirable ones, has become a necessity. From a just transition perspective, it is essential to develop the capacity to measure and assess the progress made by municipalities in adaptation, as well as to strengthen their ability to take account of the specific vulnerabilities of certain groups.

Equity in climate plans: a comparison between Vancouver and Montreal

By Hélène Madénian, Sophie L. Van Neste, Andréanne Doyon and Ashley Armitage
This research focuses on the equity and justice approaches of the City of Vancouver and the City of Montreal in their climate plans, i.e. the definitions of equity and the concrete measures considered by the two cities. Identified as climate leaders, Vancouver and Montreal have targets in line with the Paris Agreement and are committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, and each published a new climate plan in 2020.

Clearing the air: Barriers to improving air quality and reducing environmental inequity along Vancouver’s Clark-Knight corridor

By Nancy Lai-Chu Chan
Based on a thesis completed for the SFU Masters of Urban Studies Program, this research summary focuses on the investigation of barriers to implementing policies and programs to improve air quality and reduce environmental inequity related to traffic-related air pollution exposure along the Clark-Knight corridor, home to a six-lane arterial road and one of the busiest, most polluted truck routes in the Metro Vancouver region.

References to vulnerability in Quebec’s 2013-2020 climate change policy initiatives: Supporting resource extraction at the expense of environmental justice

By Laurie Gagnon-Bouchard
Based on a master’s thesis, this synthesis examines the integration of the concept of vulnerability into Quebec’s climate change policy guidelines for 2013-2020. The analysis results indicate that using the language of vulnerability can emphasize the vulnerability of the economic sectors in the Northern Plan. This approach allows for a risk management strategy that does not compromise economic growth or increase associated risks.

Sustainable housing and electric mobility programs in Quebec: Toward a trajectory of urban sprawl and growing socioeconomic inequalities

By Guillaume Lessard
Two major challenges to sustainable urbanization in North America are the environmental, social and economic impacts of urban sprawl, and the growing socio-economic inequalities associated with housing and mobility. Several government policies and programs address these issues. However, depending on how they are implemented, interventions in these sectors can lead to the reinforcement of structural and cultural barriers specific to urban sprawl, as well as the exacerbation of pre-existing socio-economic inequalities.

The discourse of ecological transition in Greater Montreal

By Ali Romdhani and René Audet
Ecological transition is a recent form of environmental discourse, the successor to sustainable development in many institutions. Transition discourse was initially conceived on an urban scale: the Transition Towns movement popularized citizen initiatives and local action. Later, in Quebec, municipal institutions took up the issue, and planning documents proliferated.
Here’s an overview of the transition discourse in Greater Montreal.

Climate change adaptation and urban experimentation in Montreal: Progress and blind spots

By Hélène Madénian, Sophie L. Van Neste, Geneviève Cloutier and Émilie Houde-Tremblay
Cities are multiplying initiatives to become resilient to climate change. However, the impacts of adaptation choices and priorities are not always explicitly discussed. As part of Labo Climat Montréal, a research project and living laboratory, documentation of current practices and workshops helped stimulate learning and understanding of adaptation priorities and constraints in the redevelopment of an urban area. The results show an emphasis and innovation on stormwater management, with less attention to social vulnerabilities to heat and the impacts of development on surrounding neighborhoods. As climate hazards affect the various populations in an area in different ways, concerted and strategic actions need to be developed.

Review of a research partnership in Rosemont‒La Petite-Patrie: The challenges of sub-municipal governance for the ecological transition

Production of a summary directory in collaboration with the Borough of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, in Montreal, to identify the areas and methods of intervention of the administration and its partners in terms of ecological transition. The Borough makes relatively little use of prescriptive standards and criteria, or of awareness-raising and incentives, even though these mechanisms have proven their effectiveness in triggering changes in behavior.

Climate change and social inequalities in health: The case of urban environments in Quebec

By Léa Ilardo
Social inequalities amplify the impacts of climate change on the health of certain urban populations in Quebec and Canada. This is demonstrated using the example of impacts linked to heat waves and air pollution, which primarily affect communities that are already vulnerable, either because they are already affected by other illnesses, or because they have a disadvantaged socio-economic status. This reality must be taken into account when developing measures to combat and adapt to climate change, so as not to widen the gap in social inequality.

The incremental trajectory of climate change adaptation in Quebec municipalities

By Eve Bourgeois
With the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events on the rise, more and more cities are implementing measures to adapt to climate change. This observation is consistent with the situation in Quebec, where six municipalities (Montreal, Quebec City, Laval, Longueuil, Sherbrooke and Saguenay) have adopted different climate change adaptation strategies. It appears that the approach favored by these municipalities is highly incremental.