Official Plans
town of conception bay south municipal plan 2011-2021An official plan is a formal planning document that sets out a comprehensive long-term vision and the goals and objectives for the development of a community or a region (from Planning Canadian Communities: An Introduction to the Principles, Practice, and Participants).  Some provinces require municipal or regional plans.

Considering climate change in official plans is one approach local governments can take to incorporate adaptation strategies into their communities’ land-use decision-making framework.  Studies and evidence used to amend official plans can provide the basis for the development or amendment of policies, by-laws and regulations.

Example: Town of Conception Bay South - Municipal Plan 2011-2021


Integrated Community Sustainability Plans
An Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) is any long-term plan, developed in consultation with community members, which helps a community realize sustainability goals and objectives.  These plans are a requirement of federal / provincial Gas Tax Agreements and allow the transfer of gas tax funds to municipalities.

Climate change adaptation is an important consideration in the development of sustainable infrastructure.  Some governments are adding climate change to the list of issues covered in an ICSP.  In Nova Scotia, municipalities will be required to incorporate climate change into their ICSP beginning in 2013.  A Municipal Climate Change Action Plan Guidebook was developed to provide municipalities with a step-by-step process to follow.

Example: In Nova Scotia, municipalities will be required to incorporate climate change into their ICSP beginning in 2013.  A Municipal Climate Change Action Plan (MCCAP) Guidebook was developed to provide municipalities with a step-by-step process to follow.


Other Local Plans on Special Matters
In addition to official plans and integrated community sustainability plans, governments adopt many other kinds of plans.  These local plans are often developed through a formal planning process, including public consultation, and provide an assessment of conditions, a long-term vision and a set of goals and actions for the particular issue or area in question.

Municipal climate change adaptation plans are starting to become more common.  These plans look at how climate change will affect their community, how they can minimize any negative impacts, and how they can capitalize on any opportunities. 

Examples: Town of Stratford Climate Change Municipal Action Plan
  Local Government, Sustainability and Climate Change - A Resource for Municipal Officials in New Brunswick   English / French
  7 Steps to Assess Vulnerability in Your Community - A Step-by-Step Guide for Communities 


Policies contain principles or rules that guide decision-making. 

Governments can develop and implement climate change policies or ensure that climate change is considered during decision-making.  Policies relevant to Atlantic Canada could include those that identify how coastal hazards such as erosion and inundation should be addressed, conditions suitable to accommodate appropriate growth and where development should be avoided.   

Example: New Brunswick Coastal Areas Protection Policy


Emergency Planning and Preparedness
Emergency planning and preparedness refers to measures undertaken in advance of a disaster or emergency. 

In most provinces and territories, local governments are required to develop emergency management plans for a wide range of risks.  Climate change represents one additional risk that should be addressed.  Including climate change in emergency plans will help ensure that communities are better prepared and can therefore recover more quickly.  It could also raise the profile of this issue and encourage adoption of other adaptation options that would minimize impacts on the community. 

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