Upcoming Changes to Building Code Due to Climate Change

Published on April 18, 2019

According to CBC News, Canadian building code will be seeing a number of changes and rewrites to help address some of the problems caused by climate change.

Some of the new changes are set to come into effect in 2020 and 2021, including: new guidelines to help ensure roofs are resilient to harsh weather, new standards for protecting against basement floods, and a change towards a type of concrete mixing for roads that has been designed to reduce the impact of flooding.

By 2025, the building code is expected to see changes to the structural design of buildings, which are intended to help them better manage the effects of climate change.

Mona Lemoine, an architect with the Vancouver firm Perkins + Will, has said that she is excited about the direction the changes to the building code are heading, adding that Canada is having to deal with climate change because we have not been building the right way.

To add to this factor, a recent report from Canada’s Changing Climate Report has found that Canada is currently warming at about twice the rate of the global average.

Lemoine states that climate change concerns require us to change how we look at building costs. She says that building to higher levels of energy efficiency or climate change resilience may cost more up front, but it reduces long term operational costs and energy needs.

Lemoine also adds that by building to high levels of energy efficiency, the workers require a stronger attention to detail in order to successfully seal gaps and prevent air leaks; helping a building to last longer.

In regards to home flooding, Natalia Moudrak, the director of climate resilience at the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, recommends that homeowners with a basement water pump attach it to a backup generator, as floods often bring power outages.

She also recommends that homeowners install a sewage backflow preventer, which prevents any water or sewage from backing up, and it can be installed very affordably during new home construction.


Reduce the Effects of Climate Change on Your Home

As a homeowner, you may be wondering what steps you can take to improve your home’s ability to handle the effects of climate change. High winds, harsh storms, and extreme temperatures can all be made more manageable through home retrofits, and a registered energy advisor can help you along your path of home improvement.


An energy advisor is able to conduct an energy assessment of your home (aka an energy audit), which enables you to see exactly how your home is performing in terms of energy efficiency, and how it could be the most cost-effectively improved. This allows you to prepare your home for many of the effects of climate change in the most affordable and effective manner.

By improving your the energy efficiency of your home, you may notice that it becomes more comfortable to live in, that it has better interior air quality, that your utility bills are significantly lower, and even that your market value has improved when it comes time to sell. It can also help your home become more resilient to high winds and temperature extremes, by means of airtightness and insulation improvements.

Additionally, an energy audit can help your home qualify for up to $5,000 of the home reno rebates that are currently available to both Union Gas and Enbridge Gas customers, helping to make it even easier for you to see a return on your energy efficiency investments.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant offers home efficiency renovation grants up to $5,000.

Homeowners Canada-wide are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, announced on May 27, 2021. This new incentive offers up to $5,000 in grants for home efficiency retrofit renovations, plus a $600 reimbursement for pre- and post-work EnerGuide evaluations. Eligible retrofit scopes include home insulation, heating, doors, windows, photovoltaic solar panels, resiliency measures, and thermostats.

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