New Report: Canadian climate solutions must incorporate gender and intersectionality considerations to build resilience and preparedness

More evidence needed to identify and address unequal impacts of a changing climate and advance inclusive climate adaptation efforts

Ottawa, CANADA

OTTAWA, April 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Climate change affects everybody and will only intensify in the coming years; however, it does not impact all people equally. Acting as a threat multiplier, it exacerbates existing societal issues in Canada, from homelessness to food insecurity, leaving already underserved and vulnerable groups more at risk.

A landmark report released today by Smart Prosperity Institute – Shed Light, Build Resilience: Unearthing Evidence on Climate Change, Gender, and Livelihoods in Canada, explores the question: What are the gendered and intersectional impacts of climate change on livelihoods in Canada, and how do we respond to these challenges?

Shed Light, Build Resilience breaks down how climate change can specifically impact the livelihoods of different social groups in Canada, examining the areas of health, food security, work, housing, and migration and displacement in Arctic, rural, coastal, and urban communities.

Through an intersectional lens, it investigates factors that drive vulnerability to climate change and examines how different groups experience the impacts of climatic events. The publication is the first in a pair of reports that synthesizes the most recent evidence available at the nexus between climate change and gender. By shining a light on the lack of evidence relevant to the Canadian experience, this report is the most comprehensive examination of how equity and climate change interconnect in this country to date.

"Climate change can have compounding effects, exacerbating existing inequities in health, housing, work opportunities, and food security, which will be felt unevenly and disproportionately by different social groups and communities,” said Aline Coutinho, lead author of the report and Post-Doctoral Fellow at Smart Prosperity Institute. “The research questions we ask, as well as the solutions we envision, must address this complexity, integrating systemic and intersectional thinking to inform inclusive climate adaptation efforts, reduce unintended consequences, and improve resilience of distinct communities and equity-deserving groups.”

Livelihoods in Canada are already sustaining the shocks of climatic changes, and evidence mounts indicating that these impacts are felt unevenly across communities and social groups. This report explores the most recent available information to illuminate gendered impacts of climate change in Canada, particularly how these implications intersect with age, race, ethnicity, Indigeneity, citizenship status, physical attributes, and other socioeconomic identity factors.

"We've come a long way in understanding the social implications of climate change in Canada, but much remains unknown,” Coutinho added. “Without a more integrated approach to understanding how different identity factors and dimensions of livelihood interact, we risk capturing an incomplete picture of the impacts of climate change. Policy decisions that do take into account intersectionality and complexity can lead to improved experiences of health, work, housing, food, and well-being.”

Shed Light, Build Resilience offers key takeaways and recommendations that will allow policymakers, practitioners, civil society organizations, researchers, and community members to better identify the unequal gendered and intersectional implications of climate change moving forward. It aims to inform the design of inclusive climate adaptation efforts and to improve the resilience of communities and equity-deserving groups, enabling decision makers to reduce the detrimental consequences of climate change and anticipate, prepare, and build resilience to meet future challenges.

The full report including executive summary can be found online on the Smart Prosperity Institute website ( at

Supporting visuals of key takeaways from the report are also available here - attributable to “Smart Prosperity Institute”.

Available for interview: lead report author Aline Coutinho, Post-Doctoral Fellow at Smart Prosperity Institute

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Mac Radburn

Communications & Outreach Officer, Smart Prosperity Institute

About Smart Prosperity Institute

Smart Prosperity Institute is a national research network and policy think tank based at the University of Ottawa. We deliver world-class research and work with public and private partners – all to advance practical policies and market solutions for a stronger, cleaner economy.

About the “Shed Light, Build Resilience” series

This release is the first of two in Smart Prosperity Institute’s Shed Light, Build Resilience series, looking at the gendered implications of climate change in Canada through an intersectional lens. A second report, to be released in May, will focus on resource-based communities.