Development of a Climate Resilience Training Program for Building Sector Professionals: Supporting Canada’s Path to Net Zero


Harshan Radhakrishnan, P.Eng., M.A.Sc.

Climate Change and Sustainability Initiatives, Engineers and Geoscientists BC


Robert LePage, P.Eng., PhD

Climes Group Engineering Inc.

Founding Principal

The headshots of an Indian and a white man set next to each other
Disclaimer: The French version of this editorial has been auto-translated and has not been approved by the author.

Canada’s journey to net zero emissions by 2050 requires not only rapid reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, but also the commensurate adaptation to worsening climate impacts caused by our prior emissions. The rapid rate of change of the climate poses serious challenges to our climate vulnerable infrastructure. In this manner, buildings play a pivotal role in this transition, both as significant direct and indirect contributors to emissions as well as critical elements of our defense against extreme weather. To support this dual objective, Engineers and Geoscientists BC, in partnership with the Climate Risk Institute (CRI), is developing a comprehensive Climate Resilience Training Program for building sector professionals. This initiative aims to consolidate existing knowledge and equip professionals with the skills needed to design and construct climate-resilient buildings, thereby supporting Canada’s net zero targets.

The Need for Climate Resilience in Buildings

The imperative to integrate climate adaptation into the built environment has become increasingly clear with the rise of extreme weather events, such as the 2021 BC heat dome and atmospheric river events. These events have highlighted the vulnerability of buildings and their occupants, emphasizing the need for structures that can withstand and recover from climate impacts. However, failure to concurrently mitigate carbon emissions leads to ever worsening climate hazards. In light of resource constraints, the dual need to mitigate and adapt, recognized as low-carbon resilience, is paramount towards achieving our net zero emissions targets while also protecting the health, safety, and property of the public.

Despite significant efforts by governments, academia, and technical societies to promote low-carbon and resilient buildings, adoption within the building sector has been slow due to a lack of awareness, market demand, and codified requirements. Engineers and Geoscientists BC, a regulatory body dedicated to protecting public interest, recognizes these challenges 

To advance integration of climate adaptation and resilience into professional practice, Engineers and Geoscientists BC, in collaboration with the CRI, are developing a training program to consolidate knowledge and provide practical approaches for integrating climate risk reduction into building design and construction.

Understanding Climate Resilience

A climate-resilient building minimizes carbon emissions and is capable of withstanding and recovering from climate impacts. Achieving this requires an iterative process of planning, risk assessment, and adaptation, along with a people-centered approach that includes diverse perspectives and co-designed solutions to benefit all, especially vulnerable groups.

Current climate adaptation measures vary widely across jurisdictions. For instance, the BC Building Code has introduced a new provision requiring cooling facilities in all dwelling units to maintain indoor temperatures below 26°C, effective March 2024. Similarly, the City of Vancouver’s Energy Modelling Guidelines mandate overheating analysis to support active and passive cooling strategies in buildings. Despite these advancements, building vulnerabilities are unique and context-dependent, necessitating holistic problem solving.

The partnership between Engineers and Geoscientists BC and the CRI focuses on developing a training program that will be the first consolidated Canadian body of training on climate resilience for building sector professionals. The program will be part of the Infrastructure Resilience Professional (IRP) credential offered by CRI in collaboration with Royal Roads University.

The training program aims to provide foundational knowledge on climate resilience and practical tools for implementation. It will target engineers, architects, planners, and procurement professionals involved in the design, construction, and retrofitting of buildings. Key components of the program include:

Climate Risk Assessment: Deploying methodologies such as the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) protocol to evaluate climate-related hazards and identify building-specific vulnerabilities.

Design and Construction Strategies: Developing operational plans and identifying opportunities for future modifications to enhance resilience.

Inclusive and People-Centered Approaches: Ensuring that adaptation measures benefit all groups, including vulnerable populations, while respecting Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion principles.

Curriculum development will be overseen by a technical review committee with representatives from government, academia and industry. This collaborative approach ensures that the training program is comprehensive, relevant, and aligned with current professional practices.

Supporting Canada’s Path to Net Zero

The primary outcome of this project is the creation of a Climate Resilience Training Program that will enhance the knowledge and skills of building sector professionals in Canada. By consolidating and disseminating existing knowledge, the program aims to empower professionals to contribute to climate-resilient building practices, ultimately enhancing public safety and reducing climate-related risks. This initiative directly supports Canada’s net zero goals by promoting buildings that are both low in carbon emissions and resilient to climate impacts.

In addition to the training program, the project will produce a guidance document for governments and regulators. This document will provide valuable insights and recommendations for procuring climate-resilient building services and implementing relevant policies.

This work underscores the importance of building climate resilience and the commitment of various stakeholders to advancing this critical agenda.

Parting Remarks

The development of a Climate Resilience Training Program for building sector professionals represents a significant step towards addressing the urgent need for climate adaptation in the built environment. By equipping professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills, this initiative will contribute to the creation of buildings that are not only low in carbon emissions but also resilient to the impacts of climate change. Through collaborative efforts and comprehensive training, the building sector can play a pivotal role in enhancing climate resilience and supporting Canada’s path to net zero.


Engineers and Geoscientists BC. “Professional Practice Guidelines”. EGBC Guidelines

ICLR, CRI, GIZ. “PIEVC Protocol Assessments”. PIEVC Assessments

City of Vancouver. “Primer: Resilient Buildings Planning Worksheet.” Vancouver Primer

Canadian Climate Institute. “Heat Pumps in Canada”. Climate Institute