Québec City’s Environmental Services Adaptation Plan

Kirsten Feifel
Posted on: 6/11/2013 - Updated on: 3/02/2020

Posted by

Rachel Gregg

Project Summary

To prepare for the impacts climate change may pose to Québec City, the Environmental Services Department developed a targeted climate change adaptation strategy. The adaptation plan was approved in 2009 and has 88 adaptation measures, the majority of which are focused on water quality and availability issues. Québec City plans to use the lessons learned and results from the Environmental Services Department climate change adaptation strategy to develop subsequent adaptation strategies for the entire city.


Climate change is projected to increase the frequency of extreme weather – snow storms, wind storms, heat waves, and torrential rain – in Québec City. Québec City is located in eastern Québec, adjacent to the St. Lawrence River. Ouranos, a regional climate change consortium, gave a presentation on the potential impacts of climate change to city leaders in 2006; in response, the city decided to develop a climate change adaptation plan.


The adaptation plan was initially developed for the city’s Environmental Services Department. The city targeted this department because it is tasked to manage the city’s natural resources, such as air, water, soil, wastewater, trees, horticulture, and water quality. 

The adaptation plan was developed by internal staff and had four main steps:

  1. Develop climate change projections for the city for the 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s;
  2. Conduct a literature review to ascertain the likely impacts climate change may present to the city’s infrastructure and environment;
  3. Conduct internal interviews to identify potential adaptation measures; and
  4. Prioritize adaptation strategies.

Outcomes and Conclusions

The final adaptation plan was approved in April 2009. In sum, 88 adaptation measures were developed, most of them targeting water quality and availability issues. Although the initial focus was on the Environmental Services Department, the city’s Executive Committee expanded the adaptation focus to all city operations.

This project was one of the examples provided in Natural Resources Canada’s 2010 report, Adapting to Climate Change: An Introduction for Canadian Municipalities.


Feifel, K. M. (2012). Québec City’s Environmental Services Adaptation Plan [Case study on a project of Québec City]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE: www.cakex.org/case-studies/quebec-citys-environmental-services-adaptati… (Last updated October 2012)

Affiliated Organizations

Ville de Québec or Québec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec. Québec City is made up of 6 distinct boroughs. Each is characterized by its environment and sociodemographic features, and each provides a wide range of services for the public. Québec City is 400 years old.