Intact Financial Corporation

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In 2010 Canada’s largest property and casualty insurer became one of the University of Waterloo and Faculty of Environment’s strongest and most impactful partners, helping to address one of the world’s most urgent challenges, de-risking the negative impacts of a changing climate.

Through a generous gift, Intact Financial Corporation helped establish the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, a nationally renowned applied research centre that helps homeowners, communities and businesses reduce risks associated with climate change and extreme weather events while working with government to advise on policy and action.

The partnership is a testament to Intact’s commitment to build resilient communities. The company has been focused on building society’s capacity for resilience since it was established. For more than a decade, they have made significant progress in helping customers and society anticipate the consequences of climate change. To back their research with concrete actions, they have supported more than 100 adaptation projects across Canada and invested millions in support of projects that protect people and our communities. These projects and investments have resulted in avoiding flood impacts, preventing wildfires, and developing practical tools and guidelines for homeowners and municipalities to protect themselves. 

In April 2022, Intact launched a five-part climate transition plan, which includes doubling down on climate adaptation to help the most vulnerable communities build resiliency and invest in natural infrastructure to address the increasing impacts of severe weather. This includes expanding their climate resiliency mandate to the US and UK, finding new pathways to protect customers, investing more resources into world-class research and accelerating local solutions for the communities most vulnerable to climate impacts in Canada.

From an initial focus on flood resilience, the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation has evolved to become a robust hub of expertise, focused on solutions, relevant reports and resources on extreme weather including flooding, heat extremes, and wildfires. Leveraging its unique ability to address adaptation from all perspectives – physical, financial, economic, and social, and by engaging stakeholders across multiple disciplines and sectors – the Centre has created influence and impact at scale.

With a diverse network that includes government Ministers and Deputy Ministers; provincial, territorial and municipal government leads; heads of corporations and NGOs, and industry association leadership, the Intact Centre has become a nationally-recognized hub of research translation and knowledge mobilization, developing numerous guidelines and standards on protection from extreme weather risks including, the use of natural infrastructure for risk mitigation, home flood protection training in partnership with the Canadian Real Estate Association, and providing means to factor physical climate risk into financial valuation by institutional investors.

The Intact Centre, led by Dr. Blair Feltmate, has become the ‘go-to’ source for media with more than 400 interviews per year. Through interviews with CTV, CBC, Global News, the Globe and Mail, Business News Network, the Canadian Press, and others, the Centre brings quality and reliable information to the Canadian public, raising awareness on issues of climate change adaptation, related risks and a wide range of solutions.

These and other achievements, enabled by Intact’s partnership and support, have expanded the Centre’s research capacity and productivity in climate change resilience, establishing the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo as Canada’s leading voice on climate change adaptation.

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