Daniel Henstra

Associate Professor | Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation

Daniel Henstra photoAreas of specialization

  • Public administration,
  • Public policy,
  • Local government,
  • Federalism and multilevel governance,
  • Emergency management,
  • Climate change adaptation


Professor Henstra’s research centres on the multilevel governance of complex policy areas such as climate change adaptation and flood risk management, with a focus on the networked relationships among elected officials, public servants, stakeholders and the public.

Current research projects

1. Coastal Flood Risk Governance in a Changing Climate

Funded through the MEOPAR Network (2018-2021), this project analyzes the effectiveness of Canada’s flood risk governance arrangements as they play out in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Vancouver, British Columbia. Using climate change-adjusted flood hazard maps and annual loss estimates produced by the expert hazard modelling firm JBA Risk Management, we will create state-of-the-art 3-D visualizations of future coastal flood risk. These will be the basis for Risk Dialogues with stakeholders, in which we will identify strategies to achieve coastal flood resilience in a changing climate.

2. Multilevel Governance and Climate Change Adaptation Policy in Canada

Funded through a SSHRC Insight Grant (2016-2021), this project analyzes the ways in which adaptation policies and policy-making are affected by the relationships between officials at different levels of government and by the patterns of interaction between state and societal actors.

3. Municipalities and Universities: Developing Infrastructure for Collaborative Research with Administrative Data

Funded through a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (2017-2020), this project analyzes the enabling conditions for, and potential barriers to, municipal-university partnerships involving quantitative data analysis as a means to strengthen local policy analytical capacity.

Selected publications

2013. (Ed). Multilevel Governance and Emergency Management in Canadian Municipalities, McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Refereed journal articles

2018. “Sub-National Government Efforts to Activate and Motivate Local Climate Change Adaptation: Nova Scotia, Canada,” Environment, Development and Sustainability, online ahead of print, August. [w/ Brennan Vogel and Gordon McBean].

2018. “Urban Resilience Implementation: A Policy Challenge and Research Agenda for the 21st Century,” Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management 26(3): 403-410. [w/ Jon Coaffee, Marie-Christine Therrien, Lorenzo Chelleri, Daniel P. Aldrich, Carrie L. Mitchell, Sasha Tsenkova and Éric Rigaud]

2018. “Applying a Typology of Governance Modes to Climate Change Adaptation,” Politics and Governance, accepted, June. [w/ Danny Bednar]

2018. “Application of Re/Insurance Models to Estimate Increases in Flood Risk Due to Climate Change,” Geoenvironmental Disasters, 5(8): 1-13. [w/ Jason Thistlethwaite, Andrea Minano, Jordan Blake and Daniel Scott]

2018. “Flood Risk Management and Shared Responsibility: Exploring Canadian Public Attitudes and Expectations,” Journal of Flood Risk Management, online ahead of print, March. [w/ Jason Thistlethwaite, Craig Brown and Daniel Scott]

2018. “Federal Policy Ideas and Involvement in Canadian Urban Transit, 2002-2017,” Canadian Public Administration 61(1): 65-90. [w/ William Towns]

2018. “How Flood Experience and Risk Perception Influences Protective Actions and Behaviours Among Canadian Homeowners,” Environmental Management, 61(2): 197-208. [w/ Jason Thistlethwaite, Craig Brown and Daniel Scott]

2017. “Municipal Flood Risk Sharing in Canada: A Policy Instrument Analysis,” Canadian Water Resources Journal 42(4): 349-363. [w/ Jason Thistlethwaite]

2017. “Climate Adaptation in Canada: Governing a Complex Policy Regime,” Review of Policy Research 34(3): 378-399.

2016. “Millennials and Public Service: An Exploratory Analysis of Graduate Student Career Motivations and Expectations,” Public Administration Quarterly 40(3): 78-104. [w/ Rosemary McGowan]

2015. “The Tools of Climate Adaptation Policy: Analysing Instruments and Instrument Selection,” Climate Policy 16(4): 496-521.

2015. “Studying Local Climate Adaptation: A Heuristic Research Framework for Comparative Policy Analysis,” Global Environmental Change 31: 110-120. [w/ Brennan Vogel]

2012. “Toward the Climate-Resilient City: Extreme Weather and Urban Climate Adaptation Policies in Two Canadian Provinces,” Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis 14(2): 175-194.

2011. “The Dynamics of Policy Change: A Longitudinal Analysis of Emergency Management in Ontario, Canada, 1950-2010,” Journal of Policy History 23(3): 399-428.

2010. “Explaining Local Policy Choices: A Multiple Streams Analysis of Municipal Emergency Management,” Canadian Public Administration 53(2): 241-258.

2010. “Evaluating Local Government Emergency Management Programs: What Framework Should Public Managers Adopt?,” Public Administration Review 70(2): 236-246.

2005. “Canadian Disaster Management Policy: Moving Toward a Paradigm Shift?,” Canadian Public Policy 31(3): 303-318. [w/ Gordon McBean]

2003. “Federal Emergency Management in Canada and the United States After September 11,” Canadian Public Administration 46(1): 103-116.

Policy Research reports

2017. Canadian Voices on Changing Flood Risk: Findings From a National Survey. Waterloo, ON: Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change and Partners for Action (P4A). [w/ Jason Thistlethwaite, Shawna Peddle and Daniel Scott]

2017. Climate Change, Floods, and Municipal Risk Sharing in Canada. IMFG Papers on Municipal Finance and Governance. Toronto: Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance. [with Jason Thistlethwaite]

2009. Climate Change and Extreme Weather: Designing Adaptation Policy. Vancouver: Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT), Simon Fraser University. [with Gordon McBean]


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Phone: ext 36829

University of Waterloo

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