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 emergency management. Its focus is the networked relationships among politicians, 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 to strengthen local policy analytical capacity.


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

Refereed journal articles

2018. “Evaluating the Quality of Municipal Climate Change Plans in Canada,” Climatic Change, online ahead of print, November. [w/ Dave Guyadeen and Jason Thistlethwaite]

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, 6(3): 147-158. [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]

2016. “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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