Associate Professor

Daniel Henstra photo

Areas of specialization: public administration; public policy; local government; federalism and multilevel governance


Professor Henstra is co-lead of the Climate Risk Research Group. His research focuses on the governance of complex policy areas such as climate change adaptation, emergency management and flood risk management. He has more than 20 years of experience in applied policy analysis, including contract research for Global Affairs Canada, Health Canada, Infrastructure Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Public Safety Canada, and others.

Current projects

1. Flood Risk Governance in a Changing Climate [FLOODGOV]

Funded through a Network Investigator Grant from the MEOPAR Network (2018-2021) and a SSHRC Insight Grant (2018-2023), this project analyzes the effectiveness of Canada’s flood risk governance arrangements in Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Using climate change-adjusted flood maps produced by the expert hazard modelling firm JBA Risk Management, the team is creating state-of-the-art 3-D visualizations of future flood risk. These are the foundation for Risk Dialogues with stakeholders to identify flood resilience strategies.

2. Multilevel Governance and Climate Change Adaptation Policy in Canada

Funded through a SSHRC Insight Grant (2016-2021), this project analyzes how 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 analysis capacity.


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

Book chapters and journal articles

2021. “Governance of Flood Risk Data: A Comparative Analysis of Government and Insurance Geospatial Data for Identifying Properties at Risk of Flood,” Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 88(1): 1-14. [w/ Andrea Minano, Jason Thistlethwaite and Daniel Scott]

2021. “Linking Disaster Risk Reduction and Human Development,” Climate Risk Management, 32(1): 1-16. [w/ Jonathan Raikes, Timothy F. Smith and Claudia Baldwin]

2020. “Managing Urban Flood Risk: An Expert Assessment of Economic Policy Instruments,” Journal of Urban Affairs, OnlineFirst, August 2020. [w/ Tia Driver and Jason Thistlethwaite]

2020. “Barriers to Insurance as a Flood Risk Management Tool: Evidence from a Survey of Canadian Property Owners,” International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, 11(3): 263-273. [w/ Jason Thistlethwaite, Craig Brown and Daniel Scott]

2020. “Evaluating the Suitability of Policy Instruments for Urban Flood Risk Reduction,” Local Environment, 25(2): 101-113. [w/ Jason Thistlethwaite and Truzaar Dordi]

2020. “The Governance of Climate Change Adaptation: Stormwater Management Policy and Practice,” Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 63(6): 1077-1096. [w/ Jason Thistlethwaite and Shanaya Vanhooren]

2020. “A Place-Based Socioeconomic Status Index: Measuring Social Vulnerability to Flood Hazards in the Context of Environmental Justice.” International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 43: 1-12. [w/ Liton Chakraborty, Horatiu Rus, Jason Thistlethwaite and Daniel Scott]

2020. “Sub-National Government Efforts to Activate and Motivate Local Climate Change Adaptation: Nova Scotia, Canada,” Environment, Development and Sustainability, 22(2): 1633-1653. [w/ Brennan Vogel and Gordon McBean].

2019. “Policy Framing in the Press: Analyzing Media Coverage of Two Flood Disasters.” Regional Environmental Change, 19(8): 2597–2607. [w/ Jason Thistlethwaite, Andrea Minano and Truzaar Dordi]

2019. The Governance of Flood Risk Management. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Natural Hazard Science, edited by Djillali Benouar, Oxford University Press. [w/ Jason Thistlethwaite]

2019. “The Governance of Climate Change Adaptation: Are Networks to Blame for the Implementation Deficit?,” Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 21(6): 702-717. [w/ Danny Bednar and Gordon McBean]

2019. “Communicating Disaster Risk? An Evaluation of the Availability and Quality of Flood Maps,” Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences 19(1): 313-323. [w/ Andrea Minano and Jason Thistlethwaite]

2019. “Evaluating the Quality of Municipal Climate Change Plans in Canada,” Climatic Change, 152(1): 121-143. [w/ Dave Guyadeen and Jason Thistlethwaite]

2019. “Flood Risk Management and Shared Responsibility: Exploring Canadian Public Attitudes and Expectations,” Journal of Flood Risk Management, 12(1): 1-10. [w/ Jason Thistlethwaite, Craig Brown and Daniel Scott]

2018. “Policy Analysis in Local Government.” In Policy Analysis in Canada, edited by Laurent Dobuzinskis and Michael Howlett, 121-144. Bristol, UK: Policy Press UK.

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. “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.

2016. “Local Government and Politics in Ontario”. In The Politics of Ontario, edited by Cheryl N. Collier and Jonathan Malloy, 118-134. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

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

2021. Flood Insurance in Canada: Policy Context and Lessons from the International Community. Ottawa: Public Safety Canada, 67 pp.

2021. Communicating Flood Risk: Best Practices and Recommendations for the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Basin. Ottawa: International Joint Commission, 31 pp. [w/ Bronwyn McIlroy-Young]

2020. Canadian Voices on Flood Risk 2020: Findings from a National Survey. Waterloo, ON: Partners for Action, 17 pp. [w/ Anna Ziolecki, Jason Thistlethwaite and Daniel Scott]

2020. Flood Risk Management in Canada. Zurich: The Geneva Association, 66 pp. [w/ Maryam Golnaraghi, Jason Thistlethwaite and Craig Stewart]

2020. Non-Structural Flood Mitigation Options for the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Basin. Ottawa: International Joint Commission, 33 pp. [w/ Leonard Shabman]

2020. Flood Risk Analysis of Canadian Health and Emergency Infrastructure. Ottawa: Health Canada, 28 pp. [w/ Daniel Scott, Andrea Minano, Liton Chakraborty, Jason Thistlethwaite and Yuvna Apajee]

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]


Office: Hagey Hall 303
Phone: x46829

Twitter: @DanielHenstra

University of Waterloo

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