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

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

Refereed journal articles

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

“How Flood Experience and Risk Perception Influences Protective Actions and Behaviours Among Canadian Homeowners,” Environmental Management, 61, no. 2 (2018): 197-208. [w/ Jason Thistlethwaite, Craig Brown and Daniel Scott]

“Federal Policy Ideas and Involvement in Canadian Urban Transit, 2002-2017,” Canadian Public Administration 61, no. 1 (2018): 65-90. [w/ William  Towns]

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

“Climate Adaptation in Canada: Governing a Complex Policy Regime,” Review of Policy Research, 34, no. 3 (2017): 378-399.

"Millennials And Public Service: An Exploratory Analysis Of Graduate Student Career Motivations And Expectations" Public Administration Quarterly, 40, 3 (2016): 78-104. [with Rosemary McGowan]

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

"Studying Local Climate Adaptation: A Heuristic Research Framework for Comparative Policy Analysis," Global Environmental Change, 31 (2015): 110-120. [with Brennan Vogel]

Toward the Climate-Resilient City: Extreme Weather and Urban Climate Adaptation Policies in Two Canadian Provinces,” Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis 14, no. 2 (2012): 175-194.

“The Dynamics of Policy Change: A Longitudinal Analysis of Emergency Management in Ontario, 1950-2010,” Journal of Policy History 23, no. 3 (2011): 399-428.

“Explaining Local Policy Choices: A Multiple Streams Analysis of Municipal Emergency Management," Canadian Public Administration 53, no. 2 (2010): 241-258.

“Evaluating Local Government Emergency Management Programs: What Framework Should Public Managers Adopt?,” Public Administration Review 70, no. 2 (2010): 236-246.

“Canadian Disaster Management Policy: Moving Toward a Paradigm Shift?,” Canadian Public Policy 31, no. 3 (2005): 303-318. [with Gordon McBean]

“Federal Emergency Management in Canada and the United States after September 11, 2001,” Canadian Public Administration 46, no. 1 (2003): 103-116.

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

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


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Phone: ext 36829

University of Waterloo

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