Region of Peel “Participatory Justice for Heat Resiliency”


The Region of Peel Is an upper tier municipality encompassing the Cities of Brampton and Mississauga and Town of Caledon, offering a range of services including Public Health, Police, Drinking Water, Waste and Affordable Housing to 1.5 million residents. The Region of Peel has made climate change a priority and invested in climate action since the mid-2000s, including provision of annual climate change funds to local Conservation Authorities, forming an Office of Climate Change and Energy Management, and launching a ten-year Climate Change Master Plan in 2019. The current 2018–2022 Regional Term of Council Priority has substantiated these efforts by Build(ing) Environmental Resilience to ensure “Peel is a community that is resource efficient, emits less greenhouse gases, is healthier and better prepared for the impacts of climate change.” While corporate capacity to address climate change is now stronger than ever, the ability of the Region of Peel to understand and meet the diverse needs of residents, including those most vulnerable to impacts, remains an important opportunity. While there is evidence that those with the least ability to adapt are bearing the biggest burden from impacts, such as, flooding or extreme heat (Blake et al., 2018) it is not known to what extent specific populations (e.g. low income, disabled, seniors) in the Region of Peel are being disproportionally affected or have equitable access to support, resources and planning processes to minimize risks. 

A kid in a swimming pool with a inflated tire and a cap, with their back to the camera
Image credits: Alexandr Podvalny


Project Description

Proposed Title: Accelerating Participatory Justice to Enhance Heat Resiliency Planning in Peel Region. In 2017, the Region of Peel, together with its lower-tier municipalities and partner Conservation Authorities (CAs), renewed the Peel Climate Change Partnership (PCCP) to collaboratively reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. One of several priorities established by the PCCP was to identify and prioritize tree planting and green infrastructure solutions in neighbourhoods vulnerable to extreme heat. To guide this effort, the PCCP developed a GIS-based extreme heat vulnerability index that incorporated multiple indicators of exposure to extreme heat (e.g. surface temperature), sensitivity to extreme heat (e.g. socioeconomic factors such as income and education), and adaptive capacity (e.g. proximity to cooling centers). This index directly informed the selection of three high-priority neighbourhoods at which partnership members deliver adaptation programs, with an emphasis on green infrastructure enhancements that provide critical cooling effects. Through the development and application of the index, the PCCP directly considered the spatial distribution of social vulnerabilities and harms associated with climate change, commonly referred to as distributive justice. However, the partnership recognizes that to fully address equity concerns, it must also carefully consider both the procedural (e.g. equitable decision making and governance) and recognitional (e.g. equal acknowledgement and respect of different identities) dimensions of local climate justice (c.f. Meerow et. al., 2019). Thus, the PCCP members will benefit from guidance in the development of suitable interventions for heat vulnerable neighbourhoods that can help facilitate participatory planning processes that respects the lived experiences of residents. Specifically, the Region of Peel is looking for actionable project descriptions that incorporate multidisciplinary methodologies (e.g., participatory action research) that will support a deeper understanding of the needs and wishes of the communities it serves. 

In this project, the Client expects the team to design the following: 

The Region of Peel requests the development of three (3) participatory justice related project designs that can catalyze and facilitate actions that support the procedural and recognitional dimensions of climate justice in the context of extreme heat. This may include peer-reviewed approaches for storytelling and narrative building, participatory mapping, deliberative planning, etc. Project designs should include multiple peer-reviewed references that anchor the proposed methods, clear and measurable objectives and targets that consider the demographic profile of heat vulnerable communities, a stepwise process for delivering the project in the target community, anticipated timelines and resources, and additional considerations or areas of further research that should be addressed by staff. Where possible, project designs should include documented case studies and relevant experts that the Region of Peel and other PCCP members could engage to support project delivery.