Climate Resiliency


Natural, physical hazards are an inherent risk to real assets, with the potential to affect any building. The size and recurrence of these events vary across Canada, so that assets have different risk profiles, or exposures, to different hazards. Further, the relative frequency and magnitude of these events are expected to increase with climate change, altering the risk profile over time. This was particularly evident in 2023, as the planet witnessed its hottest year on record.

Understanding that natural hazards can pose a risk to buildings, GWLRA launched the first phase of its resiliency project in 2020 to understand its managed assets’ exposure to natural and climate-related hazards.

Working with a third-party risk analytics firm, GWLRA examined 20 common natural and climate-related hazards, and received a risk ‘score’ for each of its assets. The assessment also included climate change projections for the years 2045 and 2070, under three warming scenarios, to better understand the longer-term risks. Results showed the overall average risk score for the portfolio, across all hazards, is classified as ‘low risk.’ This process was also embedded within GWLRA’s acquisition due-diligence process for all potential new investments.

Understanding from this study that flood and extreme heat are the most common hazards in Canada, GWLRA launched the second phase of its project to understand the resilience of our sites. To do this, last year, our teams completed five site-level vulnerability assessments on assets in our portfolio with relatively higher risk exposures for office, residential and industrial asset types.

These assessments provided site-specific capital and operational measures for each site, aimed at improving the assets’ resilience to climate-related hazards. These measures were adopted immediately, where practicable, or budgeted in capital plans for future action. The outcomes of these assessments have been consolidated into transferable, best practice measures that all teams can implement at our sites to support more cost-effective reduction in climate-related risks.

Together, these actions help protect our tenants and residents, reduce disruptions from natural hazards, and manage the potential financial impacts posed to our assets by climate change.