The second event of our New Perspectives series, held on 23 January 2023, explored the dilemmas Canada faces when trying to prepare for climate migration.

Watch the full discussion on our YouTube channel:

Watch the event

We’ve all seen and may have even experienced, the growing devastation extreme climate events have caused around the world in recent years. From historic floods in Pakistan, unprecedented droughts in the US, China, and Europe, and intense forest fires in Canada, Australia and even the Amazon, climate-related disasters are becoming more intense and more frequent. As climate change worsens in the coming years, it is likely larges areas of the planet will become unsustainable for human settlement and force many people to move, both nationally and internationally.

This new era of climate migration will create new practical and policy challenges for local and national governments, including Canada’s.

But what can Canada do to ensure it is prepared for new climate migration in the future?

Our latest New Perspectives event included an in-depth discussion with a panel of speakers that identified what these challenges will be and what role Canada could play in addressing climate migration in the future.

Tha panel included Warda Shazadi Meighen, one of Canada’s leading immigration lawyers; Dr Alison Shaw Executive Director for SFU’s Action on Climate Team (ACT) and Patrick Michell, former chief of the Kanaka Bar Band in Lytton, BC who felt the direct effects of climate displacement when Lytton was destroyed by historic forest fires in 2021.

Laura Lynch, host of CBC’s ‘What on Earth‘ and an award-winning journalist moderated the discussion, highlighting how these challenges present real risks to the future of Canada and of ordinary Canadians.

This event is in partnership with the Ismaili Centre of Vancouver and CBC.

Speaker Biographies:

Warda Shazadi Meighen has over a decade of experience and is recognized as a leading immigration lawyer in Canada. Throughout her career, Warda has represented clients on a wide range of refugee and immigration matters and serves as the Co-Chair of the International Justice Circle in the executive committee of Human Rights Watch Canada. She is also the Co-Vice President of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers.

She holds a graduate degree from the University of Oxford where she focused on refugee, migration, and international refugee law. She has appeared as an expert before Parliamentary and Senate committees on issues relating to refugee and immigration law and previously worked on prosecutions in relation to the Rwandan genocide at the United Nations Tribunal for Rwanda.

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Patrick Michell is a member of the Nlaka’pamux Nation and has lived in British Columbia’s Fraser Canyon all his life. Patrick has an Administrative Management diploma from Douglas College 1989 and a Bachelor of Law (UBC 1992). Patrick worked for the federal and provincial governments before practicing law in the Fraser Canyon from 1997 to 2005. Patrick then joined the Kwoiek Hydro Project Team as a Community Liaison until its completion in 2014.

Patrick then transitioned into the Kanaka Bar Indian Band’s Community Economic Development and Lands Officer and with the retirement of Kanaka’s Chief James Frank in the Spring of 2015, Patrick became the Chief of Kanaka until he retired in July 2022 to focus on his families health and the design and rebuild of his families intergenerational home lost in the Lytton fire in June 2021.

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Dr. Alison Shaw is a scientist and practitioner with over 20 years of experience in pioneering climate change and sustainability research-to-practice approaches. As Executive Director of ACT – the Action on Climate Team at Simon Fraser University, Alison aims to advance pioneering research to practice approaches and partnerships. Climate change is not an environmental problem but is instead a governance and design challenge.

At ACT, Alison and her team work to co-create, test, and evaluate practical and effective approaches that enhance resilience, promote rapid decarbonization, and advance multi-solving across equity, biodiversity, future-proofing communities, businesses, and governments, and accelerate the sustainability transition.