Disclosing climate risk of municipalities is important as cities are on the frontlines of climate change infrastructure and investments. Learn how Canadian cities in CUSP’s membership are showing leadership through collaborating on a multiyear phased initiative to begin disclosing and ultimately quantifying climate-related financial risk and opportunity.
Increasing transparency makes markets more efficient, and economies more stable and resilient.
With an estimated $90T of infrastructure spending expected between 2015 and 2030, the right decisions now can make sure those investments are both financially rewarding and environmentally sustainable.
The Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) was co-founded by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England and Michael Bloomberg in order to:
- Develop voluntary, consistent climate-related financial risk disclosures for use by companies in providing information to investors, lenders, insurers, and other stakeholders.
- Consider the physical, liability and transition risks associated with climate change and what constitutes effective financial disclosures across industries
- Help companies understand what financial markets want from disclosure in order to measure and respond to climate change risks, and encourage firms to align their disclosures with investors’ needs.
The Recommendations from the TCFD were issued in June 2017
TCFD for Canadian Municipalities
Promptly following publication of the TCFD’s recommendations, CPA Canada, with funding from Natural Resources Canada, took the initiative to gather a working group and produce a guide for municipalities that contextualizes the TCFD’s recommendations for voluntary disclosure
Disclosing climate risk of municipalities is important as cities are:
- On the frontline of climate change. Resilience must be built in cities to avoid, manage and recover from increased severity and frequency of flooding, wildfires, wind storms, and heatwaves. 60% of all public infrastructure in Canada is municipally owned and operated. Infrastructure in cities across Canada is in need of renewal and expansion to address its age and condition, population growth in urban centres, and a changing climate that is testing the engineered design limits of these critical assets.
- Critical to meeting Canada’s Paris climate agreement targets. With 80% of Canadians living and working in cities, they are the economic engines of Canada. Municipalities are the leading actors on climate change, but their powers and their revenue sources are limited.
- Finance capital and invest funds in the market. Cities, like other companies, may have climate risk exposure in their investment portfolio and in the bonds they issue.
Over the course of 2019, CPA Canada worked with staff from CUSP and its member cities of Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver along with other partners such as the Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB), C40 cities, ICLEI, FCM, and others to develop the following guide. The Public Sector Accounting Board, issued additional technical guidance for finance professionals to complement the CPA Canada guidebook. Both resources are available in either of Canada’s official languages.
Implementation of the voluntary recommendations of TCFD represents a multiyear phased initiative for companies (and municipalities) to begin disclosing and ultimately quantifying climate-related financial risk and opportunity. CPA Canada and Canadian cities in CUSP’s membership are showing leadership through collaboration on these resources and throughout the early, and beginning stage, adoption of the TCFD’s recommendations.
Examples of municipal TCFD disclosures:
The 2018 annual reports of the Cities of Vancouver and Toronto included a special unaudited section on climate-risk and TCFD.
In early 2020, sustainability and finance staff from the Cities of Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal and CUSP also came together to collaborate on their approach to phasing in and stepping up TCFD disclosures in their 2019 annual reports and beyond. These cities are leading the way globally on TCFD for municipalities.
Included below with the resource guides produced by CPA Canada and PSAB are the current year’s TCFD disclosures by CUSP member cities.
Cities are on the front line of climate change impacts. Learn how climate-related information can support municipal stakeholders with short-term budgeting, long-term capital planning and enhance the usefulness of a city’s public financial reports.
This tool serves to help financial statement preparers and auditors better understand how climate-related issues might affect the application of Canadian public sector generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and additional questions to ask under the Public Sector Accounting Board’s Statements of Recommended Practice (SORPs).
City of Montreal Annual Financial Report 2019
This report, available in french and english, includes TCFD climate risk disclosure on pages 79-94.
The mayor’s letter, included at the front of this report also includes the following:
“in spite of the health crisis, the climate emergency continues unabated. We have thus set ambitious objectives for all the city’s departments with the intention of speeding up the ecological transition.
This report therefore features a section dedicated solely to financial information on climate change, which marks a first for a Québec-based city!”
This annual financial report from the City of Vancouver includes a TCFD section (see pages 40-50).
“The City is continuing its commitment to support the voluntary recommendations of the Task Force for Climate- Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) by including climate-related financial disclosures in its annual financial report.
This disclosure describes the City’s governance, strategy, risk, management and metrics and targets related to climate adaptation and will evolve as both the field of climate-risk disclosure and the City’s climate change planning and response matures. The disclosure can be found immediately following the audited financial statements. “
Patrice Impey, Director of Finance and CFO, City of Vancouver
Source: City of Vancouver (BC)
This annual financial report from the City of Vancouver makes a reference to TCFD in CFO letter on page 7 and the TCFD disclosure on pages 29-39.
Source: City of Vancouver (BC)
This annual financial report from the City of Toronto makes reference to TCFD disclosure on pages 126-135.
Source: City of Toronto,
Corporate Finance, and
Environment and Energy divisions