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The Toronto 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games Experience

Message from the Assistant Deputy Ministers of Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Meteorological Service of Canada and Science and Technology Branches

In July and August 2015, Canada hosted the Pan American and Parapan American Games in Toronto, Ontario. The Government of Canada played a critical role during these Games, which included Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) doing its part to make the Games safe and an overall success. It provided our department an opportunity to integrate, test and showcase to the world our innovations, technological capabilities, ability to deliver, flexibility in working together with partners to better integrate decision making, and our concern for public safety and the environment. Through this project report, we are pleased to present ECCC’s achievements and lessons learned stemming from our engagement in the Games. They have resulted in significant insight in improving weather and environmental forecasting to protect the health of Canadians, improve their safety and enhance their economic competitiveness.

ECCC’s Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) is one of Canada’s oldest federal institutions. It has been delivering weather information to Canadians since 1871 and is responsible for activities related to weather forecasts and warnings, the ice service, climate and air quality. Throughout its history, the organization has been a leader in scientific and technological innovation, and strives to continuously improve its operational systems in the area of weather monitoring and forecasting. The 2015 Games Project highlighted a number of key initiatives that will significantly improve our understanding of important meteorological phenomena in urban areas. It also highlighted our staff’s ability to maintain the high quality of services that Canadians expect and were clearly provided leading up to and during the Games.

The core public service of the MSC remains our weather forecasting. During any given year, the MSC produces thousands of public weather forecasts and alerts as well as providing ice, climate and water information to our stakeholders. During the Games alone, we issued 463 venue-specific public and marine forecasts, 37 venue-specific weather warnings, watches and advisories, and 69 Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) forecasts.

The Science and Technology Branch (S&T) of ECCC is mandated to perform research and development activities, and along with the Department as a whole is recognized as a leader in the production of environmental scientific knowledge both in Canada and internationally. Working with our partners, we undertake science that is timely and relevant to Canadians. S&T is a key Canadian focal point for the advancement of atmospheric science, research that contributes to improve Canada's air quality, respond to climate change and increase the accuracy of weather forecasts. Atmospheric research also provides the scientific basis for many services to Canadians, including the AQHI, the UV Index, and increasingly accurate forecasts of severe weather. For the 2015 Toronto Games, we are very proud of the accomplishments of staff, whose exemplary efforts have resulted in improved measurement techniques and high-resolution numerical weather prediction systems, enhanced AQHI forecasts, legacy datasets that will help inform policy strategies related to ambient air quality standards in urban environments, and scientific innovations that will likely be integrated in the next generation of operational forecasting systems currently under development.

The success we have enjoyed during the Games is the direct result of the dedication of thousands of employees in ECCC and other federal partner organizations, and colleagues from provincial, regional and municipal governments. Without their hard work and enthusiasm, the significant accomplishments that were achieved would not have been possible. We salute them for their devotion and our successes, and thank them for their continued professionalism and commitment to uphold the values of a strong federal public service.

We are pleased about the outlook of ECCC’s future because we know that the people we have, the research we do and the services we provide make us an example of excellence in government. 2016 marks the 145th anniversary of our meteorological services. We believe that we can set the course for another 145 years and beyond of providing core, leading-edge government service to Canadians and helping Canada remain one of the best countries in the world in which to live.

We invite you to review our many accomplishments over the last five years by reading through the Pan and Parapan American Games project report.

David Grimes
Assistant Deputy Minister 
Meteorological Service of Canada

Karen Dodds
Assistant Deputy Minister
Science and Technology Branch

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