Climate Law for Infrastructure Practitioners

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An Infrastructure Resilience Professional (IRP) Online Course

This online course will provide an overview of evolving climate law, focusing on implications and obligations for professionals and practitioners working in infrastructure sectors. 

This five-week online course will provide an overview of legal frameworks aimed at mitigating and adapting to climate change and discuss existing and emerging legal obligations relevant to infrastructure professionals at the provincial, federal, and international levels. It will focus on the roles and responsibilities of infrastructure professionals and how they can adapt their practices to incorporate climate change and reduce exposure to potential negligence lawsuits, and explore corporate issues relating to climate change, including risk disclosure requirements, asset management and director and officer obligations, as infrastructure professionals have a role in managing these risks and assisting clients to improve climate risk disclosure. 

The Climate Risk Institute is excited to announce that our suite of courses that make up the Infrastructure Resilience Professional (IRP) Credential is moving to a new platform in collaboration with Royal Roads University. Our courses will now be hosted on the Moodle Platform where you can find all course material and engage in discussions and knowledge sharing with other participants and instructors. The courses are a blend of synchronous sessions (where you will join live Zoom meetings once per week) and asynchronous content where instructors have recorded lecture content and readings that you can complete on your own schedule. 

Upcoming Course Offerings

Visit Royal Roads University for upcoming start dates. Registration and payment are through our partner website at Royal Roads University. You’ll need to create a Royal Roads account if you don’t have one.  

Registration and upcoming dates!

Course Fee

$795 plus applicable taxes

Fees cover online course instruction and presentation materials in pdf format. Participants will be provided access to course materials one week prior to the beginning of the Course. This training is intended for individual instruction, not for groups under a single registration

The course is designed to fulfill one of the knowledge requirements of the Infrastructure Resilience Professional (IRP) Credentialing Program, but it can also be taken as a stand-alone course for professional development credits.

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Course Description

Infrastructure professionals are subject to legal responsibilities and standards of care. They must update their knowledge and practice to reflect evolving legislation, climate law, and professional practice obligations to prevent exposure to legal liability relating to climate impacts and associated damages. 

The primary objective of the course is to familiarize infrastructure professionals, including engineers, planners, and architects, with knowledge of the evolving legislative and legal framework related to climate change risk, adaptation, and resilience. While the course will primarily focus on issues related to climate risk, resilience and adaptation, climate change mitigation policies and issues are discussed. 

In taking this course, participants will develop:

  1. An increased understanding of the extent of climate policy and legislation, and the relationship between legal and regulatory frameworks and the practice of infrastructure professionals and practitioners; 
  2. An increased understanding of climate change mitigation and adaptation frameworks, and adaptation frameworks, and knowledge of critical international, federal, regional and provincial initiatives;
  3. An understanding of climate hazards and law as viewed through the legal system and courts, including aspects of common law such as negligence, tort, class actions and defenses;
  4. An increased understanding of professional responsibilities, including risk minimization, avoidance of negligence, standard of care, and professional responsibilities for infrastructure engineers and designers; 
  5. Increased knowledge of codes and standards, including corporate disclosure requirements; and
  6. Increased awareness of approaches to and benefits of interdisciplinary collaborations. 

This professional development course is virtual and aims to educate infrastructure professionals on climate law issues and the associated implications on their practice. The course is required as part of the Infrastructure Resilience Professional (IRP) Credentialling Program, but it can also be taken as a stand-alone course for professional development. The IRP certification recognizes an individual’s additional knowledge in planning, designing and managing resilient infrastructure and building assets and their components in the face of extreme weather and our changing climate. Click here for more information about the IRP Credentialling Program.  

The course is divided into five modules:

  • Module 1 will review key terms and definitions, outline the extent of climate law and legislation, and clearly outline the relationship between climate law and the work of infrastruture professionals.  
  • Module 2 will explore the legal and legislative frameworks relevant to climate change mitigation and adaptation, discuss drivers of change in these domains, and review key provincial, territorial and federal initiatives.  
  • Module 3 focuses on professional responsibility, ensuring participants are aware of legislation and how climate law is interpreted in courts. An exploration of the implications of code of conduct will help professional and practitioners understand their obligations and responsibilities.  
  • Module 4 review special issues in climate law, including codes and standards, conflict of interest, risk minimization and corporate disclosure. These issues will be discussed through scenario exploration.
  • Module 5 focuses on planning for the future by providing professionals and practitioners with tools to deal with uncertainty, establish interdisciplinary collaborative practices, and to continue their professional and knowledge development in areas of climate law. 

Module 0 

Module 0 – Climate Change 101 is intended to provide a foundation on the fundamentals of climate change to prepare participants for upcoming modules and support their progression in the IRP program.  This module will ensure that students can understand components of the global climate system; understand basics of climate modeling and how climate has changed in the past and present, have an understanding of climate impacts and risks, and understand relationship between climate change, climate risk and infrastructure systems. It is recommended that candidates complete this module in advance of their first course.  

Each week will follow a similar format. An introductory video will set the stage for the week ahead. Weekly readings and pre-recorded lectures introduce new concepts and information, and students are prompted to engage with and test that knowledge via discussion board questions, activities, and quizzes. The weekly modules will wrap up with a live session with the lead instructor, where learners can expect a mix of presentations, review of key concepts, case study and scenario explorations, and facilitated discussions.  


Course Assessment

The assessment framework for all IRP courses allocates 30% of final grade to each of discussion forum participation, final assignment or task, and a short multiple choice final exam. 10% of student mark is allocated to live session participation. Exams and final assignments are to be completed within a week of the final live sessions.  

The final or summative task is not designed to be long, however, we are looking for IRP candidates and all students to demonstrate application of the concepts and knowledge gained through the readings and live sessions. Students have opportunity to submit their short in their preferred format (e.g. 2-page document, or 7-10 slides).  

Meet the Instructors!

Catherine LeBlanc, P.Eng, J.D., B.Ed.

Catherine LeBlanc holds degrees in civil engineering, law and education from Université de Moncton. She has worked in municipal construction as well as a lawyer in the field of construction and regulatory law. Recently, Catherine coordinated the NRCan BRACE project focused on training New Brunswick engineers in climate change adaptation. In addition to teaching, Catherine’s current research projects with Université de Moncton focus on climate change adaptation training and environmental obligations for professionals.

Paul Cobb, B. Eng

Paul is a Manager of Training Services with the Climate Risk Institute. An engineer by training, he has dedicated his career to finding and implementing climate change solutions. Paul’s work spans twenty years in the fields of climate change mitigation and adaptation – working with everyone from rural communities to provincial and territorial governments – helping identify and implement climate solutions. Read more…