2. Background

2.1 Program profile

The former CAA, in effect until 2015-16, was intended to address climate change and air pollutants via five streams of programming, one of which was the Adaptation ThemeFootnote 1 As of December 2016, the Government of Canada’s climate change activities fall under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Most of the programs under the Adaptation Theme now fall under Adaptation and Climate Resilience, one of the four main pillars of the new framework.

The Adaptation Theme was coordinated by ECCC and included eight other federal partners:  Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Health Canada (HC), Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Parks Canada Agency (PCA), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and Transport Canada (TC). Domestic action on adaptation by the Government of Canada is guided by the 2011 Federal Adaptation Policy Framework.

The Adaptation Theme included a total of 10 program elements organized into four streams that focus on building the science base needed to inform decision making; protecting the health and well-being of Canadians; building resilience in the North and Aboriginal communities; and enhancing competitiveness in key economic sectors.Footnote 2  A brief description of the 10 program elements follows, organized by stream.  Additional detail regarding the four streams and ten program elements is included in Appendix A.

Enhance the science foundation to understand and predict climate and assess climate change impacts

  • Aquatic Climate Change Adaptation Services Program (ACCASP) [DFO] – development of knowledge of climate change risks, impacts and opportunities in relation to oceans and fisheriesFootnote 3 
  • Climate Change Prediction and Scenarios Program (CCPSP) [ECCC] – provision of scientific information and data to assist with policy development and adaptation planning
  • Understanding Climate-Driven Ecological Changes in Canada’s North (UCECCN) [PC] – assessment of how ecological integrity and traditional land use may be affected by climate-driven changes in northern national parks

Enhance public health and safety

  • Heat Alert and Response Systems (HARS) [HC] – support of health authorities to plan for and respond to extreme heat events and reduce the vulnerability of citizens to heat-related illnesses and death and by implementing heat alert and response systems in at-risk communitiesFootnote 4 
  • Preventative Public Health Systems and Adaptation to Climate Change Program (PPHSACC) [PHAC] – expansion of research and the development of improved surveillance methods to advance the understanding of the health implications of climate change on water-borne, food-borne and vector-borneFootnote 5 diseases, to inform the development of practical adaptation strategies and tools to protect the health of Canadians

Build resilience in the North and climate-sensitive Aboriginal communities

  • Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program for Northern First Nations and Inuit Communities (CCHAP) [HC] – funding of community-driven research projects to assist communities to determine their health and adaptation priorities, conduct research and develop culturally appropriate adaptation strategies or action plans and communication materials
  • Climate Adaptation and Resilience Program for Aboriginals and Northerners (CARPAN) [INAC] – working with organizations, institutions and communities to assess and develop management strategies to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate, undertake risk and vulnerability assessments and identify appropriate actions required to reduce risks, focusing on the areas where the impacts of climate change are already visible and vulnerability is high (for example, infrastructure, water quality and availability)
  • Integrating Adaptation into Codes and Standards for Northern Infrastructure (also known as the Northern Infrastructure Standards Initiative (NISI)) [SCC and INAC]) – development of national standards to address climate-related risks to Northern infrastructure design, planning and management

Enhance the competitiveness of climate-sensitive economic sectors and systems

  • Enhancing Competitiveness in a Changing Climate (also referred to as the NRCan Adaptation Program) [NRCan] – leading the development and sharing of knowledge, tools and practices to assist decision makers in the analysis and implementation of adaptation in the regions and natural resource sectors.
  • Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative (NTAI) [TC] – improvement of the resilience, responsiveness and adaptability of Canada’s northern transportation system, including incorporating climate change considerations into infrastructure design and maintenance, building northern science capacity and working with stakeholders to develop strategic adaptation measures for northern transportation infrastructure to ensure a sustainable northern transportation system.

2.2 Governance and management

Three committees govern the work of the Adaptation Theme. These committees provide guidance and coordination on policy development within the federal government and between levels of government and coordinate the management of the program elements.

The Director General Adaptation Policy Steering Committee (DGAPSC) is an interdepartmental committee designed to advance a coordinated approach to climate change adaptation at the federal level. Led by ECCC’s Strategic Policy Directorate, the committee coordinates the development of adaptation policy, guides domestic action for adaptation to the impacts of climate variability and change through the Federal Adaptation Policy Framework across the federal government and provides advice to senior officials, including the Deputy Ministers Committee on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment.

The Federal/Provincial/Territorial (FPT) Adaptation Policy Committee is intended to promote improved coordination of adaptation policy across the three levels of government. This committee, which includes federal representatives from ECCC and NRCan, fosters ongoing FPT dialogue on climate change impacts and adaptation policies and promotes information sharing among Canadian governments.

The Adaptation Theme Director General Management Committee (DGMC) was an interdepartmental committee composed of the lead Directors General (DGs) contributing to the Adaptation Theme. The DGMC was responsible for coordinating the management of the Adaptation Theme program elements in accordance with their mandate and the achievement of higher-level results in accordance with the CAA.  Coincident with the end of the funding for the Theme, the DGMC is no longer active as of March 2016.

2.3 Resource allocation

From 2011-12 to 2015-16, the approved funding for the Adaptation Theme totalled $181,625,809. This approved funding amount is a combination of new funding and funding from the existing reference levels. The existing funding accounted for 18% of the total funding and was allocated to seven of the nine involved organizations. New and existing funding for the four-year period from 2011-12 to 2014-15, which was the focus of the present evaluation, totalled $147,911,516. Details on the approved funding and expenditures by year for each program element can be found in Appendix B.

2.4 Intended outcomes

A logic model was approved by the DGMC in 2012. In preparation for the evaluation, in 2014, the logic model was revised in collaboration with the evaluation committee, which included program and evaluation representatives from all nine participating organizations. The updated logic model (see Appendix C) maps the 10 program elements to their respective activities, outputs and intended outcomes. The intended outcomes for the Theme are as follows:

Immediate outcomes

  • Targeted communities and sectors recognize the need for adaptation
  • Targeted communities and sectors assess their risks and opportunities arising from climate change
  • Adaptation measures have been identified to address risks and opportunities arising from climate change
  • Targeted communities and sectors are aware of relevant adaptation measures
  • Increase collaboration on climate change adaptation

Intermediate outcomes

  • Targeted communities and sectors address adaptation in their planning
  • Targeted individuals, communities and sectors implement adaptation measures

Final outcomes

  • Reduced vulnerability of individuals, communities, regions and economic sectors to the impacts of climate change
  • Increased capacity of individuals, communities and economic sectors to adapt to climate change
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