Climate-related resources for local governments
Find relevant resources to learn how to use climate change information within local government risk assessment and adaptation planning contexts.
Local governments strategically plan for and deliver high quality, effective and cost-efficient services and programs, such as infrastructure maintenance and community services. For these reasons, local governments are increasingly adapting their design and planning processes to enhance climate resilience to extreme weather events, such as floods, droughts and heatwaves, and longer-term changes such as increased temperatures and sea-level rise. Methodologies for incorporating climate information into local government decision-making processes, to assess impacts, risks and vulnerabilities, are constantly evolving. As such, local governments benefit from access to examples of adaptation actions taken by others.
Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) Canadian Centre for Climate Services (CCCS) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) have supported the Municipal Climate Services Collaborative (MCSC) since 2019. The MCSC is a collaboration between the CCCS and the FCM that promotes the use of climate information to integrate climate change within local government strategic planning, infrastructure design and community services.
The MCSC has developed a list of climate-related resources specific to local governments. This list includes general resources that are applicable across Canada and those that provide regionally specific information.
Find additional climate-related resources for local governments by selecting “Municipalities” under the Sector filter in the Library of Climate Resources.
General climate-related resources for local governments
The following resources can help elected officials and staff of local governments increase climate change resilience within their communities. Most resources presented here have been developed within the last ten years. Older resources have been included if they continue to provide relevant methodologies for a particular region or sector
The use of climate information
The following resources provide climate data and information for visualization and download, as well as resources to learn how to understand and use it.
This website provides high-resolution climate data to help decision-makers. Explore by variable, location, or sector; download custom climate data; and learn more about climate science through the Learning Zone.
Learning Zone topics:
|Canadian Centre for Climate Services (CCCS)||The CCCS website offers tools to visualize, download, and understand climate information. Visualize data using the Climate Data Viewer; Download data using the Climate Data Extraction Tool; Learn more about the basics of climate change and climate information through the Climate Information pages; and find additional resources, data, and guidance in the Library of Climate Resources.|
|Climate Atlas||This website combines climate science, mapping and storytelling to bring the global issue of climate change closer to home for Canadians. It was designed to inspire local, regional, and national action that will let us move from risk to resilience.|
Impact, Risk and Vulnerability Assessment – Methodologies
The following resources provide methodologies for climate change impact, risk and vulnerability assessments.
|Guidance on Good Practices in Climate Change Risk Assessment (2021) – Summary (PDF)||This summary document provides a snapshot of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s Guidance on Good Practices in Climate Change Risk Assessment (PDF) including a review of 5 methodologies (including ICLEI, PIEVC, ISO 31,000 and mixed-methods).||2021|
|Adaptation to climate change – Guidelines on vulnerability, impacts and risk assessment (ISO 14 091).||These guidelines advise on assessing the risks related to climate change impacts. They describe how to understand vulnerability and how to develop and implement a sound risk assessment in the context of climate change (International Standards Organization).||2021|
|Coastal Flood Risk Assessment Guidelines for Buildings & Infrastructure Design Applications||These peer-reviewed guidelines advise designers of buildings and infrastructure, and other interested parties (including owners), on best practices for conducting Coastal Flood Risk Assessments to support resilient design (National Research Council).||2021|
|Incorporating Climate Resilience for Municipal Infrastructure into the Updates of Existing Atlantic Canada Water and Wastewater Design Guidelines||The purpose of the guidelines is to provide a guide for the development of wastewater projects in Atlantic Canada. The guideline is an update of the Atlantic Canada Wastewater Guidelines Manual for Collection, Treatment, and Disposal (2006). The update includes revisions to technical requirements and a chapter on the consideration of climate change for the design of climate resilient infrastructure (Atlantic Canada Water and Wastewater Association).||2020|
|Risk Management (ISO 31 000)||This standard provides principles, a framework, and a process for managing risk. It can be used by any organization regardless of its size, activity or sector (International Standards Organization).||2018|
|Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) Protocol||The PIEVC Protocol was developed by Engineers Canada, to assist engineers in factoring climate change impacts into plans for design, operation and maintenance of public infrastructure.||N/A|
Impacts, Risk and Vulnerabilities
The following resources detail specific climate change impacts, risks and vulnerabilities within certain sectors or systems.
|Action on Climate Change Team Resources and Reports||This resources and reports library offers handbooks, decision tools, guides, and reports focused on a variety of topics within the climate change and sustainability realm.||N/A|
|Under Water: The Cost of Climate Change for Canada’s Infrastructure.||This report outlines the economic costs of climate change upon Canada’s infrastructure (Canadian Institute for Climate Choices).||2021|
|National Guide for Wildland-Urban Interface Fires||This guide provides guidance on hazard and exposure assessment, property protection, community resilience and emergency planning to minimize the impact of wildland-urban interface fires. Also available is the accompanying impact analysis (National Research Council of Canada).||2021|
|Advancing the Climate Resilience of Canadian Infrastructure (PDF)||This report reviews the current literature on climate change hazards, impacts, and adaptation options for six types of built infrastructure across Canada and looks at the complimentary role of natural infrastructure solutions in building climate resiliency (International Institute for Sustainable Development).||2021|
|Climate-Resilient Buildings and Core Public Infrastructure||This report assesses how climatic design data relevant to users of the National Building Code of Canada and the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code might change as the climate continues to warm.||2020|
Adaptation & Resilience – Methodologies
The following resources provide guidance and methodologies for adaptation and resilience planning within local governments.
|Projects under the Standards to Support Resilience in Infrastructure Program||The Standards Council of Canada (SCC)’s Infrastructure Program is delivering concrete standardization strategies and tools to help Canadians adapt to climate change. This webpage offers a list of related resources and standards (Standards Council of Canada).||2016-2021|
|Guideline for Preventing overheating in buildings||This guideline is intended for practitioners and building designers to retrofit existing and design new buildings that are resilient to extreme heat events of future climate change (National Research Council).||2021|
|Low Carbon Resilience Planning Handbook||This handbook compiles the results of a three-year project with the goal to collaboratively advance and test the low carbon resilience (LCR) approach in planning and decision making. This handbook is intended for local governments everywhere, as efforts accelerate to fully integrate climate action into planning and decision processes (Action on Climate Team).||2021|
|Talking it through: Guide for local government staff on climate adaptation (2020).||This resource, created by ECCC and the FCM, helps municipal staff talk to decision-makers and elected officials about adapting to the local impacts of climate change. The resource also includes a customizable Power-point Template and list of resources (guides/ resources, data/products and tools).||2020|
|Building Community Resilience: Key Considerations and Lessons Learned from Twelve Canadian Communities||This report presents lessons learned from participating municipalities and energy utilities and leverages them into a guide for communities interested in starting or reviewing their climate adaptation and climate planning strategy and their emergency responses, with a specific lens on energy infrastructure.||2020|
|Adaptation to climate change — Principles, requirements and guidelines (ISO 14 090).||This resource specifies principles, requirements and guidelines for adaptation to climate change. This includes the integration of adaptation within or across organizations, understanding impacts and uncertainties and how these can be used to inform decisions (International Standards Organization).||2019|
|Weathering the Storm: Developing a Canadian Standard for Flood-resilient existing communities||This report outlines a range of solutions that can be deployed practically and cost-effectively within communities to reduce flood risk. It also introduces a new prioritization framework for selecting areas within communities that should be targeted for retrofits (Intact Centre for Climate Adaptation).||2019|
|Changing Climate, Changing Communities: Guide and Workbook for Municipal Climate Adaptation||This Guide and Workbook is a milestone based framework to assist local governments in the creation of adaptation plans to address the relevant climate change impacts associated with their communities (ICLEI Canada).||2014|
|Land use planning tools for local adaptation to climate change||This document describes planning tools being used across Canada to help communities prepare for climate change, increase adaptive capacity and build resilience. It is directed to individuals and groups interested in climate change adaptation at the local level, including planners and other local government staff, elected officials, community organizations, local residents and business leaders.||2012|
|Climate Change Adaptation Planning – A Handbook for Small Municipalities||This Handbook helps small Canadian communities to prepare and implement a climate change adaptation plan.||2011|
|Stepping Up to the Climate Change Challenge - Municipal World||This book highlights the important role for Canada’s local governments in contributing to climate change solutions, locally and globally.||2008|
Adaptation & Resilience – Examples of Actions
The following resources provide details on adaptation and resilience measures within specific sectors or systems and local government contexts.
|Map of Adaptation Actions||This interactive map explores case studies from across Canada to demonstrate how communities and sectors are adapting to climate change.||N/A|
|Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program (MCIP)||
This resource provides guides, tools and case studies on reducing risks, vulnerabilities, and supporting adaptation.
Relevant materials developed via the Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP)
|Global Covenant Framework of Mayors||Learn how your municipality can benefit from becoming a signatory to this international movement.||N/A|
|Developing climate resilient standards and codes||This webpage provides high-level information on climate-resilient standards and updating codes for climate change.||N/A|
|Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation||This webpage provides a variety of resources for local governments to adapt and increase resilience to climate change.||N/A|
|New Brunswick Environmental Network Map of Case Studies||This map provides information on projects across Canada that are using a nature-based approach to climate change mitigation and-or adaptation.||N/A|
|MCSC case studies||
This resource provides five municipal case studies that demonstrate the use of climate information to support adaptation.
The accompanying presentation (Using Climate Information To Drive Adaptation - Five Local Government Case Studies From Across Canada) can be used by local governments to highlight the use of climate information in other municipal contexts.
|Flood resilience in the face of climate change||This webpage includes links to key resources municipalities can use when planning and implementing local climate action responses relating to flooding (Federation of Canadian Municipalities).||2021|
|Cities and Towns; Chapter 2 in Canada in a Changing Climate: National Issues Report||This report, led by Natural Resources Canada, provides a national perspective on how climate change is impacting our communities, environment and economy, and how we are adapting. This chapter focuses on Cities and Towns.||2021|
|Rural and Remote Communities; Chapter 3 in Canada in a Changing Climate: National Issues Report||This report, led by Natural Resources Canada, provides a national perspective on how climate change is impacting our communities, environment and economy, and how we are adapting. This chapter focuses on Rural and Remote Communities.||2021|
|Advancing the Climate Resilience of Canadian Infrastructure.||This report reviews the literature on climate change hazards, impacts, and adaptation options for six types of built infrastructure across Canada and looks at the complementary role of natural infrastructure solutions in building climate resiliency (International Institute for Sustainable Development).||2021|
|Thermally Comfortable Playgrounds||This report provides readers with contextual knowledge of thermal comfort as it relates to playgrounds. It also provides actionable design considerations to improve thermal comfort on playgrounds and summarizes common design features to support safe and comfortable playgrounds for all seasons of play (Standards Council of Canada).||2020|
|Reducing Urban Heat Island to Protect Health in Canada||This report fills gaps in knowledge and provide tips, strategies, and case studies that can help public health professionals as they support local governments and organizations with reducing Urban Heat Islands (Health Canada).||2020|
|Enhancing Climate-related Disclosure by Cities: A Guide to Adopting the Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)||This guide highlights actions taken by Canadian cities in response to climate change, demonstrating the climate adaptation leadership underway across the country. It also includes process frameworks for different types of decision-makers within municipalities, including those working in financial reporting and capital planning, to help cities implement the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) recommendations (Chartered Professional Accountants Canada).||2019|
Training and Learning Tools
The following training resources and learning tools are available.
|Adaptation learning network||The Adaptation Learning Network is helping professionals in British Columbia who work at the front line of climate adaptation to integrate adaptation competencies into their professional practice, through education, training and networking.|
|Infrastructure Resilience Professional (IRP) Credentialling Program||The IRP Program has been designed to help infrastructure practitioners strengthen the knowledge and competencies they require to advance more climate-resilient approaches for the planning, design and management of infrastructure.|
|Development and Delivery of a Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Training Program for Professional Planners||The training program will be delivered to Ontario planners to (i) build an understanding of the most recent science on climate change, (ii) provide methods to integrate climate change impacts and adaptation into planning contexts and processes, and (iii) to accelerate uptake of adaptation broadly within the profession.|
|Training and Workshops from ICLEI Canada||This is a collection of workshops and training opportunities from across the spectrum of issues facing communities.|
|Manitoba Climate Resilience Training||The goal of this Project is to develop and deliver a comprehensive suite of training and capacity building courses or modules that enhance climate knowledge and the uptake of tools and information that promote integrated engagement, networking, and hands-on learning opportunities.|
|ClimateSense (Prince Edward Island)||ClimateSense, Training Climate Leaders is committed to providing adaptation learning and development, specific to Prince Edward Island.|
|Climate Change and Resilient Infrastructure (Newfoundland and Labrador)||The purpose of the project is to build capacity among infrastructure practitioners to integrate climate change considerations into infrastructure decision-making processes and investments through (i) developing and delivering a suite of customized training modules; (ii) creating a Community of Practice to promote best practices; and (iii) enabling and enhancing integration of climate resilience into provincial and municipal policy processes.|
Resources by Region
It is important to consider regional information, in addition to general sources, as the needs and capacities of local governments, as well as climate change impacts, vary significantly by geographic location.
The following websites and resources provide regionally specific information on climate change for regions across Canada.
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