Canada’s Partnership with Indigenous Peoples on Climate
As announced in the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, Budget 2022 committed $29.6 million over three years, starting in 2022-23, to advance an Indigenous Climate Leadership Agenda that will support self-determined action in addressing Indigenous Peoples’ climate priorities. The funding will also support the phased implementation of distinctions-based climate strategies.
Supporting Indigenous climate leadership
First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in Canada are at the forefront of efforts to address climate change and adapt to the impacts of our changing climate. Many Indigenous leaders are taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, serve as guardians and stewards of ecosystems, manage water and air pollution, and improve the ways in which the natural environment is respected and protected. Indigenous leadership and knowledge are critical to achieving the foundational changes required to address climate change and ensure a healthy environment.
The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening Nation-to-Nation, Inuit-to-Crown and Government-to-Government relationships with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation, based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership. The Government of Canada also supports without qualification the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the right to free, prior, and informed consent. Recognizing the role of First Nations, Inuit and Métis in leading self-determined climate action in Canada is critical to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
Canada’s strengthened climate plan, A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy (PDF, 5.4 MB), builds on the foundational principles of Indigenous climate leadership, including:
- Recognizing the unique realities, needs, and priorities of Indigenous Peoples across and within distinctions
- Respecting and promoting self-determination
- Advancing early and meaningful engagement
- Incorporating inclusiveness-by-design principles in all climate actions
- Advancing co-development and other collaborative approaches to find solutions
- Creating a space for Indigenous voices across and within distinctions
- Positioning Indigenous Peoples to have a say at governance tables
- Supporting Indigenous approaches and ways of doing, by acknowledging traditional, local, and Indigenous Science and Knowledge systems as an equal part in policy development, programs, and decision-making
Climate action funding for Indigenous Peoples
As announced in the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, the Government of Canada is providing $29.6 million over three years, starting in 2022-23, to advance an Indigenous Climate Leadership Agenda that will support self-determined action in addressing Indigenous Peoples’ climate priorities. The funding will also enable the phased implementation of distinctions-based climate strategies.
The Government of Canada has also committed to expand the Low Carbon Economy Fund. This includes a new $180 million Indigenous Leadership Fund to support clean energy and energy efficiency projects led by First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and organizations.
Since 2020, the Government of Canada has announced more than $2 billion in climate action funding targeted to Indigenous Peoples through Canada’s strengthened climate plan, A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, and additional investments through Budget 2021, Budget 2022, and Budget 2023. This includes measures to:
- Support First Nations and Inuit as they manage the health impacts of climate change, such as the impacts of extreme weather events, and mental health impacts on youth ($22.7 million over five years)
- Improve food security in the north, including in Inuit Nunangat ($163.4 million over 3 years);
- Help transition rural, remote and Indigenous communities from diesel to clean energy ($300 million over 5 years)
- Support greener and more resilient infrastructure, including for large-scale adaptation or mitigation projects ($290 million over 12 years)
- Protect biodiversity through the creation of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas and partnerships to restore and enhance wetlands, peatlands, grasslands and agricultural lands to boost carbon sequestration ($100 million over 5 years for conservation, $500 million over 10 years for nature-based solutions, $36.9 million over 10 years for nature-based carbon sequestration)
Distinctions-based senior bilateral tables on clean growth and climate change
In 2016, the federal government committed to strengthening its collaboration with Indigenous Peoples as partners in climate action. Following joint commitments made by the Prime Minister and the National Leaders of the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis National Council, the federal government and First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners established three distinctions-based senior bilateral tables under the Permanent Bilateral Mechanisms. These tables are based on the recognition of rights, co-operation, and partnership. They help foster a collaborative approach to ongoing engagement with Indigenous Peoples and support Indigenous climate leadership.
Additional information on the creation of the Senior Bilateral Tables on Clean Growth and Climate Change is included in the Process Document for Ongoing Engagement on the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
First Nations-Canada partnership
The First Nations-Canada Joint Committee on Climate Action (JCCA) was established in fall 2016 and began meeting in 2017. Since then, the JCCA has served and continues to serve as a unique forum where First Nations representatives and federal officials come together to discuss climate change priorities and to collaborate on climate policy.
Based on the recognition of rights, cooperation, and partnership, the JCCA supports the participation of First Nations as full and effective partners in the implementation of Canada’s national climate plan.
In June 2023, the JCCA released its fifth annual report to the Prime Minister and the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. The JCCA’s annual report documents the positive steps taken towards reconciliation and forging a stronger climate partnership in 2022. This report highlights the Joint Committee’s progress in 2022 across the following areas:
- Accelerating First Nations’ full and effective participation in clean growth and climate change programs, including the National Adaptation Strategy
- Advancing the development of First Nations Climate Leadership through meaningful dialogue with First Nations
- Monitoring and evaluating progress on First Nations Climate Leadership and the full and effective participation of First Nations in climate change programs
- Developing new communication tools to improve transparency, accountability and engagement throughout JCCA activities
- Embedding intergenerational and intersectional dialogue on climate change in all JCCA activities
The Inuit-Canada Table on Clean Growth and Climate Change was created in 2017 to provide a forum for representatives from Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Regional Land Claims Organizations, and federal officials from various government departments to discuss and advance joint climate priorities. Since then, the federal government’s partnership with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and regional representatives has shifted to focus on implementing the National Inuit Climate Change Strategy (NICCS) and advancing Inuit-determined actions to strengthen the sustainability and resilience of Inuit Nunangat in the face of a rapidly changing climate and landscape.
To support Inuit knowledge and leadership for successful climate action, the Government of Canada has provided funding to initiate implementation of the NICCS and help advance Inuit-led activities under the following NICCS priority areas:
- Advance Inuit capacity and knowledge in climate decision-making
- Improve Inuit and environmental health and wellness outcomes through integrated Inuit health, education and climate policies and initiatives
- Reduce the climate vulnerability of Inuit and market food systems
- Close the infrastructure gap with climate resilient new builds, retrofits to existing builds, and Inuit adaptation to changing natural infrastructure
- Support regional and community-driven energy solutions leading to Inuit energy independence
The Goose Moon Table (previously the Métis Nation - Canada Joint Table on Clean Growth Climate Change) was created in 2017. Since then, the Métis National Council, its Governing Members, and federal officials from various government departments have built relationships and shared information on joint policy development and identified Métis-specific considerations for designing federal climate programs and delivering funding.
Federal departments are working with the Métis Nation to adjust programs and policies under Canada’s climate plan. This includes advancing Métis climate change and related health priorities and shaping community-based climate monitoring initiatives. The Métis Nation has identified the following priorities to advance Métis Nation climate leadership:
- Collecting Métis traditional knowledge
- Conducting research & collecting data to guide Métis policy
- Education and training opportunities in climate change
- Environmental stewardship and nature-based solutions
- Emergency management and disaster-risk mitigation
- Climate change and health
- Renewable energy and energy-efficiency retrofits
Partnerships with Indigenous women, 2SLGBTQI+ and gender-diverse peoples
The Native Women’s Association of Canada
Since 2019, the Climate Change Branch of Environment and Climate Change Canada has been building a relationship with the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC). The Environmental Conservation and Climate Change Office (ECCCO), housed within the Native Women’s Association of Canada is the leading resource dedicated to researching and addressing the impacts of biodiversity and climate change on Indigenous women, children, youth, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse persons in Canada. The office facilitates important consultations, research and projects designed to close knowledge gaps in matters of biodiversity and climate change impacts on these groups. Furthermore, the ECCCO facilitates policy, program, and legislative actions to address these challenges and ensure Indigenous women, youth and non-binary people have equitable opportunities to benefit from the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy. For more information, see related links.
Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak
Starting in 2020, the Climate Change Branch of Environment and Climate Change Canada has been working with Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak (LFMO) to build relationships and support climate change research and action. Métis women and 2SLGBTQI+ folks play an important role as caretakers of this earth, keepers of culture, and protectors of the land. LFMO continues to advocate to ensure that these traditional practices, teachings and ways of life are carried forward. LFMO’s project titled “Mothers of the Land, Water and Skies” engages Métis women and 2SLGBTQI+ folks on climate change impacts, experiences, concerns and recommendations. For more information, see related links.
Partnerships with Indigenous people in urban areas
Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
In 2021, the Climate Change Branch of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) began building a relationship with the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP). ECCC and CAP are working collaboratively to set an agenda for climate action and to create a framework for collaboration. The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples recognizes the importance of Indigenous climate leadership and will be working with ECCC on initiatives that advance the agency of Indigenous Peoples and communities, support Indigenous-led and delivered solutions, equip Indigenous Peoples with equitable resources, and ensure appropriate access to funding to implement self-determined climate action.
The National Association of Friendship Centres
In 2020, the Climate Change Branch of Environment and Climate Change Canada began building a relationship with the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) to support their capacity to work on issues related to environment and climate change. Friendship Centres help Indigenous people in urban areas to connect with the land through holistic programs grounded in traditional and cultural teachings. The National Association of Friendship Centres researches how climate change affects the lives of urban Indigenous people from coast to coast to coast. For more information, see related links.
Partnerships with Indigenous experts and leaders
Indigenous Clean Energy
In 2022, the Climate Change Branch of Environment and Climate Change Canada began building a relationship with Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) to encourage collective action towards clean energy programs and policies. With a view of contributing to Indigenous climate leadership, Indigenous Clean Energy provides hands-on strategic support to the National Indigenous Organizations (NIOs) to support clean energy programs and funds for Indigenous communities across the country. As part of their transition to a net-zero economy, Indigenous Clean Energy is strengthening Indigenous community networks.
- Climate Action Map
- Indigenous climate and environmental funding
- First Nations-Canada Joint Committee on Climate Action’s Fifth Annual Report to the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations and the Prime Minister 2022 (PDF)
- Métis National Council – Climate Change
- Inuit Climate Change Strategy 2019 (PDF)
- Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan: A Healthy Environment, a Healthy Economy
- Native Women’s Association of Canada – Engaging Indigenous Peoples In Climate Change Policy (EIPCCP)
- Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak – Policy and Advocacy on Environment
- The National Association of Friendship Centres – Environment and Climate Change
- Indigenous Clean Energy – Global Hub
- Clean energy in Indigenous, rural and remote communities
- Date modified: