Canada in a Changing Climate: National Issues Report


Communities across the country are experiencing the impacts of climate change, highlighting the need for urgent action to guide climate adaptation policy and actions in Canada.

The Canada in a Changing Climate: National Issues Report gives a national perspective on how climate change is impacting our communities, environment and economy, and illustrates how Canadians are already adapting to climate impacts. The report also assesses Canada’s adaptation efforts, including policies which have helped Canadians from climate risk, and the need for increased action across all levels of government.

Findings of the report show that climate change is already affecting the lives of Canadians, and that those impacts will persist — and in most cases intensify — over time. Key findings include:

  • Communities of all sizes across the country are experiencing the impacts of climate change on their infrastructure, health and well-being, cultures and economies.
  • Changes in climate are threatening Canada’s ecosystems and the vital services they provide, including access to freshwater. Nature-based solutions that maintain and restore ecosystems, such as wetlands, are a cost-effective and sustainable means of moderating climate impacts and building resilience.
  • A changing climate affects all sectors of Canada’s economy, through impacts on production, operations and/or disruption to supply chains. Disclosure of climate-related risks is emerging as a key driver of adaptation in the private sector.
  • We must look beyond our borders when assessing the impacts of a changing climate for Canada. Climate impacts elsewhere in the world, and the steps that other countries take, or do not take, to adapt can strongly affect food availability, trade and immigration.
  • Recent impacts of extreme weather events, such as floods and fires, indicate the need to better prepare for the effects of climate change.
  • Lessons on good practices are emerging to help guide successful adaptation. These include empowering strong leadership, collaborating broadly and adopting flexible management approaches. Incorporating diverse perspectives and sources of knowledge, including Indigenous knowledge, is imperative for effective adaptation.

The Report is a product of Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action, the National Assessment process led by Natural Resources Canada, a collaborative national assessment of how and why Canada’s climate is changing, the impacts of these changes and how Canada is adapting to them. The findings of the report will be used to inform the outcomes of the National Adaptation Strategy, which the Federal Government committed to in the Strengthened Climate Plan released this fall. It provides a thorough basis upon which to build a comprehensive National Adaptation Strategy.

In developing these reports, Natural Resources Canada engaged experts from academic, government and non‑governmental organizations as authors to assess and synthesize knowledge including peer‑reviewed literature, government reports and Indigenous knowledge, including over 40 lead authors, a 20-member advisory committee and over 340 reviewers. More than 200 people were involved in the assessment process for this National Issues report.

National assessments are collaborative multi-year processes in which experts and assessment users collaborate to assess and synthesize the latest literature and knowledge on climate change science, impacts and adaptation. Findings from national assessments are used to inform decision-making and action to reduce the impacts of climate change by making credible knowledge readily available and usable. While they guide and inform action, they are not policy-prescriptive and do not involve original research.

The report also underpins the strengthened climate plan Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy that was released on December 11, 2020, and will support the development of Canada’s first-ever National Adaptation Strategy.

Map of Adaptation Actions

The Government of Canada is also launching the Map of Adaptation Actions, a searchable online map featuring case studies from the National Assessment as well as case studies from a wide range sources across Canada.

The map was co-developed by Natural Resources Canada and Environment and Climate Change’s Canadian Centre for Climate Services. The map as well as the broader Canadian Centre for Climate Services are part of the Federal Government’s effort to ensure that climate change information and data are effectively communicated to Canadians. 


Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada

Ian Cameron
Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources


Follow us on Twitter: @NRCan (

Page details

Date modified: