Government of Canada Report Shows Climate Change Impacts — and Adaptation Actions — Are Evident in Sectors and Ecosystems in Canada

News release

December 8, 2023   Ottawa, Ontario Natural Resources Canada 

Across the country, Canadians are increasingly feeling the impacts of climate change. Higher temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns; extreme weather events, such as floods and heatwaves; and rising sea levels are just some of the changes already affecting our country. In short, climate change is impacting the very foundations of our communities. The Government of Canada is committed to advancing our knowledge about these and other aspects of climate change and mobilizing the research community to better understand adaptation actions.

Today, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced the release of the Canada in a Changing Climate: Synthesis Report, the summary report of Canada’s National Knowledge Assessment of how and why Canada’s climate is changing; the impacts of these changes on our communities, environment, and economy; and how we are adapting. This report will help inform and support adaptation to climate change across the country.

The Synthesis Report, led by Natural Resources Canada, is the end result of a process launched in 2017 involving over 650 external and government experts. It is structured around 10 key conclusions and includes three high-level take-away messages: 

  • Climate change impacts — and adaptation actions — are particularly evident in certain critical sectors and ecosystems. 

  • Canada’s economy is affected by the large and rising costs of these impacts.

  • Rapid, informed and coordinated action is needed to close Canada's large adaptation gap.

Throughout the assessment reports to date, it is evident that Canada’s climate is changing and that the impacts are being felt across regions and sectors. Further, these impacts are especially pronounced in the areas of infrastructure, human health, natural resources and the functioning of ecosystems. In response to these impacts as a whole, we are seeing growing examples of adaptation actions being implemented — with each of them providing evidence, inspiration and impetus for further action. Nevertheless, a large adaptation gap remains. 

Canada’s economy is highly sensitive to climate change, with extreme events — such as wildfires and floods — creating particularly large and disruptive impacts, and both direct and indirect costs. But economic analyses have shown that effective adaptation reduces the projected costs of climate change, with every dollar spent on adaptation measures saving up to $15, including both direct and indirect economy-wide benefits. 

As the knowledge around climate change adaptation continues to advance, lessons are emerging on how to move forward. These include the importance of reducing barriers and increasing incentives; continuing to foster action at the local level; increasing Indigenous-led climate action; addressing social and economic inequities; and increasing private-sector leadership on adaptation.

Assessment reports also play a critical role in informing practical initiatives, such as Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy, which presents a shared vision of what we want our future to look like and the guiding principles that empower communities, regions and Indigenous Peoples to develop adaptation plans tailored to their particular needs while moving all of society toward a safe and resilient future.

By helping to ensure that Canadians have access to credible, evidence-based information, the Synthesis Report will serve as a resource to enable informed decisions to reduce the climate change risks facing our country.


“Today’s release of the Canada in a Changing Climate: Synthesis Report is an excellent tool to provide an understanding of how the country is changing due to climate change and its local impacts on communities, people and the economy. It’s with research and publications like this that we’re able to create and deploy a comprehensive climate plan to ensure a clean future for generations to come.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources

“Canadians know we are at a turning point for climate action. We have to go further and faster, and in a coordinated way, based on the best available scientific evidence. For Canada, this response includes understanding how and why the country’s climate is changing; the impacts of these changes on our communities, environment and economy; and how we are adapting. I congratulate the hundreds of experts whose work underpins the Synthesis Report. Their efforts will help guide our decision making and support the bold actions we are taking to build a climate-resilient, low-carbon, economy.”

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Associated links


Natural Resources Canada

Media Relations

Carolyn Svonkin

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Canada


Environment and Climate Change Canada

Media Relations
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Kaitlin Power

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change


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