Government of Canada Releases New Report Showing the Impacts of Climate Change and Necessity of Indigenous-Led Climate Change Adaptation

News release

May 7, 2024        Ottawa, Ontario           Natural Resources Canada                   

In recent years, Canada has increasingly faced severe impacts of climate change, including higher temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns, extreme weather events and rising sea levels. Climate change has already impacted First Nations, Inuit and Métis livelihoods, culture, social relations, food security, health, well-being and ways of life. Despite experiencing disproportionate impacts to climate change, Indigenous Peoples have been actively responding to environmental change since time immemorial and have developed Indigenous Knowledge Systems to respond to it. For Canada to reduce some of the worst impacts of the climate crisis it currently faces, Indigenous Knowledge Systems need to be considered.

Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, announced the release of the For Our Future: Indigenous Resilience Report, the first Indigenous-led report that draws on Indigenous knowledge, perspectives and experiences to explore multidimensional and intersecting aspects of climate change impacts and adaptation. The report is part of Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action, Canada’s National Knowledge Assessment of how and why Canada’s climate is changing, the impacts of these changes and how we are adapting. This report highlights the unique strengths and challenges of First Nations, Inuit and Métis in responding to climate change; the importance of the inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge Systems in all levels of climate action; that climate change is one of the many crises that First Nations, Inuit and Métis face; and how Indigenous-led climate action is critical for self-determination. This report paints an urgent picture of the impact that climate change has on Indigenous Peoples. It presents a starting point for meaningful dialogue and action that must continue into the future to avoid further loss of life and culture.

The report's five broad key messages draw from a set of 12 key principles grounded in the teachings of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Elders and Knowledge Holders and reflect a diversity of Indigenous nations, cultures and languages in Canada. The report recognizes, highlights and elevates Indigenous knowledge, rights, expertise, issues, perspectives and experiences concerning climate change and its impacts within Canada. The report emphasizes how climate change is a continual and pervasive threat that will only exacerbate other challenges Indigenous communities face, such as environmental issues and the ongoing legacy of colonization.

A webinar will follow on May 15, 2024, to hear directly from the authors about how climate change is affecting Indigenous communities and to learn about the approaches First Nations, Inuit and Métis are taking to drive climate action at local, regional, national and international levels. Please access the link to register for the webinar, taking place from 13:30 to 15:00 p.m. ET.


 “Indigenous Peoples face significant and unique climate challenges that threaten lives, livelihoods, cultures and knowledge systems. This report speaks to the importance of Indigenous-led adaptation and mitigation initiatives. It also highlights how, by adopting policies and measures that incorporate Indigenous knowledge, experience and perspectives, governments can better equip themselves to fight climate change. Through this report and the National Adaptation Strategy, the federal government is bringing together experts and decision-makers to protect people, promote Indigenous voices, and improve resiliency while building a clean and prosperous future.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson

Minister of Energy and Natural Resources


“First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada are taking remarkable action to fight climate change and adapt to its impacts. They are uniquely positioned to lead climate solutions using Indigenous knowledge, science and lived experiences. The release of this report highlights the crucial importance of self-determination and incorporating Indigenous knowledge and science into climate change decision-making to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for generations to come.”

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault

Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“From wildfires to melting permafrost to floods, northerners and communities across the country are seeing an increase in extreme weather events. Due to their geographic location and relationship to the lands, waters and ice, Indigenous and northern communities are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts. It’s this experience that makes them best positioned to lead climate change mitigation efforts and shape a more climate-resilient future. This Indigenous-led report highlights the unique role Indigenous Peoples play in responding to the climate crisis as well as the need for the consideration and integration of Indigenous Knowledge Systems across all government actions.”

The Honourable Dan Vandal

Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

“Indigenous Peoples have always been stewards of the land, air and water and incorporating Indigenous knowledge will allow us to better understand the impacts of climate change and guide our adaptation measures. This Indigenous-led report, the first of its kind, emphasizes that self-determination is critical to Indigenous-led climate action. We are working with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis to advance an Indigenous Climate Leadership Agenda that will ensure Indigenous Peoples have the resources and authorities necessary to advance self-determined climate action.”


The Honourable Gary Anandasangaree
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Quick facts

  • Supporting Indigenous leadership and co-developing solutions to address climate change in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities is central to advancing the reconciliation journey and self-determination. By working together in partnership, we’re taking necessary action to fight climate change, create economic prosperity and build a strong, healthy, sustainable future for Indigenous communities across Canada.

  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis are leaders in Canada’s efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change and are developing climate-change strategies and actions to set out a long-term vision for adaptation in their communities and regions. These include national, regional and community-level strategies and initiatives that reflect the diverse circumstances and priorities of Indigenous Peoples across the country. Adaptation actions in Indigenous communities and territories are more effective, meaningful and durable when they are designed, delivered and determined by and for Indigenous Peoples. 

  • For First Nations, Inuit, and Métis climate change adaptation must be premised on the right to self-determination and should support Indigenous Peoples in leading adaptation action in and on their lands, territories, ice and waters. To achieve this, the Government of Canada is working in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to advance an Indigenous Climate Leadership Agenda as the main pathway for implementing Indigenous communities’ adaptation priorities. 

  • Over the next year, the Government of Canada will continue to work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis on a regional and distinctions basis to chart a long-term approach to partnership on climate change and adaptation. This approach supports the progressive transition of the resources and authorities necessary for Indigenous governments, communities and representative organizations to implement self-determined climate actions.

  • Canada released its first National Adaptation Strategy (NAS) in June 2023 along with the Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan (GOCAAP). The National Adaptation Strategy outlines a shared path to a more climate-resilient Canada. It establishes a shared vision of what we want our future to look like and sets out a common direction for action. The strategy upholds Indigenous rights as one of its guiding principles and includes a dedicated annex for Indigenous climate change strategies and action.

Associated links


Natural Resources Canada
Media Relations

Carolyn Svonkin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Canada

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