Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy: Building Resilient Communities and a Strong Economy

Climate change and extreme weather are affecting lives in Canada. We are already facing record-breaking climate events. Wildfires, extreme heat waves and floods are becoming more frequent. The thawing of permafrost and rise in sea-levels are speeding up the erosion of our coasts. In short, climate-related disasters are impacting the very foundations of our communities.

Adaptation means creating safe and secure communities in this time of change.  Building strong resilient communities means managing the risks to our health, well-being, and livelihoods.

Canada's first National Adaptation Strategy is a shared vision of what we want our future to look like.

Building strong and resilient communities requires:

National Adaptation Strategy approach and priorities

Climate change impacts each community and region in different ways. Each community has different abilities to prepare for and respond to extreme weather and the slow onset of climate change. The National Adaptation Strategy follows four guiding principles that empower communities, regions, and First Nations to develop plans tailored to their needs while moving all of society towards and safe and resilient future.

The Strategy lists near-term targets, medium-term objectives, and long-term goals. A comprehensive National Strategy helps us mobilize resources, identify gaps, and tailor the most effective local solutions. By measuring our progress, governments can adjust their approach to adaptation as required and respond to emerging issues.

Guiding principles
Long description for guiding principles figure

A pyramid divided into five sections stacked on top of one another and an arrow pointing from bottom to top. The widest section at the bottom has a symbol of a list and is labelled “Action Plans” with a description which reads, “Action plans outline immediate priorities, enable accountability, and focus on investments for the next five years”. The section above it has a symbol of a target and arrow and reads, “Near-term targets identify key priorities for immediate action, driving whole-of-society effort”. The next section, the third from the bottom, shows a symbol of a pathway with the words, “2030 Objectives”. The description reads, “Medium-term objectives outline key milestones needed to make progress toward the goals”. The section above this, fourth from the bottom shows a flag with the words, “2050 Goals” with the description “Long-term goals set specific transformational direction in each of the NAS Systems”. The last section at the very top of the pyramid shows a pair of binoculars and the word “Vision” with the description, “A shared vision to set long-term, overall direction for climate change resilience in Canada.

In the top left corner, a section titled “Guiding Principles” with four symbols above and the words below which read, “Guiding principles ensure we achieve that vision in a just and equitable way”. The first symbol of two stylized Indigenous people represents the first principle which is to “Respect jurisdictions and uphold Indigenous Peoples’ rights”. The second symbol is of weigh scales representing justice for the second principle which is to “Advance equity and climate and environmental justice”. The third symbol shows a hand protecting a plant which represents the third principle which is to “Take proactive, risk-based measures to reduce climate impacts before they occur”.  The fourth symbol shows a stylized graph with a heart, a leaf and an arrow suggesting positive upward movement. This represents the fourth principle which is to “Maximize benefits and avoid maladaptation”.

Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan

Learn how the Government of Canada is implementing the National Adaptation Strategy to achieve climate resilience from coast to coast to coast.

Other adaptation strategies, actions and climate risks in Canada

Provincial and territorial adaptation strategies and programs

Provincial and territorial adaptation strategies and programs

Provincial and territorial governments in Canada are responsible for and set the direction for climate change adaptation measures in their respective jurisdictions. Many have developed stand-alone climate change adaptation plans or strategies and have made investments to support adaptation decision-making and on-the-ground action.

Indigenous organizations strategies

Indigenous organizations strategies

First Nations, Inuit, and Métis are leaders and drivers of climate action. They are addressing climate change in ways that reflect their distinct nationhood, cultures, and Knowledge. Many Indigenous organizations, regions, and communities are advancing efforts to monitor, assess, and understand climate change impacts and to develop climate change strategies and action plans to address the unique needs of their communities and natural environments.

Municipal adaptation strategies

Municipal adaptation strategies

Cities and communities are actively planning for climate change risks by developing adaptation strategies that inform city planning and infrastructure investment decisions, encouraging action by homeowners and businesses, and putting in place measures to advance local action (e.g., land-use by-laws, policies and zoning regulations, public health measures).

Explore major climate risks

Explore major climate risks

Reports and related links

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