An investment of $841,000 for Laurentian University will help build climate change adaptation capacity among Indigenous communities in Northern Ontario.

Through knowledge sharing workshops and tools, this project is expected to help Indigenous communities deal with the impacts of climate change today, while building capacity to prepare and adapt for future challenges.

“This program directly benefits Indigenous communities by helping individuals acquire the skills and knowledge needed to deal with the increasingly complex impacts of climate change,” said Paul Lefebvre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources. “The Government of Canada will continue to work with Indigenous and northern communities to ensure they can prepare, adapt and build resilience for years to come.”

The project is co-led by Grand Council Treaty 3 and the Tribal Councils of Mushkegowuk, Matawa, Nokiiwin, Shibogama, and Keewaytinook Okimakanak. It provides funding for each Tribal Council to recruit a climate specialist who will connect traditional Indigenous knowledge and Western science on matters related to climate change. The project will also involve community engagement the sharing of knowledge with First Nations communities across the country.

“As the Matawa member First Nations face new climate realities, it is increasingly important to raise awareness and share knowledge on climate change.  Our member communities have already experienced unprecedented changes surrounding food security, transportation, health, and social well-being; these changes are projected to expand and intensify in the years to come,” said Sarah Cockerton, manager of Four Rivers Environmental Services Group, Matawa First Nations Management.

“Adapting to climate change requires a team effort and access to current, accurate, and relevant information,” adds Cockerton. “The BRACE project provides our First Nations with an opportunity to share, learn, and prepare to respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change, while working together with a network of forward-thinking communities and organizations across northern Ontario.”

The project is funded through Natural Resources Canada’s Building Regional Adaptation Capacity and Expertise Program, a five-year, $18 million initiative under the Adaptation and Climate Resilience pillar of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. The BRACE Program works with provinces to support training and knowledge-exchange that increases the ability of organizations, businesses and communities to adapt and accelerate their climate resilience.

“Laurentian University is proud to collaborate with partners from six Tribal Councils on the BRACE project,” said Dr. Robert Haché, president, Laurentian University. “We thank the government for supporting the important work being achieved through this partnership on climate change adaptation in the far North and congratulate Dr. Pearson for his leadership at Laurentian University. As stated in our Strategic Plan, the North inspires us, and this project will further enhance our relationships through culturally appropriate research that enhances wellness among Indigenous peoples and other northern populations.”

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Building Regional Adaptation Capacity and Expertise (BRACE) Program

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