Canadians are facing an increasing number of record-breaking climate events, including wildfires, extreme heatwaves, and floods, on top of slow onset climate impacts, such as thawing permafrost and rising sea levels.

To that end, the federal government has launched Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy, the product of two years of engagement with provinces and territories, Indigenous partners, key experts, stakeholders and partners across Canada. It presents a whole-of-society approach to reducing risk and building climate-resilient communities.

“The National Adaptation Strategy presents the first national comprehensive framework ever established in this country on climate adaptation. The feedback we received from provinces, territories, and national Indigenous organizations since its initial release in fall 2022 has made it truly reflective of the experience of people living in all parts of the country,” said Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

“In the context of record-breaking wildfires across the country, record hurricanes like Fiona and record floods in British Columbia, this Strategy is needed now, more than ever, to establish a shared vision of our future. The Strategy aims to transform the way governments, communities, and Canadians work in partnership to prepare, and reduce risks of climate change through coordinated and ambitious action. The federal government plays a key role; in the last few years, we’ve invested more than $10 billion in adaptation, disaster resilience, and disaster response measures.”

The Strategy lays out an agreed-upon framework to reduce the risk of climate-related disasters, improve health outcomes, protect nature and biodiversity, build and maintain resilient infrastructure, and support a strong economy and workers. It also identifies common goals, objectives, and targets to focus the efforts of governments and communities across these key areas and to help ensure future investments are targeted and effective.

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The Strategy was released in November 2022 for a period of final comment, with provinces, territories, and national Indigenous organizations reviewing it and providing feedback. This opportunity for a final comment period strengthened relationships, confirmed support for the Strategy’s overall vision, and will improve shared implementation. In particular, feedback was received on targets that were part of the November 2022 release. Most comments focused on how governments could work together to achieve goals and measure progress. Notably, feedback allowed for even deeper recognition of the lived realities and climate change impacts in communities across the country, including Indigenous communities and the North.

Similarly, the Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan, released alongside the National Adaptation Strategy in November 2022, has been updated to include new federal investments and initiatives related to flooding, freshwater, supply chains, and security. The action plan—which now has 73 actions, compared to 68 in November 2022—outlines the federal contribution to achieving Canada’s climate change adaptation goals.

In the coming months, the federal government will work with provinces and territories to advance bilateral action plans as a key step to implementing the Strategy. Likewise, the government will work with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis on a regional and distinctions basis through the Indigenous Climate Leadership Agenda which supports self-determined Indigenous climate actions.

Also highlighted was a $164.2 million investment through the National Adaptation Strategy announcement in November 2022, to advance the ongoing Flood Hazard Identification and Mapping Program (FHIMP). This investment provides five years of funding toward projects under the FHIMP, while working to increase nation-wide flood mapping coverage and to share accessible flood hazard information with all Canadians. Timely action on flood mapping will provide decision-makers and the public with the information they urgently need to plan, and respond to, flooding impacts made severe by climate change.

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Starting in 2015, the Government of Canada has invested more than $6.5 billion in adaptation, including $2 billion in commitments since fall 2022 to implement the National Adaptation Strategy and support other adaptation-related activities. When disaster relief is factored in, federal investments exceed $10 billion.

The Strategy is a practical framework for action from all orders of government to keep communities safe from climate risk. Through cooperation and collaboration, including continued efforts to reach net-zero emissions, Canadians and their communities can increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change. The National Adaptation Strategy helps governments and communities in Canada work more effectively together by setting collective priorities for urgent action. With equity and inclusion at its centre, the Strategy helps to ensure that collective actions do not leave anyone behind.

According to estimates, every dollar spent on adaptation measures saves up to $15, including both direct and indirect economy-wide benefits. Every dollar invested in adaptation generates significant benefits. Some examples of this return on investment include:

    • Implementing new flooding and wildfire guidelines and standards for new construction could save Canada an estimated $4.7 billion a year—saving nearly $12 per $1 invested.
    • Climate-resilient building codes implemented in Canada have an estimated benefit-cost ratio of 12:1, which is equivalent to a 1,100 percent return on investment.
    • Urban forests in the city of Toronto have been shown to generate $3.20 for every dollar invested by lowering cooling costs, improving air quality, and reducing strains on stormwater infrastructure.

Through the National Adaptation Strategy, the Government of Canada is helping asset owners and investors develop projects that contribute to Canada’s path to net-zero emissions. With an anticipated release in spring 2024, a new platform of climate toolkits will help owners and investors identify risks and better determine locally appropriate solutions that make communities more resilient to climate change.

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For further information, visit:

Custom Map MAPSVG—Canada in a Changing Climate

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