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Expert assessment recommends improvements to National Adaptation Strategy

The Canadian Climate Institute’s independent assessment recommends 11 ways to strengthen the National Adaptation Strategy.

OTTAWA, 15 December 2022 — Today, the Canadian Climate Institute released an independent assessment of the federal government’s first National Adaptation Strategy, recommending 11 ways to strengthen the Strategy to drive action on the biggest climate risks facing the country. 

While the Strategy and corresponding federal Action Plan represent a major step toward a more coordinated and effective nationwide response to the devastating effects of climate change, the Institute’s recommendations aim to ensure the Strategy is implemented effectively. 

Improving national coordination and investment in climate change resilience is essential at a time when more frequent and severe disasters fuelled by climate change are putting lives and livelihoods at risk, costing the economy billions, and driving up household expenses. According to the Institute’s recent research, failing to adapt to the ongoing impacts of climate change would slow Canada’s economic growth by $25 billion annually by 2025.

Toward a Safer and More Resilient Canada evaluates the National Adaptation Strategy based on four key elements outlined previously in the report, Closing Canada’s Adaptation Gap. The Institute’s assessment finds the federal Strategy takes important steps to build resilience by setting nationwide adaptation priorities for action, with long-term goals, medium-term objectives, and measurable near-and medium-term targets. The Institute also recommends substantive changes to make the Strategy more effective as it is finalized, including: 

  1. Identifying the top risks facing Canadians due to climate change, and clearly linking those to goals and objectives that will mitigate these risks.
  2. Identifying priority action areas in the Strategy to guide federal and other action plans.
  3. Using whole-of government tools to enhance coordination and apply adaptation considerations across the range of government decisions.
  4. Strengthening the monitoring and evaluation framework and aligning it more closely with the objectives and targets in the Strategy.  

To date, Canada’s approach to climate adaptation has been largely uncoordinated, leading to disjointed actions by different orders of government, the private sector, and civil society. Adopting a strengthened, coordinated National Adaptation Strategy would help align governments’ adaptation priorities and drive meaningful progress toward preventing and responding to the catastrophic effects of climate change in Canada, including floods and wildfires, hurricanes and heat domes, droughts and disappearing permafrost. 


“Climate impacts are getting worse by the day and we need a strong National Adaptation Strategy to protect Canadians. The current plan is a good start—specific improvements will position it for success.” 

—Ryan Ness, Adaptation Research Director, Canadian Climate Institute

“Until now, Canada’s approach to adaptation has left Canadians needlessly vulnerable to climate change. The new National Adaptation Strategy is a potential turning point—if strengthened and backed with the necessary investment, it can protect people and Canada’s economy from the worst of what’s to come.”

— Sarah Miller, Senior Research Associate, Canadian Climate Institute


“The National Adaptation Strategy points the way to protecting the health, safety, and prosperity of communities from coast to coast to coast. Ensuring the Strategy is as strong and effective as possible is the best possible gift for Canadians for 2023.”

—Rick Smith, President, Canadian Climate Institute

The Institute’s work on this topic


Catharine Tunnacliffe

Communications Director

Canadian Climate Institute

(226) 212-9883