Resources for Climate Adaptation

The Committee on Climate Adaptation suggests the resources listed below to help guide you through climate science and its application to landscape architecture.


Report: Water management trends in Canadian municipalities

We surveyed senior water managers from urban, suburban and rural settings across Canada about the emerging trends, primary issues and best practices for municipalities. One insight from their responses: municipalities from all over the country are identifying infrastructure vulnerabilities to climate change and see proactive asset management as a top priority.

From wastewater treatment to data collection the report provides an important snapshot of where the sector is and where it might be headed.

Read the report

How Thawing Permafrost Is Beginning to Transform the Arctic

The frozen layer of soil that has underlain the Arctic tundra for millennia is now starting to thaw. This thawing, which could release vast amounts of greenhouse gases, is already changing the Arctic landscape by causing landslides, draining lakes, and altering vegetation.

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Why protecting nature makes good business sense

Nature is essential to global economic prosperity and individual business success. We cannot have a sustainable future for people and economies if we do not address nature, climate and people in an integrated way. 

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A number of resources are also available by geographic region:

Atlantic Provinces - Québec - Ontario - Prairie Provinces - North - British Columbia

CSLA and Component Association Publications on Climate Change

The CSLA and component associations have developed a number of resources for members, such as a position paper, magazine issues devoted to climate, and the Adaptation Primer, introductory books that provide basic information on the most complex challenge facing decision-makers in this first half of the 21st century and containing an extensive bibliography on many subject areas related to mitigation and adaptation.  













Colleen Mercer Clarke Featured on CBC's The Current

Colleen Mercer Clarke, Chair of the CSLA's Committee on Climate Adaptation, was interviewed by CBC's The Current.

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Prairie Climate Centre Resources

Climate Atlas of Canada

It combines climate science, mapping and storytelling to bring the global issue of climate change closer to home for Canadians. It is designed to inspire local, regional, and national action that will let us move from risk to resilience. 

Link to the Climate Atlas of Canada...

Climate Atlas Guidebook

A guidebook for landscape architects and planners was also developed by the climate atlas team.

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American Society of Landscape Architects Resources

Resilient Solutions for Every Community

The ASLA advocates for legislation that has an impact on climate, and provides examples of projects that can mitigate climate change.

In addition, the recently published Blue Ribbon Panel on Climate Change and Resilience offers communities strategies for adapting to global climate change and its impacts on human health and the environment.

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Government of Canada Resources

Canadian Climate Data and Scenarios

The Canadian Climate Data and Scenarios (CCDS) site is an interface for distributing climate change information. The site includes links to:

  • historical climate observations and adjusted / homogenized climate datasets,
  • the climate trends and variations bulletin, and statistically downscaled climate scenarios, predictors, including information on downscaling tools,
  • climate scenarios, and access derived datasets of climate extreme indices, and
  • ocean wave heights, and national and global probabilistic seasonal forecasts

Learn more...

The Government of Canada is pleased to announce the launch of The primary goal of this site is to increase access to climate data and information to help users better understand and adapt to our changing climate. is part of a continuum of climate data portals which aim to fill the needs of several types of climate data users. You can learn more about this continuum at the Canadian Centre for Climate Services website.

We encourage you to explore the data and features now available on including:

  • Historical and projected climate data at the daily level available to view and download at a resolution of about 10 x 10 Km
  • Over 25 different indicators for temperature and precipitation across Canada including extremes
  • Updated historical Intensity-Duration-Frequency (IDF) Curves
  • and a Health Sector Module, the first of a series, which will include data, information and cases studies relevant for specific sectors

The portal was developed through a collaboration between the Canadian Centre for Climate Services at Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Computer Research Institute of Montréal, Ouranos, the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, the Prairie Climate Centre, and HabitatSeven.

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Natural Resources Canada Resources

Equipping Canadians to adapt to climate change, this site includes data, maps and federal programs.

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The Adaptation to Climate Change program facilitates the development and exchange of information, knowledge, and tools needed to plan and implement practical adaptation measures that increase the climate resilience of Canadian communities and industry.

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In addition, the following report is useful when working with municipalities: Adapting to Climate Change : An Introduction for Canadian Municipalities.

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Measuring Progress on Adaptation and Climate Resilience: Recommendations to the Government of Canada

Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Results, Environment and Climate Change Canada

Download the report...

climate-lens-general-guidance-2018-05-28.jpgThe Government of Canada Climate Lens: helping plan and build greener, more sustainable infrastructure for Canadians

As part of the Investing in Canada plan, applicants seeking federal funding for new major public infrastructure projects will now be asked to undertake an assessment of how their projects will contribute to or reduce carbon pollution, and to consider climate change risks in the location, design, and planned operation of a project.

Read the report...

Perspectives on Climate Change Action in Canada—A Collaborative Report from Auditors General — March 2018

Message from the Auditors General

Climate change has been identified as one of the defining challenges of our time. The impacts of a warming climate and extreme weather events are already being felt in Canada and are forecast to become more severe and more frequent. For example, an increase in the frequency and severity of wildfires and floods is expected. Beyond environmental and physical impacts, climate change is also expected to have significant economic and social impacts. At the same time, Canada has missed two separate emission reduction targets (the 1992 Rio target and the 2005 Kyoto target) and is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well. In fact, emissions in 2020 are expected to be nearly 20 percent above the target. Given the importance of this issue and its relevance to all provinces and territories, Canada’s auditors general agreed to work together to collaboratively examine government responses to climate change. This report is made possible by the substantial work of legislative audit offices across Canada and is the first time that nearly all legislative audit offices in Canada have coordinated their work in this way.

Canada’s auditors general found that most governments in Canada were not on track to meet their commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and were not ready for the impacts of a changing climate. On the basis of current federal, provincial, and territorial policies and actions, Canada is not expected to meet its 2020 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Meeting Canada’s 2030 target will require substantial effort and actions beyond those currently planned or in place. Most Canadian governments have not assessed and, therefore, do not fully understand what risks they face and what actions they should take to adapt to a changing climate. Learn more...

Simon Fraser University's Adaptation to Climate Change Team

Professionals’ Best Practices for Low Carbon Resilience: Phase 1

In the spring of 2018, ACT (the Adaptation to Climate Change Team) at SFU hosted a series of three meetings with professionals and professional associations (provincial and national) to engage participants in discussion about the role of professionals and associations in championing and advancing Low Carbon Resilience (LCR) approaches.

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Low Carbon Resilience: Best Practices for Professionals – Final Report

ACT is excited to announce the release of the final report and deliverables for our year-long project exploring low carbon resilience (LCR) best practices for professionals.

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Related Association's Policies and Resources on Climate Change

Canadian Institute of Planners

Policy for Climate Change Planning: The newly launched Climate Change Policy defines the role that planning has in meeting the complex challenges of climate change, and calls planners to action to create communities that are resilient and contribute to climate stability. Read CIP’s full policy on addressing increasingly complex Climate Change issues (context, goals, objectives, and the roles of planners and CIP)

Engineers Canada

Engineers Canada works in partnership with all levels of government, other professions and industry to:

  • research climate change issues
  • understand the impacts of climate change on engineering practice
  • understand the impacts of climate change for engineers
  • propose adjustments to practice with regard to climate change
  • share this knowledge with practising engineers

In addition Engineers Canada developed a risk management approach in partnership with Natural Resources Canada.

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Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA)

In 2016, the CELA gave a CLASS Fund Award to the following website, that provides information about climate change for landscape architects, gardeners, and designers. The foundation for this site is a 2016 survey of landscape architects in Florida where information was gathered about climate change perceptions, information needs, and potential adaptation strategies related to different aspects of design and planning. 

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International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives; Local Governments for Sustainability

Guide and Workbook for Municipalities

ICLEI has published Changing Climate, Changing Communities: Guide and Workbook for Municipal Climate Adaptation, by authors: Ewa Jackson, Leya Barry,Nicole Marzok. Learn more...

Adaptation Library

The Adaptation Library is a publicly accessible and searchable collection of community, forestry, and energy related adaptation products. The goal of the Library is to connect community and industry users with relevant information related to climate change adaptation in Canada and abroad. Learn more...

Resources Developed by Canadian Universities

Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium

The Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) is a regional climate service centre at the University of Victoria that provides practical information on the physical impacts of climate variability and change in the Pacific and Yukon Region of Canada. They collaborate with climate researchers and regional stakeholders to produce knowledge and tools in support of long-term planning.

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Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo, with funding support from Intact Financial Corp

The Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation (Intact Centre) is an applied research centre with a national focus within the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo. The Intact Centre works with homeowners, communities, governments and businesses to identify, and reduce, the impacts of extreme weather and climate change.

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Adaptation to Climate Change Team, Simon Fraser University, Faculty of Environment, Pacific Water Research Centre  

ACT brings leading experts from around the world together with industry, community, and government decision-makers to explore the risks posed by top-of-mind climate change issues and identify opportunities for sustainable adaptation. They are:

  • The only university-based think tank initiative in North America dedicated to climate change adaptation
  •  Involved in adaptation in Canada and internationally through academic, corporate and community events, networks and affiliations
  • A publisher of research reports identifying policy opportunities and resources designed to bridge from theory to action in support of sustainable adaptation
  •  A clearing house for Canadian and international adaptation and climate change information
  • A way to get involved

ACT studies nine top-of-mind climate change areas (Biodiversity, Extreme Weather, Energy, Water Security, Crops & Food Supply, Sea Level Rise, Health Risks, Population Displacement, and New Technologies) and considers ways to protect environmental, economic and social well being throughout its five-year program.

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities 

Partners for Climate Protection: FCM’s focus has been on working with municipalities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through its Partners for Climate Protection program. 

Regional Climate Advisors: environmental experts from across Canada offering one-on-one advice, training and knowledge-sharing activities tailored specifically to provide members of the FCM-ICLEI Partners for Climate Protection program (PCP) with local expertise, resources and support to help municipalities reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program: More recently FCM is focusing on climate adaptation and has launched the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program (MCIP) is a five-year, $75-million program that helps municipalities prepare for, and adapt to, climate change, and to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and funded by the Government of Canada, MCIP is available to all municipalities and their partners.

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Climate Adaptation Partner Grants: FCM has provided grants to 12 organizations that will help participating communities of all sizes — from all regions of Canada — adapt to effects of climate change. The funding, known as climate adaptation partner grants, will enable the partner organizations to provide training and guidance on how to adapt to climate change to more than 70 municipalities across Canada. The grants, totaling $2.4 million, are delivered through FCM's Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program and funded by the Government of Canada.

Adaptation Resources: The FCM website includes information about “Adaptation Resources”, including 

-    Local Governments and Adaptation 
-    Local Government Adaptation Strategies 
-    Adaptation Planning Guides 
-    Risk Management and Assessment 
-    Climate Scenarios and Projections 
-    Case Studies 

Learn more...

New report shows urgent need for climate adaptation investment

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) released, on September 26, striking new data demonstrating the urgent need for new investments in local climate adaptation and the areas where that investment is needed most.  

According to the report's findings, avoiding the worst impacts of climate change at the municipal level will cost an estimated $5.3 billion per year shared amongst all three orders of government. 

Those investments are critical to helping local communities adapt to the changing climate, and to reduce risk from extreme weather.

The report also found that Canada's eastern and northern regions are most in need of adaptation investments with flooding, erosion and melting permafrost posing the greatest risk. Among infrastructure priorities, local buildings, dikes and roads require the most urgent upgrades. 

Learn more...

Other Recommended Resources

Landscape Architects Rise to the Climate Crisis

A month of the largest collective climate activist events in history culminates with the launch of the Climate Positive Design Challenge that enables the global landscape architecture profession to take climate action. The Challenge establishes targets for reducing emissions and sequestering carbon in the built environment, with a goal of going ‘beyond neutral’ – sequestering more carbon than emitted and providing a positive contribution towards reversing global warming. The Challenge targets can be met using the web-based app called the Pathfinder, which guides designers on a path towards making their projects Climate Positive.

To take the Challenge, go to 

A Toolkit on Climate Change for Northern Communities

The NWT Association of Communities presents its climate toolkit, which includes the Guide to Climate Change in Your Community. Learn more...

Investor interviews on climate disclosure and decision-making: Key findings

Investors recognize that a transition to a low-carbon economy is happening, bringing significant investment opportunities and risks. Are you prepared to respond with the information they need?

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Canada's Changing Climate Report

This report is about how and why Canada’s climate has changed and what changes are projected for the future. Led by Environment and Climate Change Canada, it is the first report to be released as part of Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action.

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Environmental lawyer Margaret Peleso discusses the legal implications of sea level rise, useful to landscape architects

Changing Climate - Changing Standard of Care

by XL Insurance. Learn more here...

Climate Risk Assessment for Ecosystem-based Adaptation

A guidebook for planners and practitioners

Published by:
Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Climate change as a catalyst for implementing adaptive management by the Northern Hardwoods Research Institute (November 2019)



According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, under the more likely business as usual scenario, where humanity continues to emit greenhouse gases at the current rate, we can expect one degree of increase in average annual temperature per decade. By the end of this century we could be experiencing a climate like that of Virginia today. Great news! We can contact the tree nurseries down there, order black cherry, black walnut and loblolly pine and we are all set right? Absolutely not; at least not just yet; the next late spring frost would likely kill the new recruits!

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