Canada in a changing climate: national issues report

Canada in a Changing Climate: National Issues Report

The “Canada in a Changing Climate: National Issues Report”, released on Monday, June 28th, 2021, provides a national perspective on how climate change is impacting our communities, environment, and economy, and how we are adapting. The report provides decision-makers with an assessment of current literature and knowledge on climate change impacts and adaptation, and includes case stories that feature examples of adaptation in practice. The chapters focus on themes of national importance and that benefit from an integrated cross-Canada perspective. Chapters discuss key vulnerabilities, risks and challenges; new and innovative approaches to adaptation; Indigenous knowledge and perspectives; and knowledge gaps and emerging issues. The report is a product of Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action, Canada’s national climate change assessment process.

In the report, you can also find a Map of Adaptation Actions across Canada (The Map). The Map provides a wide variety of concrete, local examples to support decision-makers, action enablers, and communities in an interactive and user-friendly fashion by increasing knowledge on and promoting the implementation of on-the-ground adaptation actions. You can find all this, and more on

The National Issues Report includes nine chapters. An overview of each chapter is outlined below (with direct links):

Chapter 1: Introduction
Provided here is a brief overview of the need for climate change adaptation in Canada and the work that has been to date. It further elaborates on the assessment process as well as the report’s scope and structure.

Chapter 2: Cities and Towns
The focus of this chapter is on the impacts of climate change to cities and towns. This chapter covers building and infrastructure resilience; the interconnections of human health and climate; reconciliation and Indigenous perspectives; mainstreaming climate adaptation; and, monitoring and evaluation techniques.

Chapter 3: Rural and Remote Communities
This chapter focuses on the impacts of climate change to rural and remote regions in Canada. This chapter covers distributional equity as it relates to climate change and rural and remote communities; diverse knowledge systems; innovative adaptation strategies in protecting traditional economies and improving at risk infrastructure; healthy communities; and local governance.

Chapter 4: Water Resources
This chapter focuses on the impacts of climate change on water quality and quantity issues. This chapter covers water issues including reducing vulnerabilities in water systems; partnerships; the importance of extreme events in leveraging public support on water issues; and innovative technologies helping to improve adaptive capacity.

Chapter 5: Ecosystem Services
This chapter focuses on the fundamental role that ecosystems play in sustaining human life and the climatic risks facing Canada’s ecosystems. This chapter covers ecosystem valuation techniques; changes in the provision of ecosystem services; differential impacts of climate change on ecosystems across Canada; the role of ecosystem-based adaptation strategies in providing co-benefits; Indigenous Knowledge and stewardship; and interdisciplinary approaches to climate adaptation.

Chapter 6: Costs and Benefits of Climate Impacts and Adaptation
This chapter focuses on measuring the economic costs and benefits of climate impacts. This chapter covers issues regarding the differential economic impacts of climate change on sectors across Canada; various economic tools used in environmental decision-making; costs and benefits of adaptation actions in Canada; and the role and limitations of government interventions in redressing barriers to climate action.

Chapter 7: Sector Impacts and Adaptation
In this chapter, the author focuses on presenting the various climate change-related impacts as they relate to individual economic sectors. Sectors that are covered in the report include Forestry, Agriculture, Fisheries, Energy, Mining, Transportation, Tourism, and Financial Services. The chapter concludes by noting that virtually all sectors of the Canadian economy will be impacted, directly or indirectly, by a changing climate.

Chapter 8: Climate Disclosure, Litigation and Finance 
This chapter focuses on the areas of climate-related disclosure and the role of litigation in address climate change. This chapter covers methodological and data gaps; use of litigation in compelling government action on climate change; increasing risks of climate litigation; and actions needed to transition to a climate-resilient low-carbon economy in Canada.

Chapter 9: International Dimensions
This chapter focuses on the changing dynamics of international and transboundary concerns and opportunities in the face of climate change. This chapter covers the potential opportunities and impacts related to shrinking sea ice in the Arctic; the role Canada can play in building greater adaptive capacity into transboundary agreements; impacts of climate change on Canada’s fisheries sector; impacts of climate change on international trade; and the impacts of increasing global climate migrants.