Canada’s Regional Adaptation Collaboratives Climate Change Program

Created: 2/19/2013 - Updated: 2/13/2018


The Regional Adaptation Collaboratives (RAC) Climate Change Program was designed to help Canadian communities prepare for and adapt to the regional impacts of climate change. The six RACs work with federal, provincial, local, and community partners to identify climate-related issues and develop place-specific solutions to mitigate adverse impacts in the future. The RAC Program and associated projects are scheduled to conclude in December 2012.


The RAC Program’s goal is to promote climate change adaptation planning in Canadian communities; there are six regional initiatives – British Columbia, Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic, and Northern. Created by the Government of Canada and managed by Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Division, the program received an initial commitment of $30 million over three years to support regional efforts to develop tools that local decision-makers could use to inform and reduce their risks to climate change. It is supported by the participation of over 125 partners in federal, provincial, and local governments, industries, Aboriginal cultures, and non-governmental organizations.    


The design of the RAC centers was developed out of a recognition of the need to take a regional approach to adaptation; activities at a broader scale are often difficult to initiate as climate change impacts will be felt differentially based upon locale. Further, there exists a place-specific knowledge base among regional academics, government agencies, and local communities. The RACs promote local projects that help decision-makers integrate adaptation measures into regional planning, policies, and programs. Results and lessons learned from these projects are then shared with other RACs. 

The RACs’ targeted goals are a direct response to a 2007 NRCan research report, From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate. Each RAC has different focus areas based upon predicted impacts and local concerns. They are as follows:

Outcomes and Conclusions

The RACs have produced new decision-making tools, knowledge, and enhanced networks capable of helping local communities and regions adapt to climate change. Outcomes vary by RAC because the impacts of climate change will be different, requiring place-specific initiatives and strategies. The RAC Program ended in December 2012. NRCan is initiating a new program that will build on the efforts of the RACs called the Adaptation Platform (2011-16).


Information gathered through online resources and communication with project contact.


Feifel, K. M. (2012). Canada’s Regional Adaptation Collaboratives Climate Change Program [Case study on a project of Natural Resources Canada]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE: (Last updated February 2013)


Understanding what climate change means for Canada requires addressing potential impacts and how we, as a country, can best adapt. Adaptation is a critical response to climate change and is complementary to mitigation (which aims to reduce the rate and magnitude of climate change). Adaptation will reduce our vulnerability to climate change and allow us to take advantage of potential opportunities.

Since 1998, Natural Resources Canada’s Climate Change Impacts & Adaptation Division has funded more than 300 impacts and adaptation research projects.


Scale of Project: 
Regional / Subnational
Sector Addressed: 
Development (socioeconomic)
Education / Outreach
Land Use Planning
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods
Tourism / Recreation
Transportation / Infrastructure
Water Resources
Climate Type: 
3-5 years
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Capacity Building
Design or reform institutions
Conduct / Gather additional research, data, and products
Effort Stage: