Atlantic Canada Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

Created: 12/22/2010 - Updated: 3/02/2020


The Atlantic Governments from the Council of Atlantic Environment Ministers joined together in May 2008 to collaborate on a regional climate change adaptation strategy. The strategy outlines a framework for future collaboration on climate change adaptation management plans and decision-making.


In the past decade, the Atlantic region has been severely impacted by extreme weather events, including several coastal storm surge flooding events, Hurricane Juan in 2003, and White Juan, an extreme snow storm, in 2004. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) released From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate in 2008, outlining many impacts the region was already experiencing including sea level rise, storm surge events, flooding, higher temperatures, and infrastructure damage. In May 2008, the New Brunswick Department of the Environment and NRCan co-hosted a climate change adaptation workshop aimed at creating a regional adaptation strategy for Atlantic Canada. The workshop focused on three priorities for the Atlantic region: coastal areas, inland waters, and infrastructure.

The strategy outlined three key goals for Atlantic provincial governments:

  1. enhancing resilience and adaptive capacity of the region;
  2. integrating adaptation into existing and new management plans; and
  3. creating a framework for regional collaboration.


The Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for Atlantic Canada outlines action areas, methods to measure progress and accountability, and a governance structure. The strategy identifies the need to conduct a regional vulnerability assessment, improve climate monitoring to track identified risks, and incorporate future conditions into planning and management. The strategy was adopted by the provincial governments for a five-year period with required annual progress reports to the Council.

The regional collaboration goal outlined in the strategy also served to establish a framework and outline for the group’s proposal to NRCan’s Regional Adaptation Collaborative (RAC) Program, a three-year grant initiative intended to support regional climate change adaptation decision-making. The Atlantic Climate Adaptation Solutions Project is working on planning for floods in coastal areas, protecting groundwater resources, and enhancing practitioner capacity.

Outcomes and Conclusions

The Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for Atlantic Canada was approved in 2008. The Atlantic Provincial governments received $8.2 million in funding from NRCan  in April 2010 to support regional collaboration.


Information collected from online resources. Updated 2/2012


Hitt, J. (2010). Atlantic Canada Climate Change Adaptation Strategy [Case study on a project of the New Brunswick Department of Environment, Prince Edward Island Department of Environment, Energy and Forestry, Nova Scotia Environment, and Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE:… (Last updated February 2012)

Project Contact(s)

Within the Department of Environment, Energy and Forestry, a committed staff works for the preservation of Prince Edward Island’s natural capital, the cultivation of Island-based energy resources and the promotion of sustainable development in our home province.

Nova Scotia Environment focuses on climate change, protecting our environment and advancing our ambitious environmental goals.

The Department of Environment and Conservation is responsible for the protection and enhancement of the environment, management of the province’s wildlife, inland fish, water, parks, and Crown land resources. The Department is also leading Government’s response to climate change and the Sustainable Development initiatives.


Scale of Project
Regional / Subnational
Sector Addressed
Conservation / Restoration
Disaster Risk Management
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods
Transportation / Infrastructure
Water Resources
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Air temperature
Fishery harvest
Flow patterns
Habitat extent
Infrastructure damage
Salinization / Saltwater intrusion
Sea level rise
Storms or extreme weather events
Water quality
Water temperature
Climate Type
5-10 years
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Incorporate future conditions into natural resources planning and policies
Capacity Building
Design or reform institutions
Create new institutions
Coordinate planning and management
Host adaptation training or planning workshop
Monitor climate change impacts and adaptation efficacy
Governance and Policy
Develop / implement adaptation plans
Sociopolitical Setting
Effort Stage

Related Resources