Canada’s Regional Collaboration on Climate Change
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 worked with federal, provincial, local, and community partners from 2010-2012 to identify climate-related issues and develop place-specific solutions to mitigate adverse impacts in the future. Lessons learned from the RACs were used to inform the Adaptation Platform and the Building Regional Adaptation Capacity and Expertise (BRACE) program.
The RAC Program’s goal was to promote climate change adaptation planning in Canadian communities through six regional initiatives in 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 was 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 promoted local projects to help decision-makers integrate adaptation measures into regional planning, policies, and programs. Results and lessons learned from these projects were then shared with other RACs.
The RACs’ targeted goals were a direct response to a 2007 NRCan research report, From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate. Each RAC had different focus areas based upon predicted impacts and local concerns, such as:
- British Columbia RAC (Preparing for Climate Change: Securing British Columbia’s Water Future): water allocation and use, forest and fisheries management, flood protection, community adaptation
- Prairies RAC: water supply and demand, drought and flood planning, forest and grassland ecosystems
- Ontario RAC: extreme weather risk management, water management, community adaptation
- Quebec RAC: built environment, water management, forestry, agriculture, tourism and recreation
- Atlantic RAC (Atlantic Climate Adaptation Solutions Project): community planning for flood and coastal areas, groundwater protection, capacity enhancement
Outcomes and Conclusions
The RAC Program ended in December 2012 and an assessment of the program was released in 2015. Each RAC produced decision-making tools, knowledge, and enhanced networks capable of helping local communities and regions adapt to climate change. In 2017, Natural Resources Canada launched the Building Regional Adaptation Capacity and Expertise (BRACE) program, which also emphasizes regional collaboration and knowledge exchange to help communities, organizations, and small- to medium-sized enterprises apply knowledge and tools on climate change adaptation into their work. Each of the 18 programs currently funded under the BRACE program are delivered by organizations that have the local expertise necessary to connect with and engage target audiences. Some of the skill-building activities include specialized trainings and internships. The five-year program is an $18 million initiative under the Adaptation and Climate Resilience pillar of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change and will be complete in 2022.
Feifel, K. M. (2020). Canada’s Regional Adaptation Collaboration on Climate Change [Case study on a project of Natural Resources Canada]. Version 2.0. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE: https://www.cakex.org/case-studies/canada%E2%80%99s-regional-collaboration-climate-change (Last updated April 2020)