With distinctive geographical perspectives and population needs, municipalities across Canada each have their own unique climate challenges to confront and solutions to employ. A proactive climate adaptation strategy can help your community become more resilient to the impacts of climate change while protecting both your residents and local economy from service interruptions. If your community is curious about how to reduce your vulnerability to climate impacts, these building blocks can help.

By moving through each of the levels identified and completing the associated activities, you will build your understanding of your community’s climate context and develop a comprehensive adaptation strategy. The building blocks of municipal climate resilience focus on:

Five blocks stacked on top of one another. The bottom row is three blocks, from left to right, colored light green, blue, and dark green. The top row is two blocks, from left to right, colored light grey and maroon. Each block has an icon and text extending from it. The icons and text in the bottom row, from left to right are: a bullhorn with a leaf growing out of it, awareness, four silhouettes grouped in a circle, collaboration and community engagement, three silhouettes holding hands in the centre, building partnerships with stakeholders. The icons and text in the top row, from left to right are: an arrow hitting the centre of a bullseye, data and decision-making, and a checklist with three checkmarks on it, incorporating resilience planning into municipal decision making.

We invite you complete the following levels to build a strong foundation for your community.

Level one: Develop local climate awareness

A bullhorn with a leaf growing out of it.


Time investment: 40 minutes to read and complete the checklist


Thick diagonal bands of red, green, and white make up the background. Sitting the foreground is the text Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program: Climate adaptation maturity scale. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities  logo sits in the top right corner.Understanding your community’s context in the face of climate change is the first step in addressing and adapting to vulnerabilities. To assess your municipality’s current practices and develop a plan to move forward, complete FCM’s Climate Adaptation Maturity Scale self assessment.

You’ll learn and accomplish:

  • Areas of your municipality that should integrate climate change considerations and planning into their business practices
  • Examples of how to incorporate climate adaptation into existing municipal policy, staffing, and risk mitigation strategies and operations
  • Activities to help your municipality move from conceptualizing your climate goals through to implementing and operationalizing

Level two: Talk to your community about the impacts of climate

Four silhouettes grouped in a circle.


Time investment: 20 minutes reading and 8 more hours to prepare and present


Two women wearing business suits having a discussing in an office.Talking it through: A Discussion Guide for Local Government Staff on Climate Adaptation is a resource designed to help municipal staff start the conversation with decision-makers and elected officials about adapting to the local impacts of climate change.

You’ll discover:

  • A set of questions designed to help you assess your community’s climate adaptation context
  • How to identify and communicate with your most important climate action allies
  • Exercises to help you to plan your climate conversations
  • How to navigate climate discussions effectively

Level three: Build partnerships with stakeholders

Three silhouettes holding hands in the centre.


Time investment: 25 minutes reading per document


White waves breaking on a rocky shore.Partnerships and collaboration are essential to building long-term community resiliency. By partnering with neighbouring communities and stakeholders, you can exchange data and information, engage in mutually beneficial activities and share lessons learned, and strengthen your adaptation policies. Read the following two case studies, the Adaptation Changemakers project, and the Municipalities and Utilities Partnering for Community Resilience Initiative.

You’ll discover:

  • The benefits of collaboration on climate issues
  • The importance of adaptation planning specific to your municipality’s needs
  • Adaptation resources to help you develop and implement your own climate resiliency initiatives
  • Insights into common strengths and vulnerabilities of specific climate hazards

Level four: Make data-driven decisions

An arrow hitting the centre of a bullseye.


Time investment: approximately 45 minutes reading

A case study header showcasing a coastal city at sunset. Below is the text: Case study series: Using climate data to drive adaptation


Reliable climate data is key to protecting your community’s infrastructure from the impacts of climate change. Read our Case study series: Using climate data to drive adaptation to learn how other municipalities are assessing vulnerability, accessing data and integrating it into planning.


  • How to use climate data to identify risks and develop adaptation strategies
  • Ways to access and track local data for the benefit of your entire municipality
  • Essential climate data portals local governments can access to find local climate projections
  • Resources relating to identifying climate vulnerabilities in your community

Level five: Establish climate resilience as a key part of asset management planning

Get inspired

A checklist with three checkmarks on it.


Time investment: approximately 16 minutes for all three videos


Making climate adaptation an integral aspect of asset management can be a challenge, but its also one of the most important things you can do to manage risk and maintain the services your community relies on. Watch our Climate resilience and asset management video series to learn how municipalities and practitioners across Canada are making climate adaptation a key part of their municipal asset management practices and decision-making.

 Text reading: Municipalities Program for Climate Innovation: Understanding Climate Impacts on Service Delivery” sits against a soft background of green leaves. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities logo is located in the upper left corner

Start incorporating climate into your municipal planning

Time investment: 1.5 hours (to read the entire guide). Exercises may require additional time to complete.

Interested in learning more about how to make adaptation a key part of your asset management strategy? Consult our Guide for integration climate change considerations into municipal asset management for a road map on how to start, who to talk to and how to make progress.

You’ll discover:

  • The importance of making climate adaptation a key part of your community’s asset management strategy
  • What leadership on asset management looks like in municipalities across Canada
  • How municipal staff can enhance community resilience by focusing on service delivery
  • Definitions of key terms related to risk, climate and levels of service
What comes next?
Interested in learning more about climate adaptation? Check out these resources.
Landscape with exposed sand and silt
Learning journey: Climate resilience and asset management

Discover how your community can combine its climate action and asset management approaches, with our learning journey. Discover how your community can combine its climate action and asset management approaches, with our learning journey.

Median strip filled with shrubs, stones and drainage stretches into the distance on busy road.
Mississauga road low-impact development stormwater pilot project

Learn how the Region of Peel’s Mississauga road project expanded a network of drainage systems in order to adapt to increased precipitation and flooding.

Government of Canada logo

This resource was developed by the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program (2017-2022). This program was delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and funded by the Government of Canada.

For more information on climate action funding, resources and training, please visit FCM’s Green Municipal Fund. For more information on asset management and climate resilience grants, training and resources please visit FCM’s Municipal Asset Management Program.

© 2024 Federation of Canadian Municipalities