The Government of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities today announced the Local Leadership for Climate Adaptation initiative. This $530M initiative will accelerate and scale local, equity-informed, climate adaptation action by supporting knowledge and skills development, and funding resilience planning and project implementation. This will enable local governments to build long-term resiliency to the impacts of climate change. 

LLCA is funded through the Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan and is a key component of the National Adaptation Strategy. LLCA is Canada’s second largest funding source helping municipalities adapt to the impacts of climate change. 

Dedicated to providing both funding and much-needed training, LLCA will equip 1,400 communities with the tools they need to build resilient, thriving communities. By focusing on supporting those in our communities most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, LLCA will help local governments adapt to the immediate impacts of climate change and improve their long-term resilience in ways that are equitable and inclusive. 

The initiative will be implemented in three phases that will fill gaps in existing federal programming. LLCA will ensure long-term climate resiliency by supporting:  

  • Adaptation in Action – Increased implementation of equitable climate adaptation action taken by Canadian municipalities.  
  • Climate-Ready Plans and Processes – Integration of equitable and inclusive climate resilience into municipal plans, processes and management systems, such as asset management systems (launching in Fall 2024) 
  • Financing Adaptation – Increase in new financing models utilized/leveraged by Canadian municipalities to finance climate adaptation capital projects. Launching Spring 2025 

LLCA will provide funding, training and resources that spans the capacity-plan implement spectrum, supporting municipalities at all stages of maturity from building skills and knowledge, creating plans, through to implementing projects. 

This will include: 

  • Funding for hazard, vulnerability and risk assessments, climate adaptation plans, staff costs and projects to integrate climate risk in infrastructure funding systems;  
  • Funding for adaptation projects involving either infrastructure, operations, or systems that prioritize nature-based solutions; 
  • Funding and concessional financing to de-risk new models that secure private sector financing to municipal adaptation projects; and, 
  • Opportunities to work with partner organizations and enable knowledge sharing which will ensure local governments can learn from each other and sector experts. 

About Adaptation in Action project implementation funding 

Adaptation in Action funding helps local governments address high priority climate-risks facing their communities. Local governments can access up to $1M in eligible project costs to support their adaptation projects and up to $70,000 to support their feasibility studies. It is now accepting applications from all communities that have completed climate adaptation plans and/or risk assessments. 

It was designed to empower local governments to implement equity-informed climate adaptation projects, and prioritizes projects that provide low-carbon and nature-positive community benefits. 

Implementation projects 

  • Project types can include the installation or modification of municipal infrastructure and spaces.  
  • Projects benefits can apply to risk reduction for infrastructure, municipal service, vulnerable communities, and natural environment. 
  • Applicants can receive 60% of eligible project costs, with enhanced considerations made for Indigenous communities, rural and remote communities, projects that meaningfully address anti-racism, equity, and Reconciliation, or emphasizes nature-positive adaptation. 
  • Adaptation in Action Implementation Projects with tree planting costs that exceed $50,000 will be eligible to receive funding from GMF’s Growing Canada’s Community Canopies (GCCC) initiative. 
  • Projects will need to be completed within three years of the project approval date. 
  • Project must focus on the potential to reduce risks of climate impacts on municipal services. 
  • To be considered, applicants must have completed climate adaptation plans and/or risk assessments. 

About Adaptation in Action feasibility study funding 

Feasibility study funding provides municipalities with up to $70,000 in funding to assess the viability and impact of their potential climate adaptation implementation projects. This critical path supports preliminary studies, from exploring natural infrastructure solutions to evaluating risk management strategies, setting the stage for successful climate adaptation project implementation. Tailored for communities that are at the planning feasibility study funding ensures that climate adaptation implementation projects are both impactful and achievable, ensuring long-term climate resiliency. 

  • A feasibility study provides essential insight into a project’s potential challenges, risks and opportunities, and enables informed decision-making. 
  • Applicants can receive funding up to 80%* of eligible costs, to a maximum of $70,000   
  • Projects being studied must be of the size and scope funded through Adaptation in Action Implementation Projects. 
  • Feasibility study funding is meant for those municipalities with completed climate adaptation plans and/or climate risk assessments. 
  • Funding is designed to enhance equitable climate adaptation action by Canadian local governments. 
  • Funding supports activities with the immediate potential to reduce the impacts associated with priority climate change risks facing a community. 
  • Eligible projects include studying infrastructure upgrades, flood defences, creation of green spaces, and shoreline rehabilitation aimed at enhancing local resilience against climate change impacts. 
  • Feasibility studies will need to be completed within three years of the project approval date. 

About LLCA Capacity Development Grants 

In support of GMF’s mandate to help municipalities acquire the skills they need to implement projects to adapt to the impacts of climate change, LLCA partner grants provide funding to organizations such as provincial and territorial municipal association, educational institutions, Indigenous organizations, and professional and industry associations. These funds can be used to support organizations developing training, events or tools to educate local governments on how to improve their understanding and practices to address climate impacts. The next call for partner grant applications will be in 2026. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What barriers will LLCA help municipalities overcome? 

Common barriers to climate adaptation by local governments include a lack of staff capacity and knowledge, and financing. LLCA supports skill development and tests innovative approaches to financing climate action by local governments. 

In Canada, local governments build and maintain 60 percent of the core public infrastructure that supports our economy and quality of life. Communities weigh budgetary needs against critical services such as roads, bridges, drinking water and wastewater systems. LLCA will assist local governments in safeguarding these assets and improve their long-term performance by supporting their assessments of climate risks, and integrating equity, Reconciliation and climate concerns into existing municipal systems and climate action plans. 

Current climate data and research indicate that climate risks and vulnerabilities far outweigh adaption plans, actions, policies and financing. LLCA will help local governments act to address climate impacts while also developing better. 

Local governments in Canada require approximately $5.3 billion in annual investment to maintain a static level of climate risk exposure. Traditionally, adaptation funding has been provided overwhelming from public sources. LLCA will work to diversify financing opportunities for local governments to keep Canadians safe from climate impacts. 

What is the cost benefit of proactively investing in climate adaptation? 

By proactively investing in climate change adaptation, communities can avoid significant future costs. Every dollar invested in adapting to climate change, and protecting Canadians against climate disasters, can save as much as $13-15 in future costs (according to the Canadian Climate Institute, 2022), while the incremental costs of making infrastructure climate-resilient can be as low as 3% of construction costs (according to the World Bank, 2019). 

LLCA will support local governments with proactive climate adaptation planning and actions that are informed by climate data and best practices (the projects are not reactions to, or disaster recovery triggered by climate events, like DFAA). 

With an estimated $5.3 billion in annual investment* needed to manage climate risks at the municipal level, the funding needs are too great for the public sector alone. For that reason, LLCA will work to crowd in private finance to bolster municipal resilient infrastructure projects. (*According to FCM and the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s 2020 report, Investing in Canada’s Infrastructure: The Cost of Adaptation at the Local Level) 

Who is eligible for this Adaptation in Action funding? 

Eligibility is open to Canadian municipal governments and municipal partners, which include municipally owned corporations; regional, provincial or territorial organizations delivering municipal services; non-governmental organizations; not-for-profit organizations; research institutes; and Indigenous communities. 

How long will LLCA funding be available? 

The initiative is a permanent expansion of GMF's mandate, with the first eight years focused on funding to accelerate learning and implementation of equitable climate action. A portion of the funds will be revolved and re-invested by GMF to fund climate adaptation projects in perpetuity as part of its core mandate. 

Adaptation in Action will release semi-annual calls for applications until approximately March 2029. Check our website for the timing of future calls for applications. 

How much funding do applicants have to contribute to a project (i.e. fund matching percentage)? 

Implementation projects will have a minimum project share of 60% contributed by GMF. GMF may increase its contribution up to 100% depending on the following applicant and project characteristics: 

  • +10% – Indigenous communities, local governments applying in partnership with an Indigenous community or projects that involve collaboration between two or more municipal governments 
  • +10% – Rural communities, remote communities, and/or municipalities with populations below 10,000 
  • +10% – Projects that meaningfully address anti-racism, equity and/or Reconciliation 
  • +10% – Projects that emphasize nature-positive adaptation, thereby not only helping adapt to climate change, but also enhancing biodiversity, ecosystem services and/or natural infrastructure. 

Increased cost shares associated with meaningfully addressing anti-racism, equity and/or Reconciliation, and emphasizing nature-positive adaptation will be assessed following project application. An applicant must be prepared to contribute this project share. 

Can LLCA applicants apply for complementary GCCC funding?  

Adaptation in Action Implementation Projects with tree planting costs that exceed $50,000 will be eligible to receive funding from GMF’s Growing Canada’s Community Canopies (GCCC) initiative. 

How does GMF know this program will meet the needs of local governments and equity deserving groups? 

LLCA has been designed in partnership with local governments. In addition to conducting a needs-assessment survey, GMF established several advisory tables to  inform the design of the program and ensure that it addresses the needs of the most vulnerable communities. These tables include sector experts supporting FCM’s understanding of Reconciliation, equity, and large and small communities.  

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