First Nation Adapt Program Funding Guidelines 2017-2018


The following text outlines the First Nation Adapt program's eligibility guidelines for 2017-2018. Please submit project descriptions directly to FN Adapt at the contact information below. For more information, please feel free to contact the program at

Program overview

First Nation Adapt program supports community projects that develop and build the capacity of First Nations on reserve to address climate change impacts on their communities.  We know that climate change is already having and will continue to have impacts on communities across Canada with significant implications for infrastructure and community well-being. First Nations communities are particularly vulnerable due to their location and close ties to the land. As such, the central goal of the program is to improve community resiliency to climate change.

Program objectives

First Nation Adapt is focusing efforts on four key priority areas due to the frequency and magnitude of these impacts on First Nation communities across Canada.

These priority areas include:

First Nation Adapt supports many different types of activities or studies depending on specific community requirements.  Generally the first step is to improve understanding of how climate change may be impacting community infrastructure or emergency management by conducting a vulnerability assessment. This assessment is the most common type of study and involves identifying and quantifying community vulnerabilities to climate change related impacts. Subsequent to learning about community vulnerability, the next step is adaptation planning to prioritize options and to develop adaptation recommendations in order to lessen current or potential climate impacts. What can follow is a cost-benefit analysis of various adaptation options which can provide information on the financial consequences of inaction in comparison to different adaptive measures.

In summary, all projects need to be community-driven, build capacity, and incorporate Traditional Knowledge in all its stages. Projects must also show a clear link to infrastructure or emergency management because of the profound impacts that failures of these systems have on community well-being.

Figure 1 – First Nation Adapt - Project Process
Text description of Figure 1

This figure describes the collaborative and cyclic process of climate change adaptation planning in First Nation communities. Four key stages represent the planning cycle:

Getting started

  • Obtain chief and council support (Band Council Resolution)
  • Set up community planning team
  • Evaluate climate change threats
  • Submit project description

Vulnerability assessment

  • Identify and quantify climate change impacts
  • Evaluate vulnerability
  • Evaluate adaptive capacity

Adaptation planning

  • Prioritize impacts (based on vulnerability)
  • Develop adaptation strategies and options

Cost benefit analysis

  • Recommendations of adaptation options based on their costs and benefits.

Available funding

Communities experiencing these impacts are encouraged to submit a project description for funding consideration as early as possible to take full advantage of funding opportunities. Priority will be given to communities experiencing repeated and severe climate impacts related to coastal impacts, flooding, forest fires and failures of winter roads. The amount of funding available for 2017-2018 is $3.0  million. There is no deadline to apply. Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until all available funding is allocated. The average yearly cost of a project is between $80,000-$160,000 depending on the scope and nature of the project. Multi-year projects will be supported where appropriate. If you anticipate your activities covering more than one year, please identify them in your project description with a proposed budget and work plan for all of the years.  

Who can apply?

Community involvement is essential for successful climate change adaptation planning in First Nation communities; therefore, the program requires a Band Council Resolution.  Communities can work with external partners, such as academic institutions and non-governmental organizations that communities have identified as bringing value to their project and list them as partners in the project description.

Project examples

These are some examples of activities that can be incorporated into a project.  This is not a complete list and communities are encouraged to identify project activities that respond to their needs.

Project description guidelines

Please ensure your project description (2-3 pages) contains the following content areas.

  1. Title page
    Include project title, community(s) involved in the project with contact information.
  2. Description of community concerns
    Describe your community's climate change concerns and issues. In your description, be sure to include how your community's public buildings, services, facilities, and roads appear to be at risk to climate impacts, e.g., flooding, forest fires, etc. and how this affects the community.  It is most important to specifically indicate what your project will accomplish in terms of improving community resiliency to climate impacts.
  3. Proponent eligibility
    Describe how you are eligible for funding (First Nation community, band or tribal council, Indigenous organization, etc.)
  4. Adaptation project type
    Outline what type of adaptation project is being undertaken. Valid project types include vulnerability assessment, adaptation planning and cost-benefit analysis.
  5. Climate impact priority area
    Clearly state how your project will address impacts to community infrastructure or emergency management from one or more of the following climate impact areas: inland flooding, forest fires, sea level rise and coastal flooding, or winter road failures.
  6. Proposed methodology and outcome of the project
    The methodology demonstrates how the proponent will address the goals of the project by outlining clear steps in achieving the project results.
  7. Community agreement
    The project description includes a signed Band Council Resolution.
  8. Budget and work plan
    First Nation Adapt will provide assistance by supplying the required costing form and work plan templates. For now, please describe in general terms your cost estimate.

How to apply

Please submit a project description to: First Nation Adapt will be pleased to support communities in developing their project descriptions and identifying potential partners.


Adaptive capacity:  The ability of a system [human or natural] to adjust to climate change (including climate variability and extremes) to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences.

Coastal erosion: The process by which coastlines are degraded through the actions of currents and waves. Projects that address coastal erosion should consider the changes in the physical landscape and how this impacts the community through impacts on infrastructure and/or emergency management.

Emergency management: The process through which communities reduce the impacts of extreme weather events and cope with emergency situations in all stages of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

Infrastructure: A physical structural element needed for the operation of a community. Such items include but are not limited to: community buildings (schools, community centers, band offices, etc.), bridges, roads, housing, sewage systems, waste water facilities, etc.

Forest fire: An uncontrolled fire in an area of combustible vegetation that occurs in the country side or rural areas. Projects that address forest fires should consider the impacts of climate change on community infrastructure and/or management.

Sea-Level rise: An increase of the ocean's water levels with respect to the land due to climate change. Projects that address sea-level rise should consider the impacts of climate change on community infrastructure and/or emergency management.

Vulnerability: The degree to which a system is unable to cope with the adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes.Projects should focus on identifying the hazards and risks of vulnerability to climate change and how it impacts the community.

Winter roads: Temporary transportation routes carved out of snow and ice that facilitate the movement to and from communities without permanent roads. Projects that address winter roads should focus on identifying the impacts of climate change on winter road infrastructure and how it affects community livelihood.

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