First Nation Adapt Program: Funding Guidelines 2018-2019

The First Nation Adapt funding guidelines are also available in Plains Cree, Denesuline and Ojibwa. To request a copy, please contact


The following text outlines the First Nation Adapt program's project guidelines for 2018-2019. Please submit project descriptions directly to First Nation Adapt at the contact information below.

Want to discuss a project idea?
If you have a project idea but are not sure where to begin, the program staff would be pleased to discuss the eligibility of your group and project, to answer your questions about the application process or to provide general guidance. Please contact us by email at:

Program overview

The First Nation Adapt program supports community projects that 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, emergency management, and community well-being. First Nation communities are particularly at risk due to their location, aging infrastructure, and close ties to the land. In particular, flooding has been identified as a key priority by communities and the program. The central goal of the program is to improve community resiliency to climate change by improving knowledge of the issues facing communities so that they can better plan for the future.

Program objectives

First Nation Adapt aims to support the gathering of Indigenous knowledge, community involvement in planning processes and building capacity within communities to conduct work and monitor the changing climate. The program focuses on key priority areas due to the current and future changing climate impacts on First Nation infrastructure and emergency management.

These priority areas include:

New floodplain mapping funding

Given the severity of impacts related to flooding, additional community funding is available through 2021-2022 to better understand the extent of potential flooding and plan adaptive measures. The floodplain mapping portion of the program provides support for communities to:

Climate change adaptation process

First Nation Adapt supports many different types of activities or studies depending on specific community needs. Generally, the first step is to improve understanding of how climate change may be impacting community infrastructure or emergency management by conducting a risk assessment. This assessment is the most common type of study and involves identifying and quantifying community risk to climate change related impacts. Subsequent to addressing community risk, adaptation planning can be undertaken to prioritize options and to develop adaptation recommendations in order to reduce current or potential climate impacts. What can follow is a cost-benefit analysis of the various adaptation options under consideration. Each community has unique needs. We can support those communities that are just beginning to explore the impacts of climate change as well as those communities looking at adaptation options to respond to a well understood need.

Figure 1: First Nation Adapt – Project Process

Description of Figure 1: First Nation Adapt – Project Process

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 community support (for example, a Band Council Resolution)
  • Set up community planning team
  • Submit project description

Risk assessment

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

Adaptation planning

  • Prioritize impacts (based on risk)
  • 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 erosion and sea level rise, flooding and drought, wildfires, winter road failure and impacts on fisheries. The total amount of funding available for new projects in 2018-2019 is $6.0 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 $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 workplan for all of the years.

Who can apply?

Community participation is essential for successful climate change adaptation planning. Communities benefit from leading the research agenda and priorities, as well as project design and implementation because this helps to build the community's capacity to respond to climate change impacts. Therefore, projects displaying a strong level of support and capacity building are more likely to be funded. Communities can work with external partners, such as academic institutions, non-governmental organizations and professional service providers 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 (3-5 pages) contains the following content areas.

  1. Title page
    Include project title, community(s) involved in the project with contact information (name, email address, telephone number).
  2. Description of community concerns
    Tell the story of 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, wildfires, 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 risk assessment, floodplain mapping, adaptation planning, and cost-benefit analysis. Projects need not include all project types.
  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, drought, wildfires, sea level rise and coastal erosion, winter road failures, or impacts on fisheries.
  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. This is the most important section of the project proposal, be sure to include a detailed description of all the activities that you are planning to undertake. This section should identify how the community will be involved in the project and who will be working on it. Many projects include the hiring of a climate change coordinator to lead the work. The First Nation Adapt team can provide assistance on the development of a methodology if needed. Please contact us to discuss tools, best practices, and potential partners.
  7. Community agreement
    Community support for the project must be demonstrated, through a signed Band Council Resolution or other proof of community support.
  8. Budget and work plan
    First Nation Adapt will provide assistance by supplying the required budget template.

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.


Term Definition
Adaptation planning Projects that identify and prioritize a number of possible adaptation measures that a community can consider implementing to reduce climate related risks.
Coastal erosion The process by which coastlines are degraded through the actions of currents and waves.
Coastal flooding Seawater inundation on coastal land where sea height exceeds the maximum high tide or breaches flood protection works. This can be due to storm surge, sea level rise or tsunamis and can be exacerbated by local river flooding and heavy rainfall.
Cost-benefit analysis A comparisonof the costs of the adaptation options under consideration as compared to inaction. For example a cost-benefit analysis can allow for the comparison between structural and non-structural adaptation options or maintaining the status quo.
Drought A prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall in a given region, resulting in prolonged shortages in the water supply.
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 structure needed for the operation of a community. Types of community physical infrastructure include: community buildings (schools, community centers, band offices, etc.), bridges, roads, housing, sewage systems, waste water facilities, water treatment plants, or community-based natural resources (e.g., forests and fisheries).
Inland Flooding Overflow of river channels, lake shorelines or dams. Flooding can also result from accumulation of surface water due to a heavy precipitation, snow melt in spring, and ice jams.
Sea-level rise An increase of the ocean's water levels with respect to the land due to climate change.
Risk assessment Projects that identify the hazards and risks of climate change to community infrastructure and emergency management.
Wildfire An uncontrolled fire in an area of combustible vegetation (forest or grassland) that occurs in the country side or rural areas.
Winter roads Temporary transportation routes that are built over land on compacted snow, frozen ground, or on floating ice that facilitate the movement to and from communities without permanent roads.
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