First Nation Adapt Program: Funding Guidelines 2021 to 2022

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

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The following text outlines the First Nation Adapt Program's project guidelines for 2021-2022. Please submit project proposals 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, program staff would be pleased to discuss the eligibility of your project, answer your questions about the application process or provide general guidance about other suitable programs.

Please contact us by email at:

Program overview

The First Nation Adapt Program supports community projects that build the capacity of First Nations south of the 60th parallel to address climate change impacts. We know that climate change is already affecting and will continue to affect communities across Canada, with significant implications for infrastructure, disaster mitigation and community well-being. First Nations 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 First Nations and the program. The central goal of the program is to improve resiliency to climate change by improving knowledge of the issues facing First Nations, in order to better plan for the future.

Program objectives

The First Nation Adapt Program aims to support:

The program focuses on key priority areas based on:

Proposals submitted to the program must:

The program focuses on the following key priority areas:

Available funding

First Nations experiencing climate change 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 First Nations experiencing repeated and severe climate impacts related to infrastructure and disaster mitigation.

Priority may also be given to communities not previously supported by the program.

The average yearly cost of funded projects is between $80,000 and $160,000, with costs varying based on the scope and nature of projects.

The program can support multiyear projects. If you anticipate that any of your project activities will continue for more than one year, please identify these activities in your project description, and break down your proposed budget by year.

Dedicated flood-mapping funding

Given the severity of climate change impacts related to flooding, additional funding is available through 2021-2022 to better understand the extent of potential flooding and plan adaptive measures.

The flood-mapping portion of the First Nation Adapt Program provides support for First Nations to:

  1. Develop flood maps in order to identify flood risks for local infrastructure
  2. Collect and share regional watershed data for gap areas
  3. Participate in regional watershed management processes
  4. Develop best practices, tools and adaptation options for flood management

Who can apply?

Project team and community involvement

Active First Nation participation is essential for successful climate change adaptation planning. Our program supports First Nations in leading project management and being directly involved in project activities. Projects displaying a strong level of First Nation support and capacity building are more likely to be funded. First Nations can work with external partners, such as academic institutions, nongovernmental organizations and professional service providers that could bring value to the project, and list them as partners in the project description.

Climate change adaptation process

The First Nation Adapt Program supports many different types of activities or studies depending on specific community needs.

Risk assessment

Generally, the first steps are to improve understanding of how climate change may be impacting community infrastructure, and do a risk assessment to identify precautionary activities communities can perform to reduce negative outcomes from emergency situations. A risk assessment is the most common type of study. It involves identifying and quantifying risks of climate-change-related impacts.

Adaptation planning

Subsequent to addressing climate change risks, adaptation planning involves prioritizing options and developing adaptation recommendations to reduce current or potential climate impacts.

Cost-benefit analysis

What can follow is a cost-benefit analysis of the various adaptation options under consideration. Each First Nation has unique needs. We can support First Nations and First Nations organizations that are just beginning to explore the impacts of climate change, as well as those looking at adaptation options to respond to a well understood need.


There is no deadline to apply. Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until all available funding is allocated.

If you apply once funding is no longer available, your application will be kept by the program and be considered once new funding becomes available.

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.

The First Nation Adapt Program provides funding to First Nation communities to assess and respond to climate change impacts on community infrastructure and disaster mitigation. The program does not fund the implementation of structural mitigation measures in First Nation communities. The First Nation Adapt Program works in collaboration with a number of other programs that provide funding for the modification or construction of infrastructure to adapt to climate change impacts. Participating First Nations are encouraged to begin discussions with programs that support the implementation of climate change adaptation measures as early as possible to ensure successful project delivery.

Project examples

These are some examples of activities that can be incorporated into a proposed project. This is not a complete list, and First Nations are encouraged to identify project activities that respond to their needs. Program staff are available to help you scope out project activities.

Project description guidelines

Ensure your project description contains the following content. For help determining the level of detail needed for your proposed project, email

  1. Title page
    Include your project title and the community or communities 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. Include how your community's public buildings, services, facilities and roads appear to be at risk to climate impacts such as flooding, wildfires, etc., and how this affects your community. Most importantly, specifically indicate what your project will accomplish in terms of improving the community's 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. Eligible project types include risk assessment, flood mapping, adaptation planning, and cost-benefit analysis. Projects need not include all project types.
  5. Climate impact priority area
    Clearly state how your project addresses climate change impacts on community infrastructure or disaster mitigation resulting from one or more of the following climate impact areas: inland flooding, drought, wildfires, sea level rise and shoreline erosion, winter road failures, or impacts on fisheries.
  6. Proposed methodology and outcome of the project
    Demonstrate how you will address the goals of the project by clearly outlining the steps to achieve the project's results. This is the most important section of the project proposal. Include a detailed description of all activities you plan to undertake. Also identify how the community will be involved in the project, and identify all project partners. If needed, the First Nation Adapt Program team can you development a methodology. Please email to discuss tools, best practices and potential partners available to you.
  7. First Nation agreement
    Demonstrate First Nation support for the project through a signed Band Council Resolution or other proof of support.
  8. Budget
    The First Nation Adapt Program requires you to fill out a budget template. Please email if you need help filling out the template.

How to apply

Please submit a project description for discussion, or a full proposal, to


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 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 comparison of 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 nonstructural adaptation options or maintaining the status quo.
Disaster mitigation Refers to precautionary activities that communities can take to reduce negative outcomes resulting from emergency situations. These activities can include, but are not limited to: performing community drainage assessments, mapping hazards, and updating emergency plans to incorporate climate change projections.
Drought A prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall in a given region, resulting in prolonged shortages in the water supply.
Infrastructure A physical structure needed for the operation of a community. Types of physical infrastructure include: community buildings (schools, community centres, band offices, etc.), bridges, roads, housing, sewage systems, waste water facilities, water treatment plants, or community-based natural resources (such as forests and fisheries).
Inland flooding Overflow of river channels, lake shorelines or dams. Flooding can also result from accumulation of surface water due to 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.
Shoreline erosion The process by which shorelines are degraded through the actions of currents and waves along lakes shores, river banks and coastal shorelines.
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 with combustible vegetation (forest or grassland) that occurs in the countryside or rural areas.
Winter roads Temporary transportation routes that are built over land on compacted snow, frozen ground or floating ice that facilitate the movement to and from communities without permanent roads.

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