Program information

Understanding and adapting to climate change

Budget 2016 announced $129.5 million over five years to multiple departments for adapting to climate change impacts. This funding includes $5.6 million over two years to Fisheries and Oceans Canada for the continuation of the Aquatic Climate Change Adaptation Services Program (ACCASP) in 2016 and 2017. Under this program, DFO is monitoring and studying the effects that changing ocean conditions is having on Canada’s fisheries, aquatic ecosystems, and coastlines. The Department is also looking at the impacts of sea-level rise and more frequent storms and storm surges on coasts and ocean infrastructure, such as wharfs and dams.

Climate Change Risks Impacted DFO Sectors
Sea-level rise and storm surges can impact safety & infrastructure Coast Guard, Small Craft Harbours, Oceans Management
Changes in ocean temperature, precipitation & freshwater runoff impact ecosystems Species at Risk, Habitat, Ecosystem Management
Decrease in water O2 and pH, and changes in nutrients may impact fisheries Fisheries Management, Oceans Management

The previous five years of the program (2011-12 to 2015-16) focussed on three components: 1) assessment of climate change risks and vulnerabilities in four large basins, 2) research to understand the impacts of climate change and 3) research to create applied science to adapt to climate change.

  1. Four Large Aquatic Basin Risk Assessments cover large areas of the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic Oceans plus Canada’s inland waters represented by the Lake Winnipeg and Great Lakes’ drainage systems. Each large basin assessment includes an analysis of climate trends and projections for the aquatic environment in order to help managers make strategic, climate-sensitive decisions about Departmental activities and assets which are at risk to a changing climate. Three streams of evidence with a bearing on the future are integrated into the risk assessments: 1) A science-based climate change risk analysis of ecosystem impacts, vulnerabilities and opportunities and infrastructure impacts; 2) a socio-economic evaluation, and 3) strategic policy concerns. The preliminary findings of the four large basin risk assessments are at the following links: 
  2. Secondly, the program’s research projects are developing science knowledge and tools for Understanding Impacts of Climate Change, and
  3. The program’s third component consists of research projects to create applied science Adaptation Tools and strategies to integrate climate change considerations into the delivery of departmental programs and policies.  The three priority areas for science knowledge and tools are: Canada’s North; Marine and Freshwater Infrastructure Impacts; and Marine and Freshwater Ecosystem Impacts. 
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