areas of focus

ACT was founded to study nine core topics that require sustainable climate action planning in Canada. Each topic was assigned a senior policy author and a team of graduate researchers, and featured research into climate change challenges and policy responses, as well as workshops and other engagement and outreach. ACT continues to study these, and other, topic areas.

Extreme Weather

Extreme weather events are one of the principal challenges driven by climate change, which is projected to cause storms and associated damages of magnitudes that render current standards obsolete.


Climate change poses a variety of challenges for the energy sector, including power outages caused by extreme weather events, interruption of hydro power generation due to low water levels and melting glaciers, and implications for emissions reduction planning as temperatures increase and drive up demand for energy needed for cooling.

Sea Level Rise

According to estimates, we will see a 1-metre rise in ocean levels by 2100. Combined with storm surges – also forecast to increase in severity – this places our ports and associated transport, industry and tourism networks, and many coastal towns and valuable waterfront developments at significant risk.

Health Risks

Climate change poses numerous challenges for human health, from critical infrastructure challenges to new or exacerbated physical and mental health risks.



Population Displacement

Millions of people face relocation as ocean levels change and regions around the world suffer from extreme weather events, placing a heavy burden on countries with limited resources, driving internal displacement within Canada, and increases in migration.


ACT's first core topic was biodiversity and climate change adaptation, culminating in a set of reports released in 2009. We are continuing work on this theme through our Nature Solutions Initiative. 


Innovative Governance

Local governments are already seeing the impacts of wildifres, flooding, and extreme weather in their operational budgets—for example, costs incurred from service disruptions or cleaning up after severe weather events, health impacts on vulnerable populations and ecosystems, and losses in key economic drivers such as tourism due to wildfire smoke. These events are projected to increase in both frequency and intensity, and consequently, local governments require strategic and innovative approaches to reduce siloes and uncoordinated decision-making. and minimize reactive and piecemeal approaches that duplicate spending, misdirect investment, and escalate costs. 

Crops and Food Supply

Increasing summer temperatures combined with drought, flooding and pest expansion affect Canadian and international farmers, and could pose problems for global food supply.


New Technologies

While technology has limited potential to solve the systemic issues that are driving climate change, low carbon resilient innovations will be key to our success in transitioning to a sustainable path forward.