Manitoba Climate Resilience Training: Indigenous

The Manitoba Climate Resilience Training (MCRT) Project, supported by Natural Resource Canada’s Building Regional Adaptation Capacity and Expertise (BRACE) Program, ran from October 2020 to March 2022, and focused on building the capacity of communities, organizations, small and medium-sized enterprises and practitioners to access, use, and apply knowledge and tools on climate change adaptation within Manitoba.

Through the project which aimed to enhance climate knowledge and the uptake of tools and information that promote integrated engagement, networking, and hands-on learning opportunities, a comprehensive suite of training and capacity building courses were developed and delivered. A total of 18 courses were developed by the four organizations delivering the MCRT project: Prairie Climate Centre, ICLEI Canada, Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba, and Dillon Consulting. Courses spanned across five sectors, including:

  • Foundational modules developed by all four organizations cover a variety of climate change resiliency basics that are beneficial to all audiences. These modules are recommended prerequisites for future courses.
  • Indigenous modules developed by Prairie Climate Centre (PCC) created content in partnership with indigenous organizations and knowledge keepers from across the country that truly speaks to the importance and inclusion of Indigenous knowledges in future climate solutions.
  • Infrastructure modules developed by Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba (EGM) provide training and capacity building, from general principles of climate change to hands-on and technical climate risk assessments, that enable engineers and other infrastructure decision-makers to integrate climate resiliency into their designs and practice.
  • Planning modules developed by the PCC focus on the impacts of climate change that are being seen across Manitoba and highlight the role of planners in addressing these impacts. Training focuses on the effectiveness of planning tools to address climate risks in both public and private settings.
  • Northern Business modules developed by Dillon Consulting offer capacity building and climate resilience training targeted to the needs of Manitoba northern businesses and industries to better integrate various types of climate-related adaptive actions into decision-making and planning processes to support increased climate resilience for small and medium enterprises.


The MCRT Project delivered courses to over 2300 attendees across all sectors, with recordings of all 18 courses available post-project completion online at

Understanding and Assessing Impacts

In April 2018, ICLEI Canada was retained by the Manitoba government to design and deliver a series of engagement sessions relating to their upcoming BRACE programming. The purpose of these sessions was to develop an understanding of how the BRACE program could best serve municipalities and infrastructure owners, the business community, and Indigenous communities. Specifically, what supports could be provided to increase adaptation capacity and expertise for each of these sectors.

In order to provide recommendations relating to this question, ICLEI Canada conducted 12 tailored engagement sessions, developed an online survey, and held one-on-one calls with participants over the Spring of 2018. These sessions provided an overview of Manitoba’s changing climate and the BRACE initiative before eliciting input from roughly 180 participants. Using a combination of small group exercises and open discussions, ICLEI Canada was able to gather input that the Manitoba government used to influence the success of its BRACE proposal and program.

Participants were asked about the impacts of climate change they have experienced and existing barriers they faced in building adaptation expertise. Participants identified a number of climate impacts including flooding, drought, wildfire, invasive species and pests, water quality and quantity, among others. Participants also identified financial and institutional barriers, as well as barriers relating to awareness, partnerships, data and information, and tools and resources. Within each of these categories, a number of obstacles were identified: a lack of long-term and core funding, limited strategic partnerships and a reliance on ad hoc or opportunistic partnerships, a general lack of awareness among colleagues and broader communities of climate change as a risk. These climate impacts and barriers informed the actions put forward by the MCRT program.

Identifying Actions

Following these engagement sessions, participants were also asked to identify capacity supports that they thought would create an impact. Although a number of supports were identified that transcend the scope of the BRACE program (e.g., province-wide LIDAR mapping), a number of relevant supports were identified. These supports relate to the following categories: tools and resources, training, graduate internships, learning by doing activities, and policy tools. Based on the information received in these categories, three primary recommendations were made: First, the Manitoba government should consider creating a climate change adaptation community of practice that serves as a point of connection – both online and in-person – and a means by which to share resources and opportunities. Second, BRACE programming should include a comprehensive interdisciplinary training program that can directly address capacity and expertise gaps across the three sectors and various professions. Third, the Manitoba government should develop a framework and resources to support staff exchanges, internships, and professional development as another means to build adaptation capacity and expertise.

As a result of these recommendations, the Government of Manitoba sought out key partners to create a comprehensive interdisciplinary training program consisting of a series of modular training offerings aimed at a variety of sectors to help identify and understand how climate change can impact particular roles and how adaptation can be integrated into day-to-day responsibilities. Together, this interdisciplinary training program became known as the Manitoba Climate Resiliency Training (MCRT) Project. The training programs combined elements of technical training with more general training on awareness-raising and climate communications. The training program consists of modules that can be used together as one training program or separately for individual audiences. The program developed courses across five main themes: Foundational, Indigenous, Infrastructure, Planning, and Northern Business. In addition to the training modules, a Community of Practice was developed as an online space where users could connect, share resources, and access the various products developed through MCRT.

The goal of MCRT was to increase the uptake of existing resources, integrate climate change information into decision-making, and draw on the skills of many professions to enable enhanced collaboration and implementation of adaptation.

As the training program is modular in nature, different sectors targeted various audiences, including:

  • Engineers
  • Planners
  • Accountants
  • Actuaries
  • Municipal Administrators
  • Elected officials
  • CEOs and Boards
  • Farmers and agricultural producers
  • Indigenous communities
  • Small and medium sized northern enterprises


For each of the modules, a series of trainings or courses were developed. These courses were designed to be taken in tandem with ‘Foundational’ courses, developed by BRACE partners, covering a variety of climate change resiliency basics beneficial to all audiences and were recommended as prerequisites for each sector.

  • Climate Change 101, hosted by Prairie Climate Centre and the University of Winnipeg, is a climate change primer course for professionals and practitioners in Manitoba to better understand the causes, future projections, and effects of climate change in the Canadian context.
  • Climate Change Risk Assessment: Core Principles, hosted by Dillon Consulting, provides consistent foundations of core climate change risk assessment principles and approaches for all BRACE sector audiences. It explores concepts such as hazard identification, vulnerability assessment, risk assessment, and how to use climate change risk assessment processes to identify, assess, and prioritize climate impacts to inform climate adaptation planning.
  • Communicating Climate Change, hosted by ICLEI Canada, focuses on how to talk about climate change. Participants who have completed earlier foundational MCRT courses will dive into the basics of effective climate communication. Participants explore the importance and the variety of messaging, audiences and delivery methods. Participants can develop skills in engaging people and moving them from knowing about climate change to caring about it and being motivated to take action.

The Indigenous Module consisted of four courses:

  • Indigenous Knowledges and Two-Eyed Seeing: This course provides an in-depth exploration of the importance of Indigenous knowledges in addressing climate change, featuring an in-depth conversation with Mi’kmaw Elder Albert Marshall to explore cross-cultural understanding, linking Indigenous and Western ways of knowing.
  • Climate Change and Indigenous Communities: A detailed review of the science and western terminology of climate change to help bridge the gap between Indigenous knowledges and western science. The course also helps define the fundamental impacts that climate change has on Indigenous communities and ways of life.
  • Indigenous Mapping and Climate Change: This course focuses on mapping, climate change, and how to evaluate and understand climate risks facing Indigenous communities.
  • Climate Change, Indigenous Solutions and the Future: Joined by a host of special guests, this course aims to share the experiences, knowledge, and insights into how Indigenous-led solutions can be utilized to guide adaptation planning in the future.

All courses were designed to be 90 minutes long, and delivered as virtual live webinars from November to 2021, to March 2022 at no cost to participants. These courses remain available on the Climate West website to view on-demand at no cost.

Outcomes and Monitoring Progress

809 registrants from the Indigenous Sector took part in the live MCRT courses, with an additional 240 views post-delivery making this module extremely successful. Cross-sectoral collaboration among infrastructure professionals, decision-makers, elders, and knowledge keepers provided for the integration of learning across sectors.

A 10-question survey was developed and delivered to all attendees of the Infrastructure Module courses. Many respondents reflected on the importance of understanding different knowledge systems and exposure to new information and concepts that can be integrated into daily practice. Further, audience members noted that they enjoyed the positive messaging behind climate change and adaptation discussion from an Indigenous perspective and inquired further about more work related to the subject. The module attracted participants from across the country, indicating a demand for this type of knowledge sharing and programming.

A key challenge related to all courses in this module was with respect to Indigenous knowledges being stereotyped as “past” or “traditional” knowledges as though Indigenous Peoples had stopped adapting and learning since contact. Indigenous knowledges were also consistently associated with knowledge of hunting and fishing, and not indicative of complex cultures and societies. Finally, a major gap exists between mainstream and western knowledge systems, and Indigenous knowledge systems. Indigenous programming is severely underfunded and does not usually include the core funds that allow for long-term programming commitments. To build capacity and understanding amongst all participants, developing meaningful and reciprocal relationships between Indigenous Knowledge keepers and western institutions is needed to address these gaps and commit to long-term and meaningful inclusion.

Next Steps

The training courses developed through the MCRT project are hosted and promoted through ClimateWest, a central hub for climate services in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Local governments, practitioners, businesses, and communities can access a range of adaptation resources developed specifically for prairie communities through this website to address risks and opportunities caused by a changing climate.