Manitoba Climate Resilience Training: Planning

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 Planning module, developed by the PCC and its partners focused on the impacts of climate change that are being seen across Manitoba, and highlight the role of planners in addressing these impacts. The Planning Module consisted of three courses:

  • Manitoba’s Changing Climate: This course applies climate model projections for communities across Manitoba to illustrate how future climate risks, vulnerabilities, and opportunities can be integrated into future municipal planning projects.
  • A Path Forward: This course seeks to highlight and bridge the existing policies, legislation and efforts currently employed within Manitoba from the watershed-level down to site-specific considerations. Recent advents to codes/standards; the integration of Integrated Watershed Management Plans provisions; four phases of community adaptation; and current Climate Change Action (Adaptation) Plans in the Province are all reviewed.
  • Dollars and Sense: This module builds off guidance provided in the National Issues Report and from the Municipal Natural Asset Initiative in framing the importance of preserving and re-establishing natural systems. Participants review landscape management principles across scales; online economic valuation tools; basic cost-benefit analysis of varying infrastructural approaches; and the principles of ecosystem services.

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

A combined total of 893 registrants took part in the Planning Sector courses, far surpassing the initial project aim of 150 participants. Cross-sectoral outreach, promotional efforts across platforms, and session recording and availability are attributed to the attendance of this sector.

Following the delivery of courses, a survey was sent out to registrants to collect feedback and measure the efficacy of each course. When participants were surveyed on whether they would recommend the course to colleagues or peers, all respondents identified that they would and found the course to be an important training opportunity. Further, respondents found that the integration of climate science in the profession had a wide range of applications including land-use planning and infrastructure development. The responses demonstrate an appetite for climate change training and guidance, underscoring the ongoing need to provide educational sessions for professionals.

A key finding of the Planning Module was the need for planning and design profession to acknowledge their role and responsibility in regard to climate change, especially at the academic level, before meaningful steps can be taken to increase resilience. This is particularly true in the context of the planning hierarchy, whereby nearly all plans are multi-decadal efforts which have the potential to shape communities for future generations. This effort can be reinforced and furthered by identifying and empowering ‘champions’ within existing institutions.

The Covid-19 pandemic posed numerous logistical hurdles when it came to developing and delivering course content and engaging with stakeholders and Indigenous groups. Future efforts should seek to implement greater hands-on engagement with targeted communities to gain perspectives outside of metropolitan centres. Despite these challenges, the online presentation of course content and its subsequent availability increased the reach of the project considerably.

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.