The Government of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) have announced new funding to help municipalities close staffing gaps and support those working on climate change and resilience initiatives.

FCM’s climate change staff grants will provide funding to supplement the salary of a new or existing municipal employee who work on initiatives to improve adaptation to local climate change impacts or reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These grants of up to $125,000, disbursed over two years, are intended to help municipalities address staffing gaps and produce lasting improvements in their operations related to climate change.

“Municipalities influence roughly half of Canada’s GHG emissions and they are already modelling some of the most innovative green initiatives in the country,” said Jenny Gerbasi, FCM president. “But they need the resources to build on these first steps. That is why we are proud to support our local governments with this funding to drive local solutions and support national results.”

The announcement comes days after most of Canada’s auditors general presented a collaborative report warning that Canada will fail to meet its 2020 targets to reduce the impact of climate change. The report found that many federal, provincial, and municipal programs are being delivered in an ad hoc manner and that clear leadership of climate change initiatives has been lacking in many departments across the country.

Individual municipalities with populations below 150,000, or a partnership of multiple communities are the target recipients of the funding. Climate change staff grants are intended to enable action by addressing the barrier of inadequate staff resources to manage climate change related initiatives especially in smaller and medium sized communities.

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“The Government of Canada is committed to investing in infrastructure that strengthens the middle class, promotes economic prosperity and provides municipalities with the building blocks they need to support a high standard of living for Canadians and their families,” said Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “We are proud to support efforts to adapt to the challenges posed by climate change and contribute to the protection of our communities now and for the future.”

These new staff grants could help municipalities make more progress on climate change activities, including conducting research; creating GHG inventories; preparing climate adaptation or GHG emission reduction plans; and implementing operational changes to reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts.

Staff grants are offered through the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program, a five-year, $75-million program designed to encourage Canadian municipalities to better prepare for and adapt to the new realities of climate change as well as reduce GHG emissions. The program is delivered by FCM and funded by the Government of Canada.

More details on the grants are available on FCM’s website.

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