Up North On Climate - Line.png

What does climate change mean for First Nation communities in northern Ontario?

People are noticing - shorter winter road season; flooding when rain in winter falls on frozen
ground; thinner ice on traditional winter travel routes; lower water levels along summer travel
routes; more severe rainstorms in summer between longer dry periods; migration of geese and
caribou has changed; some birds, insects and fish are moving north; spawning beds shifting;
melting permafrost. Concern is rising about wildfires if forest and bush becomes drier. These impacts will affect future generations. Some examples of vulnerabilities that communities and homelands of First Nations in far north Ontario could experience from climate change are found below.



Flooding of ditches, roads and buildings during late winter and early spring because of heavy rain falling on hard, frozen ground


Flooding over the banks of rivers caused by ice jams during break-up


Dangers in winter travel because of thinner ice on traditional travel routes over water on rivers, creeks and lakes 


Dangers in summer boat travel because of rock rising nearer the surface of rivers and lakes


Summer heat stress in elderly and very young people during extreme hot weather


Changes in caribou populations or migration and availability in traditional hunting areas


Changes in the strength and frequency of windstorms


Changes in moose population and availability in traditional hunting areas


Northward spread of Lyme Disease carried by ticks on deer


Eastward spread of mountain pine beetle into jack pine forests because the beetle survives the night temperatures of warmer winters


More forest fires - possibly more intense, closer to community and at different times of the year than in the past


Longer growing season for vegetable gardens in communities


Changes in goose migration and difficulty hunting in traditional places


Loss of some spawning beds and the appearance of new ones because of falling water levels


Increase in frequency and severity of freezing rain


Loss of land due to the erosion of banks of rivers and lakes


Loss of some harvesting places for berries and plants and appearance of new places


Changes in storm surges causing flooding of the coast


Summer droughts becoming longer and more frequent


Northward spread of spruce budworm attacking white spruce