Competency Framework Overview

Please see the Climate Action Competency Framework (v.2 – 2023) PDF.

Learn more about the CACFv2 Revisions and Structure.

The Climate Action Competency Framework (v.2 – 2023) provides diverse individuals, organizations, industries, and communities with a way of understanding and building the knowledge and skills necessary for designing, planning, and implementing climate adaptation and mitigatation strategies, actions, and plans. This version of the CACF is based on the original Climate Adaptation Competency Framework (CACF v.1 – 2021) which focused exclusively on adaptation. The CACF v.2 was developed in response to end-user feedback and the move more generally in the field to integrate mitigation and adaptation in climate action. The CACF v.2 structure aligns more consistently with the E-Campus Ontarios’s guidelines for Open Competency Frameworks in order to maximize and simplify its use in diverse contexts. It provides one way of responding to the diverse implications of climate change on workforces and labour markets including changes in workforce needs, workforce regulations, the growth of new green jobs, and the identification of skills and labour market gaps.

As a result of the complexity of climate change and the cross-functional and cross-sectoral nature of climate adaptation and climate mitigation, a broad range of professions are being called on to integrate climate adaptation principles and practices into their work. People on the front lines of planning and implementing climate action policies, plans and strategies include financial analysts and accountants, risk-managers, engineers, biologists, landscape architects, accountants, agrologists, foresters, city planners, architects, technicians, and policy and decision makers in all levels of government. The emergent nature of climate risks and climate impacts and the speed at which those are escalating requires rapid upskilling and reskilling in the workforce. There are presently few resources to help guide an understanding of what competencies are needed for the necessary training and education, and at what level of proficiency or expertise those competencies might be required for any specific role or function or profession.

While the CACF v.2 is a robust, evidence-informed tool, it is also important to recognize that it is grounded in Western cultural concepts and language and ways of working. Where possible, we have tried to foreground in the suite of competencies the importance of understanding other perspectives, worldviews, and ways of working, especially those of Indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples bring important historical and natural system knowledge into the planning and implementation of climate adaptation solutions. In this context, therefore, the CACF can provide the basis for a practical, systematic, and easy-to-use developmental road map for individuals, organizations, and communities who are integrating the practices of climate adaptation but does not replace the need to understand and work with Indigenous conceptualizations of climate change, climate adaptation, ways of working, and the wisdom of Indigenous peoples.


The CACF v2 attempts to illustrate the different breadth of competencies necessary to deal with and prepare for a climate change-altered present and future while also working to reduce and slow global heating through mitigation policies and practices. It details the central competencies required by someone working either as a specialist or working in a profession or field in which climate concerns and climate adaptation and mitigation need to be integrated. The framework is designed to:

  1. Establish a shared understanding of climate action competencies by detailing the central competencies necessary to climate adaptation and mitigation, and examples of associated behavioural indicators for those competencies.
  2. Offer a practical, systematic road map or tool for individuals, organizations, teams and others to guide capacity and capability development, and to support objective assessments of competency strengths and gaps in the workforce.
  3. Enable individuals and businesses to facilitate professional development and training agendas to develop capacity in this field.
  4. Support those interested in further developing climate action capacity through recruitment and hiring qualified candidates.
  5. Shape behaviours that strengthen the individual’s capability and thus enhance performance outcomes relative to accountabilities of specific roles.


Developing climate action competencies, and the capacity and capability that flow from them, requires a shared understanding of what the specialized competency requirements are, and some standards of competence for those involved in the field. In response to this need, the Adaptation Learning Network Project, led by Dr. Robin Cox and the Resilience by Design (RbD) Lab at Royal Roads University, and funded by Natural Resources Canada and the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, undertook the design and development of the CACF v1. The design and development process of the CACF involved the contributions and insights of
many climate adaptation subject matter experts and practitioners from Canada and internationally, and the input o others with vested interests in the use of such a framework. The framework was intentionally licensed (2021) using a Creative Commons license to ensure the uptake is as wide as possible, and to allow others to use the framework and adapt to their specific contexts.

In 2022, the Resilience By Design Lab, working with additional funding from the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, undertook a revision to the framework to align its structure with the principles outlined in the E-Campus Ontario Open Competency Framework toolkit and to integrate climate mitigation. The resultant Climate Action Competency Framework v.2 is currently being reviewed by subject matter experts and will be similarly published with a Creative Commons license and offered in an interactive, online version through this Resilience By Design lab website.


The CACF v.1 and v.2 have been developed by the Resilience By Design Lab as with funding from Natural Resources Canada: Building Regional Adaptation Capacity & Expertise (BRACE); The BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy; and Royal Roads University.


The Climate Action Competency Framework provides: 

  • a defined set of competencies to ensure that individuals and teams have expertise and abilities to perform climate action-related job functions;
  • a practical approach to identify skills gaps and monitor performance in organizations offering climate adaptation and/or mitigation services;  
  • terminology for those hiring and those applying for jobs to communicate the skills, behaviours and attitudes for climate adaptation and mitigation work;
  • a foundation for designing courses with relevant learning outcomes that align with climate adaptation and mitigation competencies.


This new version, the Climate Action Competency Framework (CACV V.2) is a redesign that includes both mitigation and adaptation competencies, and a new structure designed to contribute to the ease of application in multiple contexts.

We are hoping you will take time to provide your valuable feedback to inform the ongoing, iterative development of CACF V.2. Click to provide feedback on CACF V.2.