Coming soon

The Program of Applied Research on Climate Action in Canada

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In Canada and around the world, we are already experiencing the impacts of climate change: hotter summers, more intense storms, more frequent floods, and a reduction in biodiversity. The science is clear: the Earth is warming, global and local climates are changing, and human activities are the primary cause. To avoid a dangerous level of warming, Canada is committed to cutting our global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40-45% by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

Canada has a plan well underway to reduce GHGs and transition to a resilient, sustainable, and competitive economy.
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Program of Research Overview

In September 2021, in partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the Impact and Innovation Unit launched a multi-year program of research on climate change. The Program of Applied Research on Climate Action in Canada (PARCA Canada) will apply behavioural science (BeSci) insights and methods with robust policy analysis to promote climate action.

Together with ECCC and NRCan, we will learn about how Canadians think, feel and act in response to climate change and the risks it creates. We will then develop and test, online and in the real world, specific behaviourally-informed solutions with the potential to reduce GHG emissions and promote climate adaptation at the individual and community level. This work will generate new insights on a rapid timeframe and use them to inform policy development, program design, and public communications.

A large network of internal and external partners, including partners at multilateral organizations and an advisory committee of subject matter experts, will guide the research program to help ensure its relevance, rigour, and impact.

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Program of Research Activities


Scoping and longitudinal
data collection

In the scoping phase, we will first examine areas with real potential for improving climate and environmental outcomes using behavioural science-based methods and reviewing relevant scientific literature. Key outcomes will relate to transportation, home energy use, waste management, engagement with nature, preparedness for extreme weather, and disaster recovery.

In parallel, we will implement a longitudinal study (public opinion research) with a large and nationally representative sample of Canadians to gather data and track changes over time. The robust, quantitative evidence generated by this study will help identify where there is potential for promoting greater individual climate and environmental action.

Rapid online studies
and experiments

Evidence and insights from the scoping and longitudinal data collection will inform a series of rapid online studies and experiments to assess factors that can enable or prevent behaviour change.

Each online experiment will be set up as a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to isolate each experimental condition’s impact. As the gold standard in experimentation, RCTs are the best way of determining whether a strategy is working or which strategy would work best.


In-field testing
and research

We will test the research findings using in-field studies in the everyday spaces where people live, work, and play. This step is crucial for understanding whether solutions that positively influence our intentions can lead to real changes in behaviour.

Solutions will be pilot-tested on a small scale prior to being tested in larger-scale experimental or quasi-experimental studies.


Check back for more

We look forward to sharing our learnings, results, and recommendations with you. Our next update will be available soon. To learn more or connect about this program of research, please email

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