Climate Social Innovation Labs

In May, the Training Academy hosted a series of Climate Social Innovation Lab across Canada, asking the question: “how can the outdoor sector manage and mitigate the effects and impacts of climate change for an adaptable and more resilient industry?”

What is a Social Innovation Lab?
Over the past few years, Social Innovation Labs have emerged around the world with the premise to provide alternative and effective approaches for tackling systemic problems and bringing about positive social transformation. At a fundamental level, Social Innovation Labs are agents of change – they intentionally instigate and support ideas that aim to transform the behaviour, policies, structures, relationships, norms, and values that underpin complex challenges. Social Innovation Labs are an effective way to bring together a diverse set of stakeholders to work on specific real-life challenges.


The impacts of climate change are being felt across Canada, causing significant disruption, risk and added costs. The 2023 Canadian wildfires emitted almost 480 megatonnes of carbon, which is almost five-times the average for the past 20 years.1 Countless Canadians, school students, families and tourists visit and enjoy our natural environment for a wide range of outdoor activities, relaxation and wellbeing. Outdoor education, recreation, community groups and businesses provide a critical means for many to access, experience and enjoy the benefits of being in nature. However, wildfires, smoke, heat, floods and extreme weather events are increasing in number and impact.

The outdoor industry encompasses many different types of organizations, businesses, and community and grassroots groups, which means that we are dispersed and often without a united voice. Additionally, the non-profit nature of many organizations means that there are limited resources to support research, capacity and skills development. This inhibits the ability of the outdoor sector to prepare, respond, learn, and adapt to being more resilient and safer in the face of our changing climate. 

Our Goal
The goal of this event was to be a catalyst for connection, capacity and capability. Our aim was to figure out how the outdoor sector can build resilience and mitigate the impacts of climate change on our programming and operations. This event was not aimed at figuring out how to solve climate change; rather, it was an opportunity to figure out how to continue operating our outdoor programming in light of the real impacts that climate change brings. To adequately mitigate the risk for the outdoor sector, there is a need for a coordinated approach, research, capacity building and skills development to reduce the risk and impact of climate change. This event was a starting point for those conversations.

Event Dates
May 9, 2024 – Vancouver, BC
May 13, 2024 – Halifax, NS
May 15, 2024 – Toronto, ON

Climate Social Innovation Lab Summary
After the event, key insights were compile from each of the locations and presented in report that can be utilized as a resource for other organizations nationwide. To download this report, click the button below.


See some of the latest highlights from our program, our impact, professional resources, and more…