Shifting Mandates and Climate Change Policy Capacity: The Forestry Case

Jeremy Rayner


The original hypothesis is that forests will be a
policy subsector in which the challenges of climate change
adaptation lead to broader policy mandates but that the
declining role of the industry in the Canadian economy will
cause departmental resources to be stable or decreasing. The
result will be ineffective policy capacity, leading to adaptation
policies that are poorly designed, incomplete or missing
altogether. This paper provides some evidence to support
this hypothesis, though the situation is complicated by the
dominant role played by the provinces in both ownership
and jurisdiction. While the leading federal department,
Natural Resources Canada, has shed other mandates to focus
on climate change, provincial agencies are already caught
between the added costs of addressing climate change impacts,
notably wildfire, and the need to plan for and implement
long term adaptive policies with stable or declining
resources. Much will depend on coordination between First
Nations, the provinces and the federal government in a
policy subsector with a history of conflict between the different
orders of government.

Full Text:


@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125