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Agents of Change


Agents of Change project

Mobilizing community residents towards net zero and climate resilience goals is a crucial element of any municipal climate action planning process. Yet, that level of outreach and engagement is often lacking. Agents of Change helped municipalities across Canada build volunteer engagement programming to engage residents in their local climate action planning process.

About the project

Over the course of 2022, Canadian municipalities worked with ICLEI Canada — through a cohort collaboration model — to design local volunteer engagement programs for climate action. The participating municipalities conceptualized programs, governance structures, partnership models, recruitment techniques, Indigenous engagement and equity considerations, approaches to social media, and explored many other considerations to build locally relevant engagement programs with lasting impact.

Guest organizations

We welcomed the following guest organizations to share resources, ideas, and lessons learned with the cohort.

City of Toronto – Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions

City of Toronto – Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions trains 20 to 25 Toronto residents each year to initiate climate action projects in their communities, in support of the City’s Transform TO Net Zero climate action strategy and net zero by 2040 target.


Monumental focuses on building more fair and just cities and institutions through research, public engagement, policy development and civic education.

Youth Climate Lab

Youth Climate Lab is a Canada-based, global non-profit organization of youth mobilizing youth to create just climate resilient futures.

Leadership team

Climate specialists from municipalities across Canada helped to conceptualize, strategize and oversee the Agents of Change project. Their insights helped to ensure the project resources were tailored to be beneficial to municipal staff forming volunteer engagement programs. Thank you to Beaconsfield, Canmore, Fredericton, Ucluelet, Victoria and Windsor for your valuable and generous contributions.

Participating municipalities

  • Colchester, NS
  • Cranbrook, BC
  • Drayton Valley, AB
  • Dufferin County, ON
  • Grey County, ON
  • Nanaimo, BC
  • New Glasgow, NS
  • Ottawa, ON
  • Vernon, BC
  • Victoria, BC
  • Wolfville, NS

“While we are eager to achieve immediate GHG reductions as an outcome of YCAC projects, we are looking to the cascading impact of the program as the ultimate measure of success. Our hope is that Youth Ambassadors will hold a lifelong commitment to climate action after their participation in the YCAC, in which they advocate for and integrate climate action into various spheres of their life.” 

– Kylie-Anne Grube, Participant

“Even if you already have a good idea of what you want to do for your program, make sure you walk your community partners through the process of coming up with ideas so that they are on-board with everything. Include your community partners in coming up with the project management plan.” 

– Evan Berry, Participant

“It’s helpful to form partnerships with youth organizations or school programs that are aligned with the volunteer program’s mandate and which can facilitate recruitment and contact with young people. Youth are keen to learn and make a difference, and they serve to benefit in many ways from this type of program by gaining new knowledge, pushing the boundaries of their comfort zone, developing social and communication skills, cooperating with others, exercising their creativity, making friends, acting on an issue they care about, etc.” 

– Joanna Burris, Participant

Resources from the Agents of Change project

Agents of Change Reflections: Lessons Learned by Participating Communities

The Agents of Change Project was a learning journey for all. Read case studies from the participating municipalities to discover how ten unique volunteer engagement programs were developed to work towards net-zero and climate resilience, and what lessons were learned along the way.

Municipal Climate Volunteer Training and Skills Development Guide

Design, organize, and deliver climate action volunteer training in your community. This guide is a tool that can be used to work through logistics and considerations of planning and running volunteer training. It includes questions to conceptualize climate action training, key tasks and checklists, as well as tips on delivering and facilitating a successful training. This resource was created based on current best practices and lessons learned from participants of the Agents of Change project.

Climate Communications Workshop in a Box

This “Workshop in a Box” provides everything you need to develop and deliver a climate communications workshop in your community. Resources include: an instructions and facilitator guide, PowerPoint slides, breakout activity materials, and more. The workshop itself is designed to equip participants with climate communications insights and tools (e.g., how to frame climate messages, identify target audiences, develop communication strategies etc.) that will ultimately allow them to support local climate action in their day-to-day work.

Agents of Change Project Reflections and Resources Webinar Replay and Presentations

In this webinar, select participants talked about the climate engagement volunteer programs they built as part of the Agents of Change project, shared reflections, and answered questions while ICLEI Canada staff provided an overview of the project and talked about how to use Agents of Change resources. Watch the webinar replay and download the presentations.

This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada.

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We respectfully acknowledge that ICLEI Canada’s work happens across Turtle Island which has traditionally been and is home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples since time immemorial.

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