Case Study: ” Growth through Continuous Improvement: Integrating Climate Action and Asset Management”


The City of Brandon, located in the southwestern corner of Manitoba, is a growing mid-sized City. Located in Treaty 2 Territory. It is the ancestral land of the Anishinaabe, Anishininewuk, Dakota Oyate, Denesuline, Ininiwak, and Nehethowuk peoples. The City has an approximate population of 54,000.  

The Importance of Climate Change 

The City of Brandon has become increasingly aware of the impacts of climate change as land drainage is already one of the community’s biggest concerns. With a long history of overland flooding and sewer backups, Brandon is asking themselves how they can plan and build with climate protection in mind, given projected changes in rainfall patterns and volumes.  

“Whether you’re talking about temps, moisture levels, or other aspects there’s a real connection with how you maintain and operate your assets – we’re influenced by climate every day. There’s evidence that climate is changing and we need to take some different approaches. There’s a strong connection between asset management and climate change and they need to be looked at in combination.”  

The City of Brandon has also developed a Climate Action Plan, which has some specific actions identified for climate adaptation and mitigation related to municipal infrastructure.  

The Approach 

Brandon’s asset management journey started several years ago, in a mandated, top-down way. There was some uptake, and some asset management plans were created. In the years following there was limited progress in asset management. In the City’s recent re-invigoration of asset management, staff have been intentional with language by making efforts to connect everyday processes and discussions to asset management. Staff became aware of the Canadian Network of Asset Managers’ (CNAM) Climate Action Cohort in the summer of 2022. This cohort brought several communities together to explore the practical integration of climate change and asset management which “seemed like a good fit to acquire knowledge. So we signed up, got in, brought in people from different departments, and got overwhelmed really quickly.”  


The feelings of overwhelm were related to the staff’s perception of being “behind” other municipalities participating in the Climate Action Cohort – as the group was very diverse in community size, staff complement, and geography. Using tools like FCM’s Asset Management Readiness Scale, the Maturity Scale for Municipal Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction, and the Climate Adaptation Maturity Scale, the City evaluated and documented their baseline asset management and climate change maturity. Through continued participation in the Cohort, the City learned about how the other participants were approaching climate action through asset management which helped them to shift their perspective from being overwhelmed to one of continuous improvement. Staff have learned that they are not “behind”, rather the implementation of climate action through asset management will be unique to Brandon’s context and will look different than other communities’ approaches. Participation in the Climate Action Cohort has given Brandon a different perspective on what it means to make progress in integrating climate change with asset management. 

Alongside rekindling resolve in asset management, the City has developed a Climate Change Action Plan. This Plan identifies several actions that are directly related to infrastructure planning and management. Through the City’s participation in CNAM’s Climate Action Cohort, they compared the climate actions related to infrastructure to the levels of service identified in previous asset management plans. This supported the City in formalizing the connection between climate actions and maintaining levels of service, as well as evaluating the practicality of levels of service as defined. This comparison highlighted specific service levels with respect to overland drainage that are difficult to attain in the current climate and infrastructure context and will be increasingly more difficult to attain as climate changes.  


Through sustained efforts and intentional language, asset management buy-in from staff is increasing – at every meeting, there seems to be “one more person on the boat”. Staff are motivated to continue to integrate climate action in their asset management approach and understand there is no “perfect” time to begin this integration. They know that this is an emerging practice and will take some trial and error – Brandon has moved from feeling overwhelmed by this to feeling more equipped to build their approach through continuous improvement as it suits their context.  

The City of Brandon has ambitions for growth which will come with additional and augmented service delivery challenges in the face of aging infrastructure and climate change. Brandon knows that strong asset management systems will support this growth, and incorporating climate change early will set them up for long-term success in delivering services reliably and sustainably to an increasing population. Brandon has recognized that they cannot do it alone and has identified the type of external assistance needed to help them walk the journey and build capacity and experience along the way. 

Advice for other communities just starting in integrating asset management and climate change: 

  1. “Just start! It does not matter where you think you are on the process because others are likely there as well.”  
  2. “It took us several months of discussion to figure out how to start, and where to start. It paid off to continue to have those discussions, continue to recognize value and benefits of the efforts. You don’t need to establish a robust plan before you start. You start, and the plan begins to evolve.” 
  3. “Don’t reinvent the wheel – use the information and tools that are available!” 

This initiative is offered through the Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP), which is delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), and funded by the Government of Canada.