This profile has been updated in March 2018.
Strategic priorities
  • Canada’s development policy focuses on helping the “poorest and most vulnerable and supporting fragile states”. The government has outlined five priorities: 1) health and rights of women and children; 2) clean economic growth and climate change; 3) governance, pluralism, diversity and human rights; 4) peace and security, and 5) responding to humanitarian crises and the needs of displaced peoples.
  • Under Prime Minister (PM) Trudeau, Canada has introduced a feminist foreign policy, including enhanced attention to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and continued prioritization of maternal, newborn, and child health. In March 2017, PM Trudeau announced CAD650 million (US$490 million) over three years for SRHR, and the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie pledged CAD20 million (US$15 million) at the ‘She Decides’ conference.
  • Food security is another top priority. Canada emphasizes the links between agriculture and climate change, and is integrating food security policies into a comprehensive approach to clean economic growth. 
Key opportunities
  • In addition to the increase in resources announced in Budget 2018, the government will reallocate CAD1.5 billion (US$1.1 billion) over five years to two new programs that make use of existing unallocated International Assistance Envelope (IAE) resources: the International Assistance Innovation Program and the Sovereign Loans Program.
  • The government committed CAD2.65 billion (US$2.0 billion) by 2020 to address climate change in developing countries. This presents opportunities to leverage more funding for related areas that help mitigate the impact of climate change (e.g., climate-smart agriculture).

Key Questions

the big six

Indonesia was confirmed in 2014 as a focus country of Canada’s international development cooperation, with economic growth and democracy key elements of the partnership.



How will Canadian ODA develop? - What will Canada’s ODA focus on? - What are key opportunities for shaping Canada’s development policy? read more

How will Canadian ODA develop?

  • ODA slightly increased between 2016 and 2017, and is likely to increase further. Budget 2018 puts forward a CAD2 billion increase in the International Assistance Envelope over five years (US$1.5 billion). This is in line with the government’s pledge to “restore and renew” Canada’s development assistance.
  • Budget 2018 also puts forward a new allocation of existing resources through two new programs that leverage innovative financing mechanisms: the International Assistance Innovation Program and the Sovereign Loans Program. These programs indicate Canada will use blended finance to achieve the SDGs.

What will Canada’s ODA focus on?

  • Through the new feminist foreign policy, Canada’s international assistance has a stronger focus on “the world’s poorest and fragile countries” and applying a ‘feminist lens’.
  • Health, particularly sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH), are an important focus. This was recently evidenced by Canada’s pledge of CAD20 million (US$15 million) at the ‘She Decides’ conference in Brussels in March 2017, and by PM Trudeau’s announcement to allocate CAD640 million over a three-year period for SRHR. Canada has also newly committed to Family Planning 2020 and the Ouagadougou Partnership.
  • Tackling climate change in developing countries is a top focus of Canada’s development policy. The government has committed to spending CAD2.7 billion by 2020 within this sector (US$2.0 billion), and has already increased funding for related programs. It is likely that this trend will continue through increased integration of agriculture, food security, and clean economic growth.

What are key opportunities for shaping Canada’s development policy?

  • In June 2018, Canada will hold the G7 presidency with a focus on five key priorities: 1) Inclusive growth; 2) Preparing for jobs of the future; 3) Advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment; 4) Working together on climate change, oceans, and clean energy; and 5) Building a more peaceful and secure world. This presents a major opportunity for Canada to show leadership on these key priorities.
  • Canada’s pledge to the UN climate convention Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in November 2015 could be used as an opportunity to advocate for more resources to be allocated to addressing the effects of climate change within other sectors, such as to agriculture and health.
  • Canada’s heightened commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) within its feminist international assistance policy may offer an opportunity to secure resources or engage in policy implementation in this area.