Last updated: May 2017. US$ amounts in this profile are shown in 2015 prices.
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 over three years for SRHR, and the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie pledged CAD20 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
  • Canada conducted a review of its international assistance in 2016. A new policy framework shaped by the review was introduced in spring 2017. It will indicate future strategic directions of Canada’s development policy. There may be opportunities to access some of this funding, especially for evidence-based programs closely-linked to Canada’s priorities.
  • The government committed CAD2.65 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?

  • Following sharp decreases between 2012 and 2014, ODA started increasing again in 2015. The budget for FY2016/17 called for moderate increases in the International Assistance Envelope budget, by CAD256 million over two years (FY2016/17 to FY2017/18), though ODA decreased in 2016 by 4%. Based on the Main Estimates (ME) released in March 2017, Global Affairs Canada plans to allocate CAD3.5 billion across three main programs related to development spending. This is an increase from the CAD3.1 billion requested for FY2016/17, due to higher spending in ’International Security and Democratic Development’ and ’International Humanitarian Assistance’.

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 and maternal, newborn, and child health, are an important focus. This was recently evidenced by Canada’s pledge of CAD20 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 commitment to Family Planning 2020 and the Ouagadougou Partnership.
  • Tackling climate change in developing countries is atop focus of Canada’s development policy. The government has committed to spend CAD2.65 billion by 2020 within this sector, and has already increased funding for related programs. It is likely that this trend will continue, and increasingly integrate agriculture, food security, and clean economic growth.

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

  • Canada’s pledge to the 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 is feminist international assistance policy may offer an opportunity to secure resources or engage in policy implementation in this area.