ODA Spending

How much ODA does Canada allocate to gender equality?

Canada’s FIAP Feminist International Assistance Policy frames empowering women and girls is a cornerstone of economic and social development in all sectors. Canada was the top DAC donor country in relative terms of prioritization of gender equality in 2021, with 90% of its bilateral allocable ODA related to gender equality. Canada fell to 5th-largest in absolute and relative terms in 2022, with 62% of bilateral allocable ODA related to gender equality.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is the first Action Area in Canada’s FIAP, which came into force in June 2017. Within this area, it commits to four key actions:

  1. Addressing sexual and gender-based violence;
  2. Providing support for local women’s rights organizations and movements;
  3. Helping governments in partner countries improve policies and service to better address the differential needs of women and men; and
  4. Stepping up its commitment to evidence-based decision making.

How is Canadian gender equality ODA changing?

Canada’s funding for gender equality has increased significantly since 2017, when Canada implemented its FIAP, but fell in 2022, likely due to reallocation of funds to the war in Ukraine.

Canada’s funding for projects principally focused on gender equality has also quadrupled (414%) since 2017 and by 260% between 2019 and 2020 alone, as the government worked to reach its goal of 15% of bilateral ODA going to projects with a principal gender focus by FY2021-22. Despite this jump, principal funding for gender equality saw a large decrease in 2021, with only 9% going to projects with a principal gender focus compared to 25% in 2020. Principal funding experienced a further marginal decrease to 7% in 2022.

How does Canada allocate gender equality ODA?

Bilateral Spending

In line with the sharp increase in funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and populations sector received the highest share of Canada’s gender-related funding in 2021 and 2022, at CAD1.8 billion ( US$1.3 billion).

Humanitarian assistance followed as the 2nd-largest sector receiving gender-related funding, In line with Canada’s overall policy focus, as well as humanitarian funding for the war in Ukraine.

For more, visit the issue deep dive on global health for Canada

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Multilateral Spending and Commitments

Canada is a firm supporter of multilaterals related to this issue. According to UN Women, in 2022, Canada was the 9th-largest DAC contributor with more than US$16 million in funding provided. Canada also supports gender-related health initiatives through the UNFPA and She Decides.

Funding & Policy Outlook

What is the current government's outlook on gender equality ODA?

The FIAP commits to spending 95% of Canada’s bilateral ODA on investments that target or integrate gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls by FY2021/22: . As of March 2023, Canada’s Minister of International Development confirmed that Canada has surpassed this target, with 99% of Canada’s bilateral ODA either targeting or integrating gender equality over the last fiscal year.

Canada tracks progress in all six of the FIAP’s action areas: They use a set of KPIs, as well as complimentary indicators to specifically track gender equality efforts.

Canada will likely continue to promote gender equality on the world stage: At the 2021 Generation Equality Forum, Canada co-led the Action Coalition on Feminist Movements and Leadership. At the March 2021 event in Mexico City, Canada, Mexico, and the Ford Foundation, suggested the formation of a multi-stakeholder Global Alliance for Sustainable Feminist Movements to increase and sustain resources for feminist movements.

While the government of Canada has made some significant progress on gender equality, it still requires more action on gender issues in these areas: In March 2023, Oxfam Canada released its 7th annual Feminist Scorecard which grades the federal government across 12 policy areas including global development, conflict and crisis, migrant and refugee rights, and climate justice. Between March 2022 and February 2023, Oxfam gave Canada a yellow grade for its actions in each of these areas, except for global development, which received a green grade.

In addition, in March 2023, Canada’s Auditor General released a report concluding that GAC is unable to show how its FIAP has contributed to improving global gender equality. The report is focused on Canada’s bilateral development assistance programming from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2022, which represents an average of CAD3.5 billion ( US$2.7 billion) per year. The report concludes that the GAC does not have the information needed to demonstrate how this funding has improved outcomes for women and girls in LMICs. The finding is attributed to weaknesses in the department’s information management systems, an inadequate focus on project outcomes against policy goals, and the need to look beyond gender and age in project-level gender equality assessments to take a more inclusive approach that considers other aspects of identity.

Key Bodies

Related Publications

Donor Updates in Brief: 2023 OECD Preliminary Data

Germany’s 2024 budget: Massive ODA cuts after a fiscal odyssey

Germany's approach to feminist financing: Progress in one year?

Looking for a cross donor perspective?

Learn more about SEEK's work on gender equality

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