Issue Deep Dive: Canada/Gender Equality

Last updated: December 16, 2022

ODA Spending


ODA In Context


Canada’s FIAP Feminist International Assistance Policy frames empowering women and girls is a cornerstone of economic and social development in all sectors.


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.



Canada’s funding for gender equality has increased 36% since 2017 when Canada implemented its FIAP.


Canada’s funding for projects principally focused on gender equality has also increased significantly (1,313%) since 2016 and by 259% between 2019 and 2020 alone (from US$208 million in 2019). The government has succeeded reaching its goal for 15% of bilateral ODA to go to projects with a principal gender focus by FY 2021/22.



ODA Breakdown


Bilateral Spending


In line with Canada’s overall policy focus, the humanitarian assistance sector received the highest share of the country’s gender-related funding in 2020.


Government and civil society followed, in line with the government’s commitment to helping partner countries implement gender-sensitive policies and services.


Health and populations received US$441 million (17%) in funding related to gender equality. This is not surprising given Canada’s firm commitment to health, particularly SRHR and MNCH.


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



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Mutlilateral Spending & Commitments


Canada is a firm supporter of multilaterals related to this issue. According to UN Women, in 2020, Canada was the 10th-largest total government contributor with almost US$19 million in funding provided. Canada also supports gender-related health initiatives through the UNFPA and ‘She Decides.’


Funding & Policy Outlook


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 FY 2021/22: The release of OECD data and Canada’s 2022 financial report will reveal whether this target was met.


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 progress on gender equality, it still requires more action on gender issues in these areas: In March 2022, Oxfam Canada released its sixth annual Feminist Scorecard which grades the federal government across 10 policy areas including ‘Global Development,’ ‘Conflict & Crisis,’ and ‘Climate Change.’ Between March 2021 and February 2022, Oxfam gave Canada a yellow grade (based on a traffic light approach).


Key Bodies





Zoe Johnson

zjohnson@seekdevelopment.org

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