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Canada to provide US$40 million to address health system, gender equality, food security in Haiti

On January 21, 2022, Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development, announced a financial contribution of CA$50 million (US$40 million) for 9 initiatives that will support health services for Haitians, strengthen the country’s security capacity and infrastructure, support sexual and reproductive health and rights, and help address food insecurity and other humanitarian challenges.

The funding announcement was made during a virtual Foreign Ministers meeting hosted by Sajjan and Joly, during which the international community reaffirmed its solidarity with Haiti and its commitment to supporting Haitians’ aspirations for a more democratic, stable, and prosperous future. Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry and Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Victor Généus, along with foreign ministers from additional democracies and high-level officials from multilateral organizations discussed ways for the international community to support Haiti in tackling the country’s growing insecurity, strengthening its political systems, and improving assistance coordination.

Projects supported through this investment include, but are not limited to:

  • CA$17 million (US$14 million) across three projects to improve sexual and reproductive health rights of most-vulnerable women; 
  • CA$15 million (US$12 million) across two projects to increase the capacity of the Haitian National Police through essential training, while increasing the meaningful participation and integration of women in policing; and,
  • CA$12 million (US$10 million) across two projects to address food insecurity and support humanitarian services through the World Food Programme.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Canada offers US$100 million loan to support Ukrainian economic resilience, development

In response to Ukraine's growing economic strain from Russian aggression, Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s Minister of International Development, and Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced that Canada has offered a loan of up to CA$120 million (US$95 million) to the Government of Ukraine. In addition, Canada has offered to provide a technical assistance grant of up to CA$6 million (US$5 million) to support the implementation of the loan. 

The loan is intended to support the country’s economic resilience and governance reforms. This support will help reinforce Ukraine’s economy amid Russia’s efforts to destabilize Ukraine’s economic system, which is jeopardizing peace and security in Europe. Canada has also called on Russia to de-escalate and engage in meaningful dialogue.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Canada's International Development Research Centre announces US$16 million project on women’s health related to COVID-19 pandemic

Canada’s International Development Research Center announced a new initiative called “Women RISE” (Women’s health and economic empowerment for a COVID-19 Recovery that is Inclusive, Sustainable and Equitable), valued at approximately CA$20 million (US$16 million). The initiative intends to support action-oriented research on how women’s health and their paid and unpaid work intersect in the context of responding and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Women have borne the brunt of pandemic-related labour disruptions; experts worry that without understanding the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women and identifying policies that prioritize the needs and health of women, worldwide progress on gender equality will regress. The project is aligned with the United Nations Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery, and research evidence generated by the initiative will inform immediate and medium-term solutions for post-COVID-19 recovery that will seek to improve gender equality and health equity. 

The program will launch in March 2022, and a forthcoming call for proposals will be available to fund research teams conducting gender-transformative research to understand the relationships between women’s work and health before, during, and after COVID-19. The CA$20 million (US$16 million) funding will support 20 research teams for up to 24 months.

Press release - International Development Research Centre

Canada's Trudeau appoints new Deputy Minister of International Development

On January 5, 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced changes in the senior ranks of the Canadian Public Service. Trudeau appointed Christopher MacLennan as Deputy Minister of International Development and Personal Representative of the Prime Minister for the G20 Summit. 

MacLennan has served as Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Personal Representative of the Prime Minister for the G20 since February 2020. Previously, MacLennan also served as Assistant Deputy Minister, Global Issues and Development, for Global Affairs Canada from 2017 to 2020. 

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Canada announces US$44 million in urgent humanitarian assistance for people of Afghanistan

On December 21, 2021, Harjit S. Sajjan, Canada’s Minister of International Development, announced that Canada will provide CA$56 million (US$44 million) in humanitarian funding in response to appeals from the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to support the Afghan people in 2022. 

This funding will allow Canada’s humanitarian partners to provide life-saving assistance, such as emergency food, nutrition, health, protection, and logistics services. It will also ensure that humanitarian goods are dispatched and that workers continue to be able to respond to the ongoing crisis.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Canada delivers more than 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Rwanda, Colombia, Bangladesh through COVAX

As part of Canada’s commitment to donate more than 51 million surplus vaccine doses via the COVAX initiative, Canada recently delivered more than 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Rwanda, Colombia, and Bangladesh.

Between December 18 and 21, 2021, Rwanda received 433,300 doses, Colombia received 816,000 doses, and Bangladesh received 2.2 million doses from Canada.

Twitter - Canada in Rwanda and Burundi

Twitter - Canada in Colombia

Twitter - Canada in Bangladesh

2+ million excess COVID-19 vaccine doses sit in federal Canadian reserves while country falls short of international commitments

Global vaccine equity advocates are criticizing the Canadian government over the lack of transparency and accurate tracking of Canada's excess doses and international COVID-19 vaccine pledges.

At a time when vaccine equity is crucial to stopping the spread of COVID-19, the Canadian government's central COVID-19 vaccine inventory has far exceeded its target of four million doses in recent months - at times holding more than triple that amount. Global vaccine equity advocates say the figures show that Canada kept extra doses in reserve when there was no demand for booster shots and while numerous low-income countries struggled to procure vaccines.

Over the summer, the Canadian government said it would maintain a reserve of about four million doses for Canadians to access, and any excess inventory would be donated to other countries. However, the CBC analysis of federal data shows that at its lowest, the reserve was at 6.5 million doses around mid-November, and at its highest, the stock was at more than 13 million doses. As of December 16, 2021, the federal reserve sat at approximately 6.5 million doses. The federal reserve does not include any excess vaccines in provincial or territorial reserves, which would equate to 16 million doses if combined.

As the Omicron variant spreads globally, Canadian doctors and advocates have claimed that vaccinating the world and supporting global vaccine equity is key to stopping the spread and further mutation of COVID-19. The figures highlight that Canada "absolutely could be doing a lot more" to follow through on its pledge to support vaccine procurement and distribution in low-income countries, according to Adam Houston, a medical policy and advocacy officer for Doctors Without Borders. While Canada has donated more than 9 million surplus vaccine doses through COVAX and 762,000 doses through bilateral agreements so far, Houston is concerned that Canada has not shared many doses.

News article - CBC

Canada announces US$88 million to support small scale farmers adapt to climate change in low-income countries

On December 17, 2021, Canada’s Minister of International Development, Harjit Sajjan, announced that Canada will increase its pledge to the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to CA$113 million (US$88 million) over 3 years, amounting to CA$38 million (US$29 million) per year. Sajjan made the announcement while participating in a side event at the virtual Nutrition for Growth Summit, marking a 50% increase over Canada’s previous pledge of CA$75 million (US$58 million).

This pledge intends to address the increasing frequency and severity of damaging climate change-related weather events such as floods, droughts, and wildfires, which have put small-scale farmers in low-income countries at an elevated risk of food insecurity and rural poverty. Canada’s contribution will help small-scale farmers, at least half of which are women, adapt to climate change, particularly in the context of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Additionally, Canada confirmed a loan amounting to CA$340 million (US$264 million) to support climate-smart and gender-sensitive agriculture approaches. The loan will help IFAD meet its commitment to double its impact by 2030 and make progress towards reaching the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals to combat poverty and hunger.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Press release - International Fund for Agricultural Development

Canada should do more to support informal workers in low-income countries during COVID-19 pandemic, says International Development Research Centre

A new International Development Research Centre (IDRC)-supported study analyzed how the COVID-19 pandemic impacts informal workers in low-income countries and calls on the Canadian government and other donor countries to do more to support them. 

Informal workers, such as street vendors, domestic workers, and waste pickers, comprise 90% of workers in low-income countries and have been hit hard by the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly two years into the crisis, the study finds that informal workers have faced a very slow recovery, with many still working fewer days and earning far less than pre-pandemic levels. The report found that home-based workers, the majority of whom are women, are the hardest hit - earning on average only 2% of pre-pandemic levels. 

The study emphasized that government response has been inadequate and may be doing more harm than good; it provided recommendations for how the Canadian government and other donor countries could capitalize on the opportunity to build back better by investing in a bottom-up recovery that supports informal workers.  

Report - IDRC

Canada's Trudeau sets priorities for COVID-19 recovery, climate change action, gender equality in new mandate

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, released the Minister of International Development’s Mandate Letter, which sets out the priorities for Minister Harjit Sajjan’s work on Canada’s international development portfolio on December 16, 2021. 

As Minister of International Development, Sajjan’s immediate priority under the Mandate Letter is to continue to support partner countries in their fight against COVID-19 and to support the eradication of global poverty, which includes providing humanitarian assistance and ensuring Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy aimed at addressing inequalities and empowering women and girls. The Mandate Letter outlines several commitments:

  • Increase Canada’s international development assistance every year to meet the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Continue to support access to health interventions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, including by donating at least 200 million vaccine doses to vulnerable populations around the world through COVAX by the end of 2022 and providing additional funding for enhanced testing capacity in low-income countries;
  • Implement Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy and maintain an ongoing focus on gender equality through an intersectional and feminist approach to address economic, political and social inequalities;
  • Continue to build on Canada’s support for education with a focus on greater access to inclusive, equitable and quality education for the world’s most marginalized children, including new funding for girls’ education; 
  • Continue to support women leaders and feminist groups leading efforts to promote peace and protect the rights of women and vulnerable groups, and increase funding to grassroots women’s rights organizations; 
  • Expand Canada’s efforts to advance gender equality and LGBTQ2 rights abroad; and 
  • Work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to mobilize and provide climate finance to support low-income country adaptation and mitigation efforts.

Press release - Prime Minister of Canada

Canada announces US$328 million for development projects through Volunteer Cooperation Program

On December 9, 2o21, Canada’s Minister of International Development, Harjit Sajjan, announced that Canada will renew its support for its Volunteer Cooperation Program (VCP) through a financial contribution of around CA$418 million (US$328 million) over a period of seven years, from 2020-2027. 

This contribution will fund 13 volunteer development projects in partnership with 15 Canadian organizations, and mobilize around 10,000 volunteers to work alongside over 700 organizations in 47 countries. More than 50% of the funding will be allocated to countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including but not limited to Burkina Faso, Benin, Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Togo.

Minister Sajjan made the announcement during the virtual VCP-partnered event, 'Global Resiliency and Volunteerism – A Celebration', which was held in honor of International Volunteer Day.

The funding contributes to the economic and social well-being of the most marginalized and vulnerable people, particularly women and girls in low-income countries. This focus means that the funding ties into the advancement of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, which includes Canada’s priorities such as promoting the rights of women and girls, and the inclusion and integration of marginalized groups.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Canada launches new initiatives to protect vulnerable women and girl migrants affected by irregular migration in Central America

On December 7, 2021, Canada announced that it will commit CA$10 million (US$8 million) over the next four years and work with the UN's International Organization for Migration and the UN's Refugee Agency to assist women and girls affected by irregular migration and forced displacement in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

The funding will focus on people in need of international protection, internally displaced persons, women and girls at risk of displacement, refugees, and asylum seekers. It is expected to help improve living conditions and protection mechanisms for approximately 5,000 women and girls.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

At Nutrition for Growth Summit, Canada pledges US$153 million

On December 7, 2021, at the Tokyo 2021 Nutrition for Growth Summit, Canada’s Minister of International Development, Harjit Sajjan, announced CA$195 million (US$153 million) worth of funding for 11 different projects to support some of the most vulnerable people, especially women and girls, with crucial nutrition programs. 

The funding will be implemented by Canadian and international partners and will support Canada’s efforts to address the immediate causes of malnutrition, which include unhealthy food and nutrient intake, as well as the underlying causes of malnutrition, such as food insecurity, inadequate health services, and lack of sanitation. Canada also called on other donors to make commitments that will help deliver stronger, long-term nutrition and health services to the world’s most marginalized people, especially women and girls.

Minister Sajjan also committed at the Summit to use Canada’s investments to integrate the delivery of nutrition with other essential services. To this effect, he announced an additional CA$50 million (US$40 million) for the Global Financing Facility's COVID-19 Essential Health Services to restore and sustain primary health care for the most vulnerable, including through nutrition services. 

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Twitter - Harjit Sajjan

Canada announces US$59 million grant to support global nutrition in 33 countries

On December 6, 2021, Canadian Minister of International Development Harjit Sajjan announced a three-year grant worth CA$75 million (US$59 million) to support the nutrition work of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank is a Canadian international relief and development organization, and the grant, expected to reach over 950,000 people across 33 countries, will enhance the organization’s work to end global hunger. In its 2020-21 budget year, the Foodgrains Bank provided CA$49 million (US$39 million) of food-related assistance. The grant will enable the Bank to continue providing emergency food assistance to low- and middle-income countries, which is more important than ever, as 41 million people are at risk of famine due to the COVID-19 crisis, conflict, or climate change. 

News article - Winnipeg Free Press

Twitter - Minister Harjit Sajjan

Canada's Trudeau announces new development parliamentary secretaries

On December 3, 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed a new team of parliamentary secretaries to support his recently appointed Cabinet. Parliamentary secretaries serve as key representatives of the Government and as important links between ministers and Parliament. They help advance new legislation, engage directly with Canadians on key initiatives, and represent the government internationally.

The new parliamentary secretaries relevant to international development were appointed as follows:

  • Anita Vandenbeld becomes Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development;
  • Rob Oliphant remains Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs;
  • Maninder Sidhu becomes Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs;
  • Marie-France Lalonde becomes Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; 
  • Terry Duguid remains Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change;
  • Julie Dabrusin becomes Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change;
  • Jenna Sudds becomes Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth;
  • Bryan May becomes Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence;
  • Élisabeth Brière becomes Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health;
  • Adam van Koeverden becomes Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health; and,
  • Francis Drouin becomes Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. 

Press release - Prime Minister of Canada

Press release - Prime Minister of Canada

Human rights advocates threaten legal action against Canada, Germany, Norway, UK over global COVID-19 vaccine inequality

On November 25, 2021,  human rights lawyers threatened legal action against the Canadian, German, Norwegian, and UK governments for obstructing global efforts to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines and other healthcare technologies. 

The action comes as state delegates prepare to negotiate the future global rules governing the supply of COVID-19 vaccines and other healthcare technologies at next week’s Ministerial Conference of the WTO. The development of prospective domestic lawsuits in each country will be pursued if these governments fail to support the waiver of intellectual property over COVID-19 vaccines and healthcare technologies proposed by South Africa and India in response to the pandemic at the WTO last year. The waiver of intellectual property would allow for COVID-19 vaccines to be developed by more companies, which would expand access to vaccines and healthcare technology in low- and middle-income countries that are currently struggling to access COVID-19 vaccines. 

A letter signed by multiple organizations and human rights experts warned that if Canada fails to support the intellectual property waiver, the decision could be challenged in domestic courts as a failure to implement Canada’s human rights obligations in good faith through international cooperation and that such a decision could be challenged as a violation of the right to life, security of person, and equality in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Furthermore, activists noted that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer have repeatedly emphasized that an effective global strategy is imperative to limiting the spread of COVID-19, preventing the emergence of more transmissible or deadly variants, and protecting public health globally.

Press release - Oxfam Canada

Canada announces US$255 million to improve global SRHR for women, girls

On November 24th, 2021, Canadian Minister of International Development, Harjit S. Sajjan, participated in the 27th Canadian Conference on Global Health where he announced CA$325 million (US$255 million) in funding over 5 to 7 years for eleven projects with Canadian health partners. 

The projects are intended to help key partners increase access to essential services, as well as promote gender equality and transform decision-making structures.The funding projects will focus on comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and on improving the quality of and access to integrated health services by women, adolescents, and children.

The eleven funded projects cover a wide geographical region, including the following countries: Cambodia, Kenya, the Philippines, Uganda, Zambia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Malawi, Haiti, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Jordan, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, Honduras, Bolivia, Niger, Sierra Leone, Burundi, and Rwanda. This funding is part of Canada’s ten-year commitment to global health and rights, and is intended to help deliver on Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Oxfam Canada establishes US$16 million program to promote SRHR in Mozambique, Uganda

Oxfam Canada launched a new program, titled “Stand Up for SRHR”, valued at approximately CA$21 million (US$16 million) to support sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for marginalized and vulnerable young women and adolescent girls in Mozambique and Uganda

Over its six-year duration, the program will work with local and grassroots activists to raise awareness on key challenges including sexual and gender-based violence and child and early forced marriage. Furthermore, it will build capacity among local health systems to provide quality services related to family planning, abortion, prenatal care, sexual health testing, and sexual and gender-based violence support.

Press release - Oxfam Canada

Canadian Governor General commits to increase ODA each year, focuses on climate change

On November 23rd, 2021, Canadian Governor General Mary Simon delivered a forward-looking Speech from the Throne to open the First Session of Canada’s 44th Parliament. The speech included a promise to “fight for a secure, just, and equitable world,” including strengthening international partnerships and increasing Canada’s foreign assistance budget each year. 

The speech emphasized that official development assistance (ODA) will continue to focus on sustainable, equitable, and feminist development that benefits the most vulnerable and promotes gender equality globally. In addition to the promise to increase Canada’s ODA, Simon's speech highlighted Canada’s intention to engage with international partners, coalitions, and organizations to fight climate change, respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, combat authoritarianism, and reinforce international peace, security, democracy, and respect for human rights.

Speech from the Throne - Government of Canada 

Press release - Government of Canada

Op-ed - Cooperation Canada

Canada’s International Development Research Centre funds COVID-19 research projects on risk factors, artificial intelligence

Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is funding two new research projects in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the projects focuses on artificial intelligence (AI) and its possible role in pandemic public health decision-making in several countries across Africa, while the other project focuses on investigating risk factors contributing to COVID-19 infections. 

IDRC is funding AI for decision-making projects and working with research teams in Botswana, Nigeria, Eswatini, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa to develop data-powered official dashboards, which are viewed by more than 20,000 people daily. Researchers use the findings to inform COVID-19 policies and vaccine roll-out strategies, often working directly with policymakers on the ground. They also use findings to support communication strategies that address misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, prevention, and treatments to improve the public's knowledge about the pandemic. The project is co-funded by Sweden and is part of the Global South AI4COVID Program, which funds and facilitates multidisciplinary research focused on evidence-based AI approaches to support COVID-19 responses in low- and middle-income countries. 

Furthermore, the IDRC is funding a project through McMaster University’s Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) to study the causes of COVID-19 infections. To date, the team has collected information from 30,000 adults in 19 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Zimbabwe) on five continents. Early results of the study are showing that obesity is one of the most important risk factors contributing to a COVID-19 infection and that the pandemic had the greatest financial impact on people in low-income countries. The study is projected to continue for an additional year at least, depending on the course of the pandemic.

Press release - IDRC

Press release - IDRC