Canada

Canada’s development co-operation seeks to eradicate poverty and build a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. Canada believes that promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls is the most effective approach to achieving this goal. In 2018, bilateral assistance made up three quarters of official development assistance (ODA) through multilateral organisations, the public sector and Canadian non-governmental organisations (NGOs). One-third of gross bilateral ODA supported least developed countries (LDCs). Global Affairs Canada leads and delivers the majority of Canada’s ODA.

The 2018 OECD-DAC peer review praised Canada’s focus on empowering women and girls, and its efforts to contribute to sustainable development, promote global goods and respond to global risks. It noted that Canada is a good humanitarian donor. The review recommended that Canada increase its ODA and ensure that its domestic policies and regulations do not negatively impact on developing countries. An OECD-DAC mid-term review of Canada’s development co-operation is planned for 2021. Learn more about the 2018 OECD-DAC peer review of Canada.

Guided by its Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada’s six priority action areas include: 1) gender equality, which is critical to achieving the others; 2) human dignity; 3) growth that works for everyone; 4) environment and climate action; 5) inclusive governance; and 6) peace and security. The Policy helps address the needs of those living in poverty, inequality and conflict and seeks to offer real opportunities to make a lasting difference in the lives of women and girls. Canada’s ODA Accountability Act requires ODA to focus on poverty reduction in a manner consistent with Canadian values and aid effectiveness principles.

Canada provided more ODA in 2019 than in the previous year. Total ODA on a grant-equivalent basis stood at USD 4.7 billion (preliminary data), representing 0.27% of Canada’s gross national income (GNI) in 2019.1 The increase of 0.5% in real terms from 2018 was mainly due to an exceptional contribution to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and budget increases to the international assistance envelope. Canada ranked 16th among DAC member countries in relation to its ODA/GNI ratio in 2019. The government has no specific plan in place to move towards the UN target of 0.7% ODA/GNI. Under the cash-flow methodology used in the past, net ODA was USD 4.51 billion in 2019. Within Canada’s gross ODA portfolio in 2019 (USD 4.69 billion), 96.4% was provided in the form of grants and 3.6% in the form of non-grants.2

While Canada’s ODA has increased since 2016, it has yet to return to 2012 levels (USD 4.7 billion in constant 2018 prices), when it represented 0.32% of its GNI. In 2018 Canada reached its target to spend not less than 95% of bilateral ODA commitments in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment (Canada’s Statistical Report on International Assistance 2018-2019 for further details). See also the methodological notes for details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied.

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In 2018, Canada provided the largest proportion of its ODA bilaterally. Gross bilateral ODA was 76% of total ODA, of which 36% was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Core contributions to multilateral organisations were 24% of total ODA.

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In 2018, Canada increased its total support (core and earmarked contributions) to multilateral organisations. It provided USD 2.4 billion of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 9.9% in real terms from 2017. Of this, USD 1.1 billion was core multilateral ODA and the non-core contributions were earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project aid earmarked for a specific project or purpose accounted for 51% of Canada’s non-core contributions, while the remaining 49% was softly earmarked (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds). An important portion of Canada’s project-type non-core aid is designated for specific emergency appeals through the multilateral system (e.g. the World Food Programme).3

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Note: This figure unpacks non-core contributions, referring to them as tightly earmarked and softly earmarked contributions.

In 2018, Canada’s total contribution to multilateral organisations was mainly allocated to the UN, the World Bank Group and regional development banks. These contributions together accounted for more than 82% of Canada’s total support to the multilateral system. The UN system received 40% of total multilateral contributions, mainly through earmarked contributions. Out of a total gross volume of USD 968 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Canada’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were: the World Food Programme (USD 239 million), the United Nations Children’s Fund (USD 153 million) and the United Nations Population Fund (USD 115 million).

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Note: See the list of UN acronyms.

See the section on “Geographic and thematic focus of ODA” for the geographical and thematic breakdown of bilateral allocations earmarked through the multilateral development system. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

In 2018, Canada increased its bilateral spending compared to the previous year. It provided USD 3.5 billion as gross bilateral ODA (including earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations), which represented an increase of 9.6% in real terms from 2017.

In 2019, providers of development co-operation started voluntarily reporting to the OECD data on how ODA focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals for 2018 activities. In 2018, Canada focused most of its bilateral ODA on addressing the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for poverty eradication, climate action, reducing inequality, gender equality and health.

In 2018, country programmable aid was 32% of Canada’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 49%. In-donor refugee costs were USD 506 million in 2018, an increase of 6.1% in real terms over 2017, and represented 11% of Canada’s total net ODA.

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Note: NGO: non-governmental organisation.

In 2018, Canada channelled its bilateral ODA mainly through multilateral organisations, as earmarked funding, and the public sector.

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Note: NGO: non-governmental organisation; PPP: public-private partnership.

In 2018, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 933 million of gross bilateral ODA. One per cent of gross bilateral ODA was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 25% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by Canada (earmarked funding). Between 2017 and 2018, core and earmarked contributions to CSOs decreased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 28% to 26%. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs and civil society engagement in development co-operation.

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In 2018, Canada’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Africa and Asia. USD 1.3 billion was allocated to Africa and USD 1.0 billion to Asia, accounting respectively for 38% and 29% of gross bilateral ODA. Africa was also the main regional recipient of Canada’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations. Canada committed to direct no less than 50% of its bilateral development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa by 2021-22. According to Canada’s calculations it had reached 45% in 2018-2019. Nineteen per cent of gross bilateral ODA was unspecified by region in 2018.

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Bilateral ODA by recipient country

In 2018, 25% of gross bilateral ODA went to Canada’s top 10 recipients, seven of which are fragile contexts. In addition, Jordan hosts a sizeable refugee population from the Syrian Arab Republic. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 46% – support for regional programmes contribute to 58% of this share of ODA not allocated by country and one third is expenditure for hosting refugees in Canada.

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In 2018, the LDCs directly received 30.2% of Canada’s total gross bilateral ODA (USD 1.1 billion). This is greater than the DAC country average of 23.8%. Canada allocated 16.9% of gross bilateral ODA to lower middle-income countries in 2018. When including regional funding Canada estimates between 45 and 58% of total bilateral gross ODA benefitted LDCs. Canada allocated 3.1% of gross bilateral ODA to small island developing states in 2018, equal to USD 109 million.

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Note: LDC: least developed country; LIC: low-income country; LMIC: lower middle-income country; UMIC: upper middle-income country; MADCTs: more advanced developing countries and territories.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 1.4 billion of gross bilateral ODA in 2018 (38.7% of gross bilateral ODA). Extremely fragile contexts received 58.7% of this amount. Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

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Note: The chart represents only gross bilateral ODA that is allocated by country.

In 2018, most of Canada’s bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 40% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 1.3 billion), with a focus on support to government and civil society (USD 513 million), population policies/programmes and reproductive health (USD 343 million), health (USD 215 million), and education (USD 207 million). ODA for economic infrastructure and services totalled USD 326 million, with a focus on energy (USD 222 million). Bilateral humanitarian aid amounted to USD 422 million (13% of bilateral ODA). Earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused on social infrastructure and services, economic infrastructure and services, and humanitarian aid in 2018.

Canada committed USD 6.3 million of ODA to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries, amounting to 0.2% of bilateral allocable aid in 2018. Canada committed USD 578.1 million (22.4% of bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy.

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In 2018, Canada committed 93% of its bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment as either a principal or significant objective (up from 87% in 2017),4 compared with the DAC country average of 42%. This is equal to USD 2.3 billion of bilateral ODA commitments in support of gender equality. Out of this, the share of bilateral allocable aid committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal objective was 19%, compared with the DAC country average of 4%. Canada screens virtually all activities against the gender marker (96.3% in 2018). Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality.

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In 2018, Canada committed 42% of its bilateral allocable aid (USD 1.1 billion) in support of the environment as either a principal or significant objective, up from 38% in 2017 (the DAC country average was 33%). Twenty-three per cent focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC country average of 11%. Twenty-four per cent (USD 631 million) focused on climate change as either a principal or significant objective, up from 17% in 2017 (the DAC country average was 26%). Canada had a similar focus on adaptation (24%) and on mitigation (22%) in 2018. Learn more about climate-related development finance.

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In 2018, Canada mobilised USD 39.6 million from the private sector through direct investment in companies or project finance special purpose vehicles (SPVs), syndicated loans and simple co-financing with the private sector – mainly by means of facilities administered by multilateral development banks.

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Note: CIV: collective investment vehicle; SPV: special purpose vehicle.

Of the country-allocable finance mobilised from the private sector in 2017-18, 88% targeted middle-income countries and 12% targeted the LDCs.

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Note: LDC: least developed country; LMIC: lower middle-income country; UMIC: upper middle-income country; MADCTs: more advanced developing countries and territories.

Canada’s private finance mobilised in 2017-18 almost exclusively related to activities in the energy sector (98%). Learn more about the amounts mobilised from the private sector for development.

Global Affairs Canada leads Canada’s development co-operation efforts. It provides bilateral ODA, institutional support to multilateral organisations, humanitarian assistance, and support for security and stabilisation in fragile and conflict-affected countries. Finance Canada manages Canada’s relationship with the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and multilateral and bilateral debt relief. The International Development Research Centre invests in knowledge, innovation and solutions to improve lives and livelihoods in developing countries. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the provinces and territories support refugees arriving in Canada. An additional 15 federal departments support development co-operation, the largest contributors being the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Department of National Defence, and the Canada Revenue Agency.

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The Results and Evaluation Bureau in Global Affairs Canada oversees all evaluation functions for Canada’s development co-operation, including the International Assistance Evaluation Division, which evaluates all programmes funded from the international assistance envelope, and the Diplomacy, Trade and Corporate Evaluation Division, which evaluates other programmes by Global Affairs Canada. In addition, the Diplomacy, Trade and Corporate Evaluation Division hosts the Evaluation Services Unit, which provides advice and supports the decentralised evaluations that programme branches across the department may commission. The Performance Measurement and Evaluation Committee provides independent review and advice on all evaluations to ensure their neutrality. Learn more about evaluation in Canada.

The bureau is currently evaluating Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls in the Middle East and conducting country evaluations of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Peru, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia. In this fiscal year, Canada will launch evaluations of the Partnerships for Development Innovation, Development Assistance in Middle Income Countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Women’s Voice and Leadership, and a country evaluation of Haiti. Read Canada’s evaluation plan.

Visit the DAC Evaluation Resource Centre for evaluations of Canadian development co-operation.

Explore the Monitoring Dashboard of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.

Government of Canada: Global issues and international assistance: https://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/issues_development-enjeux_developpement/index.aspx?lang=eng

Government of Canada: Statistical Report on International Assistance, Fiscal Year 2018-2019: https://www.international.gc.ca/gac-amc/assets/pdfs/publications/sria-rsai-2018-19-en.pdf

International Development Research Centre: https://www.idrc.ca/fr

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) since 1960.

The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including the grant-equivalent methodology, core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, country programmable aid, channels of delivery, bilateral ODA unspecified/unallocated, bilateral allocable aid, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.

← 1. DAC members adopted the grant-equivalent methodology starting from their reporting of 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the provider’s effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. All 2019 statistics in this paragraph are expressed in current prices and, therefore, they may differ from values in the ODA volume chart, which uses constant prices. Non-grants include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment and loans to the private sector.

← 3. According to DAC reporting directives, project-type aid is a set of inputs, activities and outputs to reach specific objectives within a defined time frame, budget, and geographical area.

← 4. The use of the recommended minimum criteria for the marker by some members in recent years can result in lower levels of aid reported as being focused on gender equality. This does not apply to Canada which was already applying a similar approach.

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https://doi.org/10.1787/2dcf1367-en

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