Canada’s development co-operation seeks to eradicate poverty and build a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. It believes that promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls is the most effective approach to achieving this goal. Global Affairs Canada is also focused on improving how Canada delivers international assistance by making it more effective and locally led. Canada’s total official development assistance (ODA) (USD 7.8 billion, preliminary data) increased in 2022 due to exceptional support to Ukraine and its pandemic response in developing countries, increased costs for in-donor refugees as well as higher contributions to international organisations, representing 0.37% of gross national income (GNI).

Find the methodological notes behind the profile here.

Guided by its Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada’s six priority action areas are: 1) gender equality, which is critical to achieving the others; 2) human dignity (health and nutrition, education, gender-responsive humanitarian action); 3) growth that works for everyone; 4) environment and climate action; 5) inclusive governance; and 6) peace and security. Canada recognises that in addition to addressing multidimensional poverty, gender inequality intersects with other dimensions of exclusion, discrimination and marginalisation. Canada’s ODA Accountability Act requires that ODA support poverty eradication efforts, consider the perspectives of the poor and be consistent with human rights standards. ODA must also be consistent with Canadian values, Canadian foreign policy, aid effectiveness principles, sustainable development, and promotion of democracy and international human rights standards.

As part of its policy toolkit, Canada’s Multilateral Development Strategy is designed to enhance international co-operation and address mutual challenges through a co-operative equitable, and rules-based international system. This high-level framework sets forth objectives and actions to balance Canada's commitments and priorities with the need for effective and accountable multilateral co-operation. Canada continues to pursue a multi-track approach towards strategic engagement with multilateral partners, including bilateral meetings, strategic dialogues, and regular participation in governing boards and executive committees.

The 2021 OECD-DAC mid-term review found that the Feminist International Assistance Policy provides clear direction to Canada and its partners. In response to the 2018 DAC Peer Review recommendations, Canada has increased financial delegations, broadened engagement with civil society organisations (CSOs) and is addressing remaining amalgamation challenges. The review encouraged Canada to articulate its views on a modern understanding of development effectiveness, contribute to the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) discussion on effective multilateral engagement, be more systematic in analysing domestic policies with spillover effects on developing countries, streamline application processes and reporting, and continue to undertake efforts to increase its international assistance to 2030. Learn more about Canada’s 2021 mid-term review.

Canada provided USD 7.8 billion (preliminary data) of ODA in 2022 (USD 7.5 billion in constant terms), representing 0.37% of GNI.1 This was an increase of 19.2% in real terms in volume and an increase in share of GNI from 0.32% in 2021, mainly due to support to Ukraine and the global pandemic response, in-donor refugee costs and increased contributions to international organisations. Canada’s ODA volume and its share of GNI have risen since 2016. While the government has no specific plan to move towards the United Nations target of 0.7% ODA/GNI, the Minister of International Development is tasked with increasing Canada’s international development assistance every year towards 2030 to realise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Within Canada’s ODA portfolio in 2021, 90.1% was provided in the form of grants and 9.9% in the form of non-grants.2

In 2022, Canada ranked 6th in terms of ODA volume and 16th among DAC countries when ODA is taken as a share of GNI. Canada screens all activities against the DAC gender equality policy marker and committed the highest share of bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment (90%). It also ranked first in terms of the volume of ODA provided to end violence against women and girls (USD 72.7 million). Amongst DAC countries that have reported their contribution in preliminary statistics, Canada provided the second-largest volume of humanitarian aid for Ukraine in 2022 (USD 214.9 million). All of Canada’s ODA to countries covered by the DAC Recommendation on Untying ODA was reported as untied in 2021.

Canada is committed to several international targets, Development Assistance Committee standards and recommendations. Learn more about DAC recommendations.

Canada provided a higher share of its ODA bilaterally in 2021. Gross bilateral ODA was 78.4% of total ODA. Fifty-one per cent of gross bilateral ODA was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Canada allocated 21.6% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2022, Canada provided USD 2.4 billion of gross bilateral ODA to Ukraine to respond to the impacts of Russia’s war of aggression, of which USD 214.9 million was humanitarian assistance (preliminary data). In 2021, it provided USD 37 million.

In 2022, Canada provided USD 742.5 million in ODA for the COVID-19 response. Regarding COVID-19 vaccines, donations of excess doses to developing countries accounted for USD 107.9 million of ODA. In 2020 and 2021, Canada’s total bilateral support for COVID-19 response was USD 321.3 million and USD 1.6 billion, respectively.

In 2021, Canada provided USD 3.9 billion of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 30.0% in real terms from 2020. Of this, USD 1.4 billion was core multilateral ODA, while non-core contributions were earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project-type funding earmarked for a specific theme and/or country accounted for 20.8% of Canada’s non-core contributions, and 79.2% was programmatic funding (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

Sixty-four per cent of Canada’s total contributions to multilateral organisations in 2021 was allocated to the UN system and the World Bank (in descending order).

The UN system received 45.4% of Canada’s multilateral contributions, mainly in the form of earmarked contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 1.8 billion to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Canada’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were UNICEF (USD 388.4 million), WFP (USD 354 million) and IFAD (USD 191.5 million).

See the section on Geographic and sectoral focus of ODA for the breakdown of bilateral allocations, including ODA earmarked through the multilateral development system. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

In 2021, Canada’s bilateral spending increased compared to the previous year. It provided USD 5 billion of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented an increase of 9.9% in real terms from 2020. In 2021, Canada focused most of its bilateral ODA on health and well-being, ending poverty, and gender equality goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

In 2021, country programmable aid was 21.3% of Canada's gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 45.2% of gross bilateral ODA. In-donor refugee costs were USD 463.6 million in 2021, a decrease of 36.4% in real terms over 2020, and represented 9.3% of Canada’s gross bilateral ODA.

Canada disbursed USD 24.7 million for triangular co-operation in 2021. Its regional priority is Africa, with a focus on government & civil society. Learn more about triangular co-operation and specific projects at the OECD’s voluntary triangular co-operation project repository.

In 2021, Canada channelled bilateral ODA mainly through multilateral organisations and the public sector as earmarked funding. Technical co-operation made up 10.2% of gross ODA in 2021.

In 2021, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 1 billion of gross bilateral ODA. One per cent of gross bilateral ODA was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 19.5% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the donor (earmarked funding). From 2020 to 2021, the combined core and earmarked contributions for CSOs decreased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 27.8% to 20.8%. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs, civil society engagement in development co-operation, and the DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid.

In 2021, Canada’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Africa. USD 2.2 billion was allocated to Africa and USD 883.3 million to Asia (excluding the Middle East), accounting respectively for 43.2% and 17.7% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 779.5 million (15.7%) was allocated to Latin America and the Caribbean. Africa was also the main regional recipient of Canada’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2021, 17.3% of gross bilateral ODA went to Canada’s top 10 recipients, nine of which are fragile contexts. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 57.8%, with 16.1% of this unallocated bilateral ODA spent on refugees in the donor country.

In 2021, the least developed countries (LDCs) received 24.5% of Canada’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 1.2 billion). This is about the same as the DAC average of 22.9%. Canada allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (24.5%) to least developed countries in 2021, noting that 57.8% was unallocated by income group. Within bilateral ODA that was unallocated, Canada estimates that 31%, or USD 895 million, was directed to the LDCs. When including regional funding, Canada estimates that more than 42% of bilateral gross ODA benefitted LDCs. Canada allocated 12.7% of gross bilateral ODA to land-locked developing countries in 2021, equal to USD 631.2 million. Canada allocated 1.6% of gross bilateral ODA to small island developing states (SIDS) in 2021, equal to USD 81.4 million.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 1.5 billion in 2021, representing 30.8% of Canada’s gross bilateral ODA. Thirty-five per cent of this ODA was provided in the form of humanitarian assistance, increasing from 28.4% in 2020, while 15.2% was allocated to peace, decreasing from 19.3% in 2020. Three per cent went to conflict prevention, a subset of contributions to peace, representing a decrease from 4.1% in 2020.

Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

In 2021, slightly more than half of Canada’s bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 54.4% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 2.9 billion), with a strong focus on support to health (USD 1.7 billion), education (USD 566.3 million) and government and civil society (USD 526 million). ODA for production sectors totalled 6.3% (USD 338.3 million), with a focus on agriculture, forestry, and fishing (USD 296 million). ODA for economic infrastructure and services totalled 5% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 265.7 million), focusing on energy (USD 120.7 million). Bilateral humanitarian assistance amounted to USD 841.2 million (15.7% of bilateral ODA). In 2021, earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused on health, emergency response and education.

In the calendar years 2020 and 2021, Canada committed 90% of its screened bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment, as either a principal or significant objective (down from 92.4% in 2018-19, compared with the 2020-21 DAC average of 44.4%). This is equal to USD 3.4 billion of bilateral ODA in support of gender equality. The share of screened bilateral allocable aid committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal objective was 15% in 2020-21, compared with the DAC average of 4.5%. Canada includes gender equality objectives in 99.3% of its ODA for humanitarian aid, compared with the 2020-21 DAC average of 17.5%. Canada screens all activities against the DAC gender equality policy marker (100% in 2020-21). Canada committed USD 72.7 million of ODA to end violence against women and girls and USD 77 million to support women’s rights organisations and movements and government institutions in 2020-21. Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality, the DAC Network on Gender Equality and the DAC Recommendation on Ending Sexual Exploitation in Development Co-operation.

In 2020-21, Canada committed 31.3% of its total bilateral allocable aid (USD 1.2 billion) in support of the environment and the Rio Conventions (DAC average of 34.3%), down from 34.1% in 2018-19. Unpacking the environmental data further:

  • Fourteen per cent of screened bilateral allocable aid focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC average of 11.3%.

  • Sixteen per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 592 million) focused on climate change overall (the DAC average was 29%), down from 19.5% in 2018-19. Canada had a slightly greater focus on mitigation (11.4%) than on adaptation (10.6%) in 2020-21.

  • Four per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 136.2 million) focused on biodiversity (compared with the DAC average of 6.5%), up from 2.8% in 2018-19.

Learn more about climate-related development finance and the DAC Declaration on Aligning Development Co-operation with the Goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The OECD initiative Sustainable Oceans for All shows that Canada committed USD 29.7 million in support of the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean in 2021, up from USD 15.6 million in 2020. The 2021 value is equivalent to 0.6% of Canada’s bilateral allocable aid. Learn more about development co-operation in support of a sustainable ocean economy and the data platform on development finance for a sustainable ocean economy.

In 2021, Canada also:

  • Committed USD 6.5 million of bilateral ODA to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries, amounting to 0.1% of its bilateral allocable aid. Regarding the payment of local tax and custom duties for ODA-funded goods and services, Canada generally seeks exemptions. It does not have a general policy and it makes information available on the OECD Digital Transparency Hub on the Tax Treatment of ODA.

  • Committed USD 604 million (13.2% of its bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2021. Canada is among the top 10 official providers of aid for trade globally.

  • Committed USD 459.2 million (10% of its bilateral allocable aid) to address the immediate or underlying determinants of malnutrition in developing countries across a variety of sectors, such as maternal health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) or agriculture.

  • Committed USD 799.5 million (17.4% of its bilateral allocable aid) to development co-operation projects and programmes that promote the inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities.

Canada uses leveraging mechanisms to mobilise private finance for sustainable development. In 2021, Canada’s DFI, FinDev Canada, and Global Affairs Canada mobilised USD 327.5 million from the private sector through direct investment in companies and special purpose vehicles, syndicated loans, shares in collective investment vehicles, and guarantees.

In 2020-21, 84.6% of mobilised private finance by Canada targeted middle-income countries and 2.5% LDCs and other low-income countries (LICs), noting that 12.8% was unallocated by income. During the same period, the top beneficiary region of this financing was the Americas (50.3% of the total).

Mobilised private finance by Canada in 2020-21 mainly benefited activities in energy (48.3%) and banking and financial services (36.3%). Furthermore, over this period, 56.1% of Canada’s total mobilised private finance was for climate action.

Learn more about the amounts mobilised from the private sector for development.

In 2021, Canada’s DFI FinDev extended USD 84 million in the form of private sector instruments. Of this, loans represented 95.8%, whereas equities accounted for 4.2%.

In 2021, 71.7% were allocated to middle-income countries, in particular, upper-middle-income countries (59.4%). The remainder of USD 23.8 million was unallocated by income.

The top three recipients included Brazil, Costa Rica and Peru, accounting for 56% of Canada’s private sector instruments to developing countries in 2021.

In terms of sectoral distribution, 95.8% of Canada’s private sector instruments were extended in support of projects in banking and financial services, with the remainder unspecified. None of this financing focused on climate change mitigation and/or adaptation.

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 16 federal departments support development co-operation. Global Affairs Canada is undertaking a series of actions to support a highly skilled and diverse workforce for the delivery of Canada’s international assistance. This includes the development and analysis of new information related to its human resources, which will allow for more comprehensive reporting in the 2024 DCR profile.

In line with Canada’s Policy for Civil Society Partnerships for International Assistance Policy, Global Affairs Canada regularly consults and engages stakeholders through formal and ad hoc mechanisms on sectors (e.g., health, education) and topics such as aid effectiveness, grants and contributions transformation, nexus, and innovation. Important mechanisms for consulting stakeholders are thematic working groups, such as on aid effectiveness or civil society policy. CSOs active in development co-operation, humanitarian assistance and global citizenship education are co-ordinated through the umbrella body Cooperation Canada.

Internal systems and processes help ensure the effective delivery of Canada’s development co-operation. Select features are shown in the table below.

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation monitoring exercise tracks the implementation of the effectiveness commitments. Following a reform of the exercise during 2020-22, the 4th global monitoring round (2023-26) has resumed. More detailed results for Canada based on the 2016 and 2018 Monitoring Rounds can be found here. Monitoring profiles for other providers are available: here.

2021 OECD-DAC mid-term review of Canada:

2018 OECD-DAC peer review of Canada:

Global Affairs Canada (2021), Departmental Results Report, 2020-2021:

Government of Canada: Global issues and international assistance:

Government of Canada (2008), Official Development Assistance Accountability Act, S.C. 2008, c. 17.:

Government of Canada: Statistical Report on International Assistance, Fiscal Year 2020-2021:

Government of Canada: Report to Parliament on the Government of Canada’s international assistance 2020-2021:

International Development Research Centre:

CSO umbrella organisation Cooperation Canada:

Canada’s practices on the Development Co-operation TIPs · Tools Insights Practices learning platform:

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 2019 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. Non-grants include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment, reimbursable grants and loans to the private sector.

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