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Analysis of Canada’s 2017-18 Development Spending

Published: April 16, 2019

This analysis is based on the GAC Statistical Report on International Assistance for the fiscal 2017-18.

What does the data show?

  • Canada’s total international assistance level increased approx. 8.8% compared to the previous fiscal year and is now over CAD$6 billion. Consequently ODA reported to the OECD-DAC is also higher by approx. 9.2% (in CAD and on a fiscal yr basis).
  • The main source of Canadian aid spending is the International Assistance Envelope (IAE). Three main factors explain the increase: increased budgetary allocations to the IAE in recent years which lead to an increase in IAE funded programs implemented primarily via Global Affairs Canada (GAC); and a larger increase in percentage terms in non-IAE expenditures, primarily in two areas – refugee costs, and initial capitalization of the new development finance institution (DFI).
  • These are analyzed briefly below and relevant figures comparing 2017-18 vs 2016-17 fiscal years are provided thereafter.

Increase in IAE funded expenditures

Total reported international assistance for 2017-18 is CAD$6.09 billion, compared to CAD$5.6 billion in 2016-17. This represents an 8.8%  level increase compared with 2017. Representing an increase of approx CAD$491.3 million.

IAE funded expenditures are the main contributing factor. This is consistent with the additions to the IAE in recent federal budgets. IAE funded expenditures increased from CAD$4.7 billion in 2016-17 to approx. CAD$5.09 billion in 2017-18, an increase of 6.6%. IAE expenditures increased approx. CAD$317 million. GAC accounts for the largest share of this increase or approx. CAD$256 million.

Increase in non-IAE funded expenditures

Non-IAE expenditures, while a smaller contributor overall as the IAE is the main source of assistance spending, increased at a much faster rate. Non-IAE expenditures were up over 20%, from approx. CAD$830 million in the previous year to just over CAD$1 billion in 2017-18. Representing an increase of approx. CAD$ 174 million. This is primarily due to 2 factors:

  • Total in-donor refugee costs (both federal and provincial) increased by approx. CAD$50 million, to CAD$655.7 million, or approx 11% of total assistance. 
  • CAD$100 million towards the initial capitalization of the new DFI, FinDev Canada. 
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