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Analysis of Canada’s 2019-20 Development Spending

Published: April 27, 2021

This analysis is based on the GAC Statistical Report on International Assistance for the fiscal 2019-20 years. Interactive data can be viewed and downloaded here.

What does the data show?

  • Canada’s total international assistance level increased approx. 3.6% (by CAD$229.9M) compared to the previous fiscal year and is now CAD$6.6 billion. Consequently ODA reported to the OECD-DAC is also higher by approx. 3.7% (in CAD and on a fiscal yr basis). The increase in Canada’s international assistance is largely explained by two non-IAE funded expenditures: increased contributions to in-country refugee costs and a CAD$100M contribution to FinDev Canada.
  • The main source of Canadian aid spending is the International Assistance Envelope (IAE), which decreased by CAD$84.2 million from CAD$5.60 billion in 2018-19 to approx. CAD$5.52 billion in 2019-20. One main factor explains the IAE’s decrease: reduced allocations to large multilateral institutions, compared to last fiscal year
  • These factors are analyzed briefly below and relevant figures comparing 2019-20 vs 2018-19 fiscal years are provided thereafter.

Increases in non-IAE funded expenditures are the main driver of increases in Canada’s overall 2019-20 international assistance

Non-IAE expenditures, while a smaller contributor overall (12% in 2019-20), is responsible for the most of the CAD$229.9M increase in Canada’s international assistance for 2019-20. Non-IAE expenditures were up 40%, from approx. CAD$792 million in the previous year to just over CAD$1.1 billion in 2019-20. This is primarily due to two factors:

Decreases in contributions to multilateral institutions reduced the 2019-20 IAE

Finance Canada manages Canada’s core contributions to multilateral institutions such as the World Bank Group (including the International Development Association), the International Monetary Fund, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, in addition to  debt relief initiatives.

Last fiscal year, Finance Canada’s core contributions to multilateral institutions reached CAD$796.6 million in 2018-19. The increase was largely due to an exceptional contribution to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

In the 2019-20 fiscal period, however, Finance Canada’s core contributions reached CAD$544.6 million. This represents a reduction of CAD$252.0 million, or a 31.6% decrease over last year’s Finance Canada 2017-18 expenditures.

ODA based on OECD DAC data

The OECD DAC data presents an opportunity to benchmark Canada’s performance against DAC donors. Below are some highlighted datapoints from CIDP’s comparison of Canada using the 2020 OECD DAC statistics:

  • Canada’s ODA/gross national income (GNI) ratio now stands at 0.31% — significantly higher than last year (0.27%). This ratio is below the OECD-DAC weighted average of 0.32% and the unweighted DAC average country effort of 0.41%.
  • Canada is the 8th largest OECD-DAC donor in volume terms. Canada’s rank has been as high as 6th in 2012.
  • Using the ODA/GNI ratio Canada now ranks 13th among the 29 DAC members, up from 16th in 2019.
  • In 2020, in-donor refugee costs comprised 12.5% of Canadian ODA, the highest proportion for a donor in the DAC donor
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