Thank you for agreeing to serve Canadians. From coast to coast to coast, people understand the gravity of the global challenges we are currently facing – the global pandemic, climate emergency, economic injustice, and rising inequality. Canada is challenged to help solve these global challenges: our health, our environment, and our economy can’t wait. We need long-term solutions for long-term prosperity. Our prosperity must lead us ever so closer to the reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and racial justice because we cannot build our “today” on the sacrifices of “tomorrow.”
Our four main priorities for making tangible progress of Canadians continue to be: protecting public health, ensuring a strong economic recovery, promoting a cleaner environment, and standing up for fairness and equality. We cannot deliver on these promises in isolation – we must be working with our global partners to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. Canadians sent the message that they want the Government to deliver on lasting solutions, and that’s exactly what we will do. Strategic and coordinated global interventions are our best hope to end the pandemic and build stronger, more inclusive, and more resilient societies.
A more concentrated and deliberate attempt must be made to strengthen the project of the reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in Canada and abroad. You, and indeed all ministers, must play an important role in helping to advance self-determination, close socio-economic gaps and eliminate systemic barriers facing First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples in Canada, as well as Indigenous Peoples around the world. Canada’s domestic and international efforts towards the reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples must be coherent and account for historical injustices and ongoing systems of oppression undertaken in the name of development and Canada’s economic and trade interests. As Minister, we expect you to work in full partnership with Indigenous Peoples and communities to advance meaningful reconciliation.
Addressing our global climate emergency cannot be an afterthought. Our domestic policies must be geared towards reducing our emissions as we remain aligned with global frameworks, such as the Paris Climate Accords, which represent our best chance of delivering a global solution to a global problem affecting us all, while disproportionately impacting the most marginalized groups.
We remain committed to evidence-based decision-making that takes into consideration the impacts of policies on all Canadians and fully defends the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You will apply Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in the decisions that you make and consider public policies through a feminist intersectional lens in order to address systemic inequities including: systemic racism; unconscious bias; gender-based discrimination; ableism; discrimination against LGBTQ2S+ communities; and inequities faced by all marginalized groups. You will work to improve the quality and availability of disaggregated data to ensure that policy decisions benefit all communities.
The human rights-based approach must also consider Canada’s linguistic diversity, particularly as it relates to Canada’s official languages, as well as the importance of meaningfully engaging civil society actors and other formal and informal groups such as organized labour, the charitable and non-profit sector, private sector, media and academia across Canada. These groups should be consulted from the agenda-setting to implementation of Canada’s efforts, in a predictable and dignifying manner. The human rights-based approach and the principle of self-determination are also central for the achievement of the FIAP. Canada’s first feminist policy for global engagement requires investment in initiatives that address root causes of inequality, poverty and conflict, and power asymmetries and leverage the interdependence of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
As Minister of International Development, you will work in coordination with the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Environment and Climate Change, National Defence, International Trade Diversification, National Revenue and Families, Children and Social Development, Women and Gender Equality, among other relevant ministries with the objective of ensuring Canada’s coherent global engagement as well as consistency across domestic and international interventions. You will implement on a priority basis the following commitments:
- Present a coherent roadmap for raising Canada’s official development assistance (ODA) to the international standard of 0.7 ODA to gross national income (GNI). This is needed to achieve the Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) and meet the rising humanitarian needs and the neglected targets of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Canada currently allocates only 30 cents for every 100 dollars of national income towards investments in global solutions to our shared challenges.
- Commit additional long-term, flexible funding to address unprecedented levels of global hunger and meet Canada’s commitments to the G7 Famine Compact.
- Increase international assistance to LGBTQ+ issues and human rights to at least $20 million per year.
- Leverage the existing evidence on development effectiveness by investing in early warning, preparedness, and locally ledemergency responses to mitigate and prevent existing and future crises and address the worsening humanitarian situation around the world.
- Ensure that Canada’s international assistance is effective by issuing flexible and predictable funding and prioritizing the decision-making and financial control of local actors and the communities the FIAP seeks to support. Continue to enhance efficiencies in international assistance funding mechanisms which are congruent with feminist practice.
- Work with your Deputy Minister to ensure that Global Affairs Canada is fit for purpose, including the department’s ability to adapt to a shifting landscape of international cooperation, advance racial justice within its intersectional feminist approaches and integrate mechanisms for the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.
- With the support of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and the Minister of Health, address the vaccine injustice, by investing in a global access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and strengthened public health systems.
- Support historically disadvantaged countries with their COVID-19 economic recovery, which is a requisite for stabilizing global economy and achieving the FIAP. This should involve grant-based bilateral assistance to enable urgently needed investments in social protection, including access to public health and sexual and reproductive rights of women, girls, and gender-diverse people. You should also advocate for a feminist COVID-19 recovery in multilateral forums and international financial institutions.
- COVID-19 has disproportionately affected women, girls, and gender-diverse people, which is why you are to develop programming that recognizes, reduces and addresses the unequal distribution of paid and unpaid care work, and that supports and protects the rights of paid and unpaid care workers, to address a root cause of global inequality, building on the commitments made at the 2021 Generation Equality Forum. Operationalize Canada’s Generation Equality Forum commitment to support for women’s rights organizations, through Canadian leadership in the Global Alliance for Sustainable Feminist Movements and corresponding resource investments.
- The pandemic has also exacerbated the already dire conditions of forcibly displaced persons, particularly those living in camp settings. You will expand support for refugees and internally displaced persons, particularly in the area of education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, water and sanitation services, protection and vaccine access.
- Lead an international campaign and commit resources to ensure that all refugee and displaced children can get the education they need and deserve.
- Scale up Global Affairs Canada refugee-led initiatives, which stand out as global good practices proven to uphold human rights and ensure greater effectiveness of interventions.
- Contribute to improving food systems, which hold keys to ending hunger and ensuring future global prosperity. Develop additional programming on the intersection between women’s rights and climate adaptation in order to better support sustainable and equitable resource management, agricultural production and access to markets.
- Work with the Minister of National Revenue and the Minister of Finance to amend the Income Tax Act in ways that allow for legislative updates of the ‘direction and control’ regime, which hinders equitable partnerships and development effectiveness of Canadian charitable organizations.
- Increase investments in feminist programming to address gender-based violence, and strengthen the application of intersectionality within the Feminist International Assistance Policy to ensure the needs of vulnerable populations, such as racialized women and 2SLGBTQ+ peoples, are adequately addressed.
- Work with the Minister of IRCC to uphold the right to refuge for women’s rights activists, human rights defenders and LGBTQI2S+ survivors of persecution.
- Support the Minister of Foreign Affairs to establish the Canadian Centre for Peace, Order and Good Government.
We expect you to work closely with your Deputy Minister and their senior officials to ensure that the ongoing work of your department is undertaken in a professional manner and that decisions are made in the public interest. This also entails a good relationship with public servants, whose careers are dedicated to improving our country and supporting you in the performance of your abilities.
We have committed to an open, honest government that is accountable to Canadians, lives up to the highest ethical standards and applies the utmost care and prudence in the handling of public funds. We expect you to embody these values in your work and observe the highest ethical standards in everything you do. We want Canadians to look on their own government with pride and trust.
We will note that you are responsible for ensuring that your Minister’s Office meets the highest standards of professionalism and that it is a safe, respectful, rewarding and welcoming place for your staff to work. We know we can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted to you. It is incumbent on you to turn to us and the Deputy Prime Minister early and often to support you in your role as Minister.