Canada’s International Cooperation Sector Celebrates Ambitious Speech from the Throne

Canada’s International Cooperation Sector Celebrates Ambitious Speech from the Throne

November 29, 2021 (Ottawa, ON) – On Tuesday, Mary Simon, Canada’s first indigenous Governor-General, delivered a forward-looking Speech from the Throne designed to move Canada forward, for everyone. Leading the country through the pandemic has not been easy and will only become harder as we move towards our recovery. Rooting difficult decisions in a commitment to “increasing Canada’s foreign assistance budget each year, and investing in sustainable, equitable, and feminist development that benefits the world’s most vulnerable and promotes gender equality” is the best way to support Canadians and build the future we all deserve.

We, as organizations whose members represent the bulk of Canada’s international cooperation sector, celebrate this announcement, and look forward to working with the government to implement this commitment. Working together, we can create a healthier, more equitable and resilient world that benefits everyone.

The pandemic has fractured supply chains, caused inflation to soar, and nearly collapsed our health care system. These are realities the government must address to curb the rising cost of living, and to give our local economy the tools it needs to recover. To do this, the Prime Minister has renewed his commitment to stopping the spread of COVID-19 everywhere.

“The pandemic has had a devastating impact around the world with the largest burden being carried by caregivers, particularly women. Canada’s actions to ensure access to vaccines for all will become a moment in history that we will reflect on with regret or pride,” said Julia Anderson, CEO of the Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH). “Global and domestic economic recovery is dependent upon robust supply chains which require thriving local economies. None of this is possible when global health systems are collapsing. Access to life-saving tools in the fight against COVID-19 is essential to kick-starting our recovery and stabilizing trade relations.”

The conditions we create for our global recovery must align with our efforts to protect our planet. Ensuring that communities around the world are empowered with the knowledge and tools needed to protect our biodiversity is crucial to this goal. “Investing in international cooperation is one of the most important tools in the fight against climate change,” states Maxime Michel, Interim CEO of Cooperation Canada. “Low- and middle-income countries are often the first to suffer and feel the impacts most deeply, of the global climate crisis. This commitment to increasing Canada’s official development assistance means that we have an opportunity to act more quickly to ensure that those most impacted by climate change can respond to their own needs.”

“Canada’s International Cooperation sector is always ready to advise and support the Prime Minister and International Development Minister Sajjan as they walk the path towards recovery and equity,” said Michel and Anderson.

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About Cooperation Canada

Cooperation Canada brings together and advocates for Canada’s international development and humanitarian organizations by convening sector leaders, influencing policy and building capacity. Together, we work with partners both inside and outside Canada to build a world that’s fair, safe and sustainable for all.

Cooperation Canada has prepared an alternative mandate letter for the Minister of International Development, which highlights the key global challenges that should require the Minister’s attention during his mandate, in the perspective of the main priorities for making tangible progress of Canadians. Read it here.

 

About Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health

The Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH) is comprised of approximately 100 Canadian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic institutions, health professional associations and individuals partnering to improve health outcomes for women and children in more than 1,000 communities worldwide.

 

For more information:

Maxime Michel

Cooperation Canada

mmichel@cooperation.ca

613-899-8766

Charmaine Crockett

CanWaCH

ccrockett@canwach.ca

613-863-9489

Alternative Mandate Letter – Minister of International Development

Alternative Mandate Letter – Minister of International Development

Dear Minister,  

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.

Sincerely, 

Cooperation Canada 

Is the end near for Direction and Control?

Is the end near for Direction and Control?

In June, Cooperation Canada held a session dedicated to the sector-wide efforts to address the outdated regulatory framework of ‘direction and control’ which imposes significant barriers to establishing equitable relationships with communities and organizations without a charitable status. As the sector gears up for a new season of efforts of legislative change, we hope this Q&A will help.

 

Why are we (still) talking about the Canada Revenue Agency’s ‘direction and control’ requirements?

The international cooperation sector is undergoing a transformative shift: global governance frameworks are increasingly highlighting the importance of establishing equitable partnerships with local civil society organizations and other non-traditional partners in pursuits of healthier, more equitable and sustainable world for us all. These principles are recognized across global frameworks such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda), the Grand Bargain for Humanitarian Action, and policy instruments such as the recently approved Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD DAC). Canada’s domestic policy framework, such as the Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) espouses the same values. However, the ability of Canada’s charities to establish equitable partnerships with diverse actors working in domestic and international contexts is constrained by the 70-year-old legislative framework dubbed ‘direction and control.’

 

What is ‘direction and control’?

Canada’s charities are regulated by the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) guidances CG-002 and CG-004 which respectively set conditions for Canadian charities to work with non-charitable actors internationally and within Canada. Building on Income Tax Act (ITA) provisions dating back to 1950s, these regulations represent a global legislative exception, requiring all registered Canadian charities to implement their ‘own activities’ when working with non-registered charities, and to exercise ‘full direction and control’ over those activities.

For Canadian registered charities supporting a project of a local partner without a charitable status, ‘direction and control’ regulations dictate the need for a written agreement that relegates these local partners – who are generally the ones with context-specific knowledge, community ties, and the initiative behind the given project – to the role of ‘intermediaries’ in need of micromanagement. In other words, staff from Canadian charitable organizations are legislatively obligated to insist on compliance processes that undermine the agency and the independence of actors without a charitable status.

In humanitarian contexts where these constraints cost lives and livelihoods, Canada’s charitable organizations again represent a global exception. In the aftermath of disasters and crises, speed and coordination matter. This is why the global community is increasingly working with ‘pooled funding’ where various actors contribute to centrally coordinated response delivered by pre-vetted local actors. Canadian charitable organizations cannot legally participate in most pooled funds and are forced to spend more resources on burdensome reporting requirements. This means that the contributions Canadians direct to solving global challenges are spent less effectively.

 

How is Direction and Control perpetuating inequality?

Direction and control legislation disincentivizes Canada’s charities from supporting nonprofit and community organizations, as Kevin McCort, the President and the CEO of the Vancouver Foundation confirmed during Cooperation Canada’s Forum 2021, saying that “domestic funders are also increasingly finding that the definition of charitable purposes has excluded a number of groups (…) so we can’t fund (…) community groups, but they are doing the kind of work we want to fund in service of our charitable purposes.” While local actors are proven to be the most effective in addressing community needs including throughout the COVID-19 pandemic they receive insufficient support.

The more marginalized a community is, the less likely it is to have a charitable status. By making it harder for equity seeking groups to access funding, Canada’s legislation is perpetuating inequality. Results of such systems are clear: a Carleton University domestic study found that only 0.7% of grants issued in 2017/2018 was allocated to Black-serving organizations, and just 0.07% to Black-led organizations. Similarly, this analysis of the Registered Charity Information Return database for 2018 shows that Indigenous Groups (defined using the Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Fund developed by Wanda Brascoupe for CanadaHelps) received only $1 for every $178 allocated to non-Indigenous groups.

Internationally, the figures are not better. This 2016 OECD report shows that less than 1% of global funding is allocated to women’s rights organizations in historically disadvantaged countries, and the 2021 Grand Bargain report found that the commitment of ‘localization’ has not been achieved.

 

How were the ‘direction and control’ regulations updated in November 2020?

In November 2020, CRA updated the above-listed guidance documents for clarity and context-informed amendments. During the same Forum 2021 session in June 2021, Tony Manconi, the Director General of the CRA Charities Directorate outlined these updates. Efforts to clarify the terminology entailed, for example, replacing expressions such as ‘agent’ and ‘agency agreement’ with ‘intermediary’ and ‘intermediary agreement’ and spelling out the definition of the term ‘capital’ to include ‘real property land’ and ‘immovable property on land.’

In terms of the changes that do, effectively, shift CRA expectation, a notable update is that of the increased threshold for projects requiring formal agreements from $1,000 to $5,000. Moreover, CRA will no longer require that non-charitable partners use a separate bank account for charitable funds, but the financial records will need to be fully accounted and linked to the reported expenditures. According to the latest guidance, charities are expected to show ‘direction and control’ via written agreements, detailed descriptions of project activities, monitoring and supervising, regular reporting, ongoing instruction, periodic transfers, and clearly separated activities and funds. The new guidance also clarifies the definition of ‘adequate books and records’ for low and high-risk categories.

While helpful, these amendments made by the CRA do not resolve the central concern of ‘direction and control’ focused on micromanaging local partners’ activities and undermining their agency. With the ‘direction and control’ test solidified in the legal precedence and case law on the Income Tax Act, room for regulatory flexibility on the part of CRA is extremely limited. To truly amend this outdated framework, a legislative change to the ITA is required.

 

What is the proposed legislative approach?

Significant efforts have been made to inform legislative reforms of the ‘direction and control’ framework. The Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector (ACCS), established in 2019 to promote dialogue between the CRA, the Department of Finance, and charitable sector experts, has issued recommendations outlined in the January 2021 and April 2021 aligned with previous reports carried out since 2012. These include the 2019 Report of the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector, which suggests removing the ‘own activities’ test from the Income Tax Act and focusing on the expenditure responsibility test instead. The Government response to this report, however, has not outlined a clear way forward.

To move away from activity-based compliance approaches and strengthen financial accountability of charitable actors, Senator Ratna Omidvar proposed the private members Bill S-222, which passed in the Senate on 17 June 2021. As the Senator explained during the June Cooperation Forum session, Bill S-222 builds on examples from countries like the United States and focuses on financial accountability, which leaves further room for subsequent CRA regulations to be developed in consultation with the sector. Furthermore, as a group of charitable lawyers supporting this bill claims, the bill does not erode existing guardrails around other aspects of charity regulations, including those related to anti-terrorism and proceeds of crime (money laundering).

According to Senator Omidvar, Bill S-222 aims to strengthen accountability provisions by expanding the definition of charitable activities and defining reasonable steps for ensuring resource accountability. This includes replacing operational direction and control with full upfront due diligence and establishing partner agreements that would, in line with international standards, list expected outcomes and the impact, reporting requirements, as well as budgetary and activity-level commitments. Non-charitable actors would remain accountable for the use of resources towards declared charitable purposes and desired outcomes, but the legal responsibility for project management and financial control would rest within their institution.

 

What are the potential next steps?

Bill S-222 was approved in June 2021, thanks to the all-party support of the Senate, which according to Senator Omidvar suggests a common understanding of the importance and the urgency of the proposed amendments. MP Philip Lawrence, the Conservative Party Critic for National Revenue, had committed to tabling the bill in the House of Commons. However, Canada’s federal election has interrupted this process of legislative change and this fall, the bill will need to be re-introduced.

Should Bill S-222 pass both the House of Commons and the Senate this time aroumd, CRA will have two years to produce regulatory guidance that operationalizes the new provisions and clarifies what, for example, an acceptable due diligence process or a partnership agreement would entail.

 

How can Cooperation Canada members get engaged?

To support sector efforts to amend the ‘direction and control’ legislation, Cooperation Canada members are invited to join a working group dedicated to this agenda. The group will be co-led by Céline Füri (Oxfam-Québec) and John Clayton (Samaritan’s Purse). The group will share intel, resources, and coordinate advocacy outreach in collaboration with other domestic groups. To get engaged you can:

 

The call for nominations for the Cooperation Canada Awards is now open

The call for nominations for the Cooperation Canada Awards is now open

The call for nominations is now open for the Cooperation Canada awards for 2021.

 

The Karen Takacs Award is presented annually to an individual who has notably, by virtue of working collaboratively, made a difference in the lives of women globally. The award honours outstanding collaborative leadership and commitment to promoting women’s equality. The call for nominations is now open.

Nominations will be accepted until end of day, December 6, 2021.

 

Cooperation Canada and the World University Service of Canada (WUSC), in collaboration with the trustees of the Lewis Perinbam Award, jointly present the Innovation and Impact Awards, which recognize Canadian individuals and civil society organizations that are doing impactful and innovative work. Submissions for Innovation and Impact Awards are now open.

Nominations will be accepted until end of day, December 6, 2021.

 

Learn more about the awards:

Cooperation Canada applauds Canada’s commitments at the Group of 20 (G20) Summit

Cooperation Canada applauds Canada’s commitments at the Group of 20 (G20) Summit

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/it/legalcode 

https://www.g20.org/media/photos-and-videos/g20-rome-summit-media/family-photos.html 

 

Today, the Government of Canada showed clear intention to support multilateral efforts to end COVID-19 everywhere and address the mounting economic crisis of global proportions.   

Canada pledged to direct 20% of its recent special drawing rights (SDRs) allocation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) towards countries that are unable to access urgently needed funds to meet basic needs of their people. The global situation is dire: the United Nations (UN) warns of a mounting global debt crisis, with at least 35 countries failing to service their sovereign loans and 100 countries (over half of UN Member States) facing cuts to their healthcare and social protection budgets. This deteriorating global situation is a threat to all of the progress made thus far in the fight against COVID-19 everywhere. 

With today’s pledge, Canada is helping to address a global economic crisis using the international financial tool designed precisely for this type of scenario. SDRs allow countries to unlock high volumes of cash using their supplementary financial reserves while ensuring a minimal impact on their domestic finance. The value of the SDRs Canada pledged to channel to lower-income countries is of $3.7 billion dollars (with $982 million to be disbursed immediately as concessional loans), which will have a significant impact on the global economy while bearing virtually no burden on Canada’s public budget.  

Global economists highlight that SDR measures are particularly effective when accompanied by grants and concessional loans. Minister Chrystia Freeland is acting on these evidence-based recommendations, which is reflected in Canada’s additional allocation of $107 million grant to IMF, which will stimulate further international SDR concessions. In short, Canada is showing global leadership by leveraging existing international mechanisms to prioritize the support for the world’s most marginalized, in line with the values articulated in the Feminist International Assistance (FIAP) and with very minor costs to our domestic economy.  

Canada also announced more direct investments in the global fight against COVID-19. The Government committed to immediately sharing 10 million vaccine doses to be allocated through the COVAX facility, standing by its previous commitment of sharing 200 million vaccine doses. Today’s announcement offers greater details on the spending of the previously announced $350 million, as Canada committed to disbursing funding for auxiliary costs of said vaccination efforts, resulting in $70 million for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, diagnosis and therapeutics, including through the ACT-Accelerator partnership.  

To support more long-term and equitable solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada is joining global efforts to boost global capacity for vaccine production. This is in the form of a new budgetary commitment of 15 million dollars, which will fund a technology transfer hub in South Africa to scale up local COVID-19 vaccine production.   

Today’s announcement shows the Government of Canada agrees with almost 90% of Canadians who understand that our public health and wellbeing depend on the rest of the world. We welcome this display of political leadership and call on Canada to continue on a path towards increasing its official development assistance, which is currently less than half of the country’s fair share. We look forward to working with the newly announced Cabinet to further strengthen Canada’s global engagement and applaud today’s step in that direction.  

 

Media Inquiries
communications@cooperation.ca

A brief overview of Canada’s 44th federal cabinet: international cooperation edition

A brief overview of Canada’s 44th federal cabinet: international cooperation edition

Author: Zoe Barlas 

This Tuesday, 38 political leaders swore to serve in the 44th Federal Cabinet under the leadership of the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Parliament will recommence on 22 NovemberWhile we wait for the Throne Speech and the Mandate letters, here is an overview of cabinet leaders the sector will be looking to re-connect with and meet.  

 

Our sector is getting ready to meet a number of newly appointed cabinet letters. One of the notable exceptions is Minister Chrystia Freeland, who remains in her position as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance  

 

Minister Chrystia Freeland

Official bio

Ms. Freeland was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre in July 2013. She was elected as Member of Parliament for University—Rosedale in October 2015 and re-elected in October 2019 and September 2021. 

From November 2015 to January 2017, Ms. Freeland served as Canada’s Minister of International Trade, overseeing the successful negotiation of Canada’s free trade agreement with the European Union, CETA. From January 2017 to November 2019, she served as Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. During this time, she was a leading advocate for democracy, human rights, and multilateralism around the world. As Foreign Minister, she led and successfully concluded the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, Mexico, and the United States. 

In November 2019, Ms. Freeland was appointed Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. In this capacity, she led Canada’s united response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was appointed Minister of Finance in August 2020. 

Role: Minister Freeland remains an important decision-maker in efforts to propel Canada towards meeting its international commitments. Canada contributes only 30 cents for every 100 dollars in national revenue in international assistance, leaving the Feminist International Assistance Policy chronically underfunded. To improve Canada’s global engagement, dialogue with Minister Freeland will remain vital to solving issues of increasing Canada’s official development assistance and amending Income Tax Act provisions that dictate the harmful ‘direction and control’ regime.  

Honourable Mona Fortier becomes President of the Treasury Board

Official bio 

The Honourable Mona Fortier was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Ottawa—Vanier in 2017 and is the first woman to represent the riding. She has previously served as Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance. 

Prior to being elected, Minister Fortier worked as the Chief Director of Communications and Market Development at Collège La Cité and managed her own strategic communications-consulting firm. She has also served on several non-profit Boards of Directors, including for Montfort Hospital, Ontario’s Provincial Advisory Committee on Francophone Affairs, and the Shaw Centre. In addition, she has received numerous awards for her community involvement, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. 

Role: In her role, Honourable Fortier will be responsible for ensuring that policies and programs approved by Cabinet receive adequate resources and support for their implementation across relevant government departments. Alongside Minister Freeland, Minister Fortier will be an important interlocutor in discussions on Canada’s contribution to global efforts to solve challenges that affect us all.   

Honourable Diane Lebouthillier remains Minister of National Revenue

Official bio 

Honourable Diane Lebouthillier was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine in 2015. She has served as the Minister of National Revenue since 2015. Minister Lebouthillier is a former elected warden for the Regional County Municipality of Rocher-Percé and owner of La Ferme du Petit Moulin, an outfitting operation. While working for the late Georges Mamelonet, a Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for Gaspé, she focused on social issues in the region. 

Before entering politics, Minister Lebouthillier spent more than 23 years working with clients at the Rocher-Percé Health and Social Services Centre. Minister Lebouthillier served on the Board of Governors of Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles, and chaired the boards of directors of Réseau collectif Gaspésie Les Îles and Transport adapté et collectif des Anses. She was also the Vice-Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Les Ateliers Actibec 2000 inc.  

Role: Canada’s international cooperation sector is increasingly tied to the matters addressed by the Ministry of National Revenue. Minister Lebouthillier remains an important interlocutor as the sector works with political actors to amend the 70-year-old Income Tax Act provisions that result in the outdated ‘direction and control’ regulations. Direction and Control regulations stand as an international anomaly and severely constrain Canada’s charitable actors and their efforts to establish equitable and effective partnerships with communities and social justice allies in Canada and abroad. To learn more about this issue click here, to join Cooperation Canada’s working group and help us address this issue, click here.  

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan is the new Minister of International Development

Official bio 

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan was first elected as Member of Parliament for Vancouver South in 2015. He served as Minister of National Defence from 2015 to 2021. Minister Sajjan immigrated to Canada from India with his family when he was five years old. He grew up in South Vancouver. He is only the second International Development minister from a developing country. 

Minister Sajjan is a former detective with the Vancouver Police Department, a former Lieutenant Colonel with the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own), and a long-time advocate for youth education and mentorship programs. As a member of the British Columbia Regiment, he participated in four operational deployments – one to Bosnia and three to Afghanistan. 

Role: Honourable Sajjan will be responsible for overseeing Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP), which remains underfunded and in need of more effective mechanisms in line with good practices outlined at the level of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations. Minister Sajjan will also oversee the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), which aims to support local businesses and ensuring economic prosperity within British Colombia. PacifiCan budget saw an increase of $553 million over five years in Budget 2021.  

The Minister has a chance to strengthen Canada’s broader foreign engagement, which increasingly revolves around international assistance. Another important file would be that of re-imagining development cooperation, as donor agencies and international civil society organizations alike are called to support anti-racist approaches and commit to more equitably re-distributing resources and decision-making towards communities the sector aims to support.   

Honourable Mélanie Joly is the new Minister of Foreign Affairs

Official bio 

Honourable Mélanie Joly was first elected to represent Ahuntsic-Cartierville in the House of Commons in 2015. She has previously served as Minister of Economic Development, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, and Minister of Canadian Heritage. 

Prior to entering federal politics, Minister Joly founded the Vrai changement pour Montréalparty and ran for mayor of Montréal in 2013 under its banner. Minister Joly holds an Honours Bachelor of Law from the Université de Montréal and a Magister Juris in European and Comparative Law from the University of Oxford. She is the author of Changing the Rules of the Game, in which she shares her vision for public policy and civic engagement. She was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. 

Role: Minister Joly will be responsible for overseeing Canada’s international diplomacy. With the international development portfolio under the purview of Minister Ng, hopes are high about Minister Joly’s ability to finally deliver on the promise made by the then-Minister of Foreign Affairs Champagne, of articulating a way towards Canada’s more comprehensive and feminist approach to foreign policy. 

The Honourable Anita Anand becomes Minister of National Defence

Official bio 

Honourable Anita Anand was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Oakville in 2019. She has previously served as Minister of Public Services and Procurement. Minister Anand has worked as a scholar, lawyer, and researcher. She has been a legal academic, including as a Professor of Law at the University of Toronto where she held the J.R. Kimber Chair in Investor Protection and Corporate Governance. She served as Associate Dean and was a member of the Governing Board of Massey College and the Director of Policy and Research at the Capital Markets Research Institute, Rotman School of Management. She has also taught law at Yale Law School, Queen’s University, and Western University.  

Minister Anand has completed extensive research on the regulation of financial markets, corporate governance, and shareholder rights, and has appeared regularly in the media to discuss these topics. In 2015, she was appointed to the Government of Ontario’s Expert Committee to Consider Financial Advisory and Financial Planning Policy Alternatives. She has conducted research for Ontario’s Five-Year Review Committee, the federal Wise Person’s Committee, and the Task Force to Modernize Securities Legislation in Canada. In 2019, the Royal Society of Canada awarded her the Yvan Allaire Medal for outstanding contributions in governance relating to private and public organizations. 

Role: Minister Anand will be in charge of military deployment and spending. This includes managing, as Peace Brigades International (PBI) summarizes “a planned increase in military spending from $18.9 billion in 2016-17 to $32.7 billion in 2026-27, which amounts to $553 billion on a cash basis over 20 years.” Anand will also face the challenge of addressing the systematic issue of sexual exploitation and abuse from which the Government is still reeling. Another challenge is the discrepancy in Canada’s announced military spending and the calls for ‘military savings’ in these times of public health crisis and insufficient social protection, as the campaign against 19-billion-dollar warplanes highlights.  

The Honourable Mary Ng remains Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development

Official bio 

The Honourable Mary Ng was first elected as Member of Parliament for Markham—Thornhill in 2017. She has previously served as Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade. 

Minister Ng is a devoted community leader who has always believed in the power of public service. She has 20 years of experience in the areas of education, women’s leadership, job creation, and entrepreneurship. Minister Ng immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong with her family and grew up learning about the struggle and eventual success that many new immigrants experience in Canada. 

Her years working for the Ontario Public Service, Ryerson University, and the Ontario Ministry of Education led to her being recognized as one of Canada’s top-performing public sector leaders. She later served as Director of Appointments for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

Role: Minister Ng remains in the same Ministry but with an important addition to her portfolio as she takes on international economic development, on top of international trade and oversight of Export Development Canada (EDC). EDC is under scrutiny for channeling $13 million annual investments in oil and gas industry (as Peace Brigades International PBI notes) despite the Government’s declared objective of addressing our climate emergency. Minister Ng remains a key actor for our sector, particularly related to the global debates on intellectual property rights of COVID-19 vaccines and increasingly loud calls to reform the World Trade Organization. WTO reform is deemed necessary for attempts to strengthen our current multilateralism, which in the words of the United Nations Secretary General himself, lacks teeth.

The Honourable Sean Fraser becomes Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Official bio 

The Honourable Sean Fraser was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Central Nova in 2015. Minister Fraser previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and to the Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance from 2019 to 2021, and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change from 2018 to 2019. In 2021, he also served concurrently as Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister. 

Before entering politics, Minister Fraser had a successful legal career with one of Canada’s top-ranked law firms, where he practised commercial litigation and international dispute resolution. 

He is a long-time volunteer, having served as the Vice-President of a local branch of the United Nations Association in Canada, acted as a Research Fellow with the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, and provided pro bono legal services to the local BGC Club and vulnerable community members. 

Role: Canada’s international cooperation sector has a special interest in supporting Minister Fraser, who will be responsible for making good on Canada’s promise to accept 250 human rights defenders, many of whom are women, journalists and LGBTQ2S+ advocates, each year. Canada has also pledged to take in 40,000 refugees fleeing Afghanistan, including families of individuals who collaborated with Canadian organizations over the last 13 years.  

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault becomes Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

Official bio

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Laurier—Sainte-Marie in 2019. He has previously served as Minister of Canadian Heritage. Minister Guilbeault is a prominent advocate in the fight against the climate crisis and has been leading the charge from Laurier—Sainte-Marie for years. 

In 1993, Minister Guilbeault co-founded Équiterre, the largest environmental organization in Quebec, and served as its Senior Director from 2008 to 2018. He also worked as a Director and Campaign Manager for Greenpeace and was a Strategic Advisor for more than 10 years at Cycle Capital Management, a Canadian fund dedicated to the development of clean technologies. Minister Guilbeault also worked for Deloitte & Touche as well as Copticom, a consulting firm specializing in the green and social economy, and transportation. 

Role: Minister Guilbeault is well known within the sector as an ardent believer in environmental justice. He will now be responsible for ensuring Canada meets its goals of reducing carbon emissions and investing in green transformation and global climate finance. Minister Guilbeault’s engagement will be particularly important following Canada’s pledge to allocate CAD$5.3 billion over five years towards international climate finance.