What’s the topline response? 

The Canadian Federal Budget 2024 was published on 16 April 2024. For months, the Canadian international cooperation sector has been working together to collectively advocate for new international assistance commitments in Budget 2024, including through our Open Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, our advocacy on Parliament Hill during International Development Week 2024 and our 2024 Budget Submission. 

On balance, Budget 2024 was positive news for Canadian leadership on international cooperation. The budget included $350 million of new and additional humanitarian assistance funding over two years ($150 million in 2024-25 and $200 million in 2025-26). At a time when humanitarian needs are surging around the world, decades of progress on development are under threat, and other donor countries are cutting aid, this influx of new funds is very welcome. 

In partnership with CanWaCH, Bigger Than Our Borders, and other coalitions and organizations, we issued a joint statement in reaction to the budget. A sincere thank you to over 100 organizations, from our membership and beyond, that signed onto our collective statement. We have also been pleased to see some pick-up in the media, including by CBC, CTV and La Presse. 


What’s in the budget on international assistance? 

While the budget did not include all that we pushed for in our advocacy, we recognize the challenging domestic economic context in Canada right now, and welcomed the government’s commitment to step up on the global stage. We hope that this $350 million of new and additional humanitarian assistance funding will support Canadian organizations to work with partners in some of the most challenging humanitarian crises around the world, including the Middle East, Haiti, Sudan, Yemen and the Sahel. 

Other relevant funding items for international cooperation included: 

  • $216.7 million over five years, starting in 2025-26, for Canada’s share of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) general capital increase for Ukraine’s reconstruction. 
  • $159.1 million over five years, starting in 2024-25, with $5.9 million in remaining amortization, to support Global Affairs Canada’s transformation. 
  • A recommitment of $10 million per year by 2025 in support of global LGBTIQ rights international assistance programming. 
  • An estimated $146.3 million over five years, starting in 2027-28, to purchase Canada’s allocated shares in IDB Invest which will catalyze private sector financing to support economic opportunities for women in Latin America and the Caribbean. 
  • $81 million for 2024-25 to prepare for Canada’s 2025 G7 Presidency (some of which we hope can support engagement with civil society on the priorities of Canada’s Presidency). 

Eyeing non-monetary announcements, the budget contained references to the importance of modernizing and investing in international financial institutions, including the introduction of legislative amendments in Canada to better enable hybrid capital and other forms of innovative finance to be leveraged in support of the financing needs of developing countries. It also mentioned a new phase of the International Assistance Innovation Program (IAIP), focusing on small, high impact transactions. We look forward to working with the government on the design and implementation of this program. 


What was missing in Budget 2024? 

Budget transparency!  While the last few years saw a presentation of rough estimates of the total amount for International Assistance Envelope (IAE), this year’s budget document does not even attempt at providing a figure. With no information on trends in the budget baseline, sectoral or spending-type breakdowns, or multi-year forward spending plans, it is difficult to know whether the aid budget is increasing or decreasing, and what lies ahead for the Canadian international assistance budget. We were left to guess what the total IAE budget is for this year – and it has been “guesstimated” at around $7.2 billion per year.  If this is the case, it would mean that the IAE budget has grown by about 5% from last year’s $6.89 billion.  

We have also been advocating that international assistance to Ukraine be additional to stable or growing assistance to the rest of the world, and to track international assistance investments that respond to the war in Ukraine by launching a Ukraine or Eastern European Assistance TrackerNo commitment was made to this.  

Finally, while the focus of this budget was on life-saving humanitarian assistance which is sorely needed right now, Budget 2024 did not provide any increase to longer-term development assistance – investments in programs and partnerships that support a safer, fairer and more sustainable world. 


Looking ahead to 2025! 

As we look towards Canada’s G7 Presidency in 2025, we will be looking to the government to work with others to leverage bold global commitments in support of international cooperation. Coming off a relatively positive budget cycle, where we saw new funding for international assistance in a difficult fiscal context, it will very be soon time to pitch our priorities for Budget 2025 and Canada’s G7 Presidency. Cooperation Canada looks forward to working with our members on this important advocacy!