Canada’s Bilateral Development Assistance in Ukraine

Ukraine, the second-largest country in Europe, with a population of more than 45 million, has close and long-standing ties to Canada. Ongoing efforts highlighted here and in Canada’s Response to the Situation in Ukraine, include development commitments that will help establish a more promising future for Ukrainians.

Ukraine achieved independence in August 1991 upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union. However, almost a quarter of a century later, Ukraine is still struggling to consolidate democracy and lay the foundations for economic prosperity. Following the “Revolution of Dignity” in late 2013 and early 2014, Ukraine’s new government committed to implementing democratic and economic reforms in line with its European aspirations. However, Russian aggression, which started in 2014 with the illegal annexation of Crimea, continues drawing Ukraine into a bloody conflict in the east of the country, which has placed significant pressure and uncertainty on the Ukrainian government’s ability to carry out its much-needed reforms. According to the latest estimate, more than 1.8 million Ukrainians have been internally displaced and more than 3 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Ukraine is facing daunting challenges to simultaneously defend its sovereignty while implementing reforms critical to the country’s economic growth and political stability.

Canada is among the strongest international supporters of Ukraine and its democratic and economic reform processes. To support Ukraine’s reforms and its development needs in order to reduce poverty in that country, Canada is promoting sustainable economic growth and supporting the rule of law and democratic governance. In addition, Canada responds to the humanitarian and recovery needs caused by the conflict in the eastern part of Ukraine.

Find out what Canada is doing to support development in Ukraine.

Thematic Focus

In 2014, Ukraine was confirmed as a country of focus for the Government of Canada's international development efforts. The goal of Canada’s international development program in Ukraine is to improve economic opportunities for Ukrainians in a strengthened democracy. Canada is working with the Government of Ukraine to assist with the reforms needed to realize the country’s full economic potential and build a sound public institutional and legal environment for closer integration with Europe.

Economic growth

In order to help Ukraine avoid a total economic collapse following the “Revolution of Dignity”, Canada has taken a comprehensive approach to economic assistance that supports the stabilization, reform and growth of the Ukrainian economy. Since January 2014, Canada has committed more than $140 million in bilateral development assistance to support economic reform and economic growth in Ukraine. Canada’s assistance to the economic reform process seeks to foster more inclusive private-sector-led growth, investment, and job creation to reduce poverty while support to economic growth promotes local economic development and competitiveness among small and medium-sized businesses, particularly in small-scale farms.

Key anticipated results

  • more modern and environmentally sustainable management practices among small and medium-sized enterprises and farms, including those led by women;
  • an improved local business environment for small and medium-sized enterprises and farms, including those led by women; and
  • improved regulatory reform for increased trade and investment opportunities, particularly in key areas of growth such as small businesses.

Advancing democracy

Since January 2014, Canada has committed over $88 million in international assistance to advance democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Ukraine through support to national and local institutions, citizens groups, political parties and independent media. Canadian support to democratic development focuses on improving citizens’ participation in public life and decision making by assisting political parties and local officials to proactively engage the public and be more responsive to citizens’ needs. Human rights programming fosters democratization, helping those affected by the conflict, and supports religious freedom and pluralism. Canadian assistance is also supporting Ukraine’s efforts to reform the judicial system and improve independence and access to justice. Canada-funded rule-of-law projects seek to improve consistency, fairness and transparency in the application of justice, in line with international and European norms.

Key anticipated results

  • increased equitable access to justice for women and men, particularly those from marginalized groups; and
  • improved participation of citizens, particularly women, in public life and decision making.

Responding to the humanitarian crisis (resilience)

Canada aims to support bilateral and multilateral initiatives to advance peacebuilding and recovery in conflict areas in Ukraine. Canada’s support focuses on initiatives that address both immediate humanitarian and longer-term recovery needs, such as support for agricultural recovery. In addition, Canada is supporting stakeholders in Ukraine to improve communications about activities and services available to displaced and conflict-affected persons and their host communities.

Key anticipated results

  • enhanced economic renewal and recovery in conflict-affected areas in Ukraine; and
  • •improved quality and availability of media content useful to internally displaced persons in Ukraine.

Progress on aid effectiveness

Canada is a leading bilateral donor in Ukraine. Canada will continue to build Ukraine’s capacity to engage in donor coordination by encouraging joint monitoring of projects and playing an active role in several donor working groups.



Achievements 2015-2016

Advancing democracy

  • With Canada’s support, the legal aid system in Ukraine has been expanded to include the opening of 100 local legal aid centres across the country which provide free legal services to about eight million prospective clients, including the most marginalized and vulnerable citizens, thus increasing protection of their rights and improving their access to justice.
  • Recognizing the impact that the ongoing conflict in the east has had on internally displaced persons, the International Organization for Migration has educated up to 3,000 children, young people and their parents, including families of internally displaced persons and soldiers fighting in the Donbas, on prevention of trafficking and safe migration rules.
  • Canada supported the passing of the political finance reform law by the Ukrainian Parliament in October 2015, increasing the transparency of political parties’ financing and reducing the influence of vested interests.
  • • Canada supported the production of 149 investigative reports to uncover instances of alleged corruption, some of which resulted in eight people in senior leadership positions resigning or being forced to step down, including the deputy attorney general and the deputy minister of regional development.

Sustainable Economic growth

  • Canada-funded technical assistance (totalling $26 million since 2009) successfully helped the Government of Ukraine to implement the financial sector component of Ukraine’s $17.5 billion International Monetary Fund program, to restore macroeconomic stability, to strengthen economic governance and transparency, and lay the foundations for robust and balanced economic growth following the political and economic crises of 2014.
  • Through Canadian contribution of $3.8 million (2014-2019), Canada has helped facilitate financing of over US$156 million for more than 300 small and medium-scale farms in Ukraine, and over 11,000 individuals have received training and advice on small and medium-sized enterprise development in the agricultural sector.
  • Canada helped establish two milk laboratories, which are now operating in Lviv and Dnipropetrovsk, helping Ukrainian dairy farmers improve the quantity and quality of the milk they produce, establish more successful farm businesses and increase their household incomes.

2014-2015 international assistance disbursements to Ukraine (in millions of dollars)

Global Affairs Canada105.76
Other departments and sources400.18