Canada to Participate in International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti

(No. 124 - March 30, 2010 – 5:45 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today announced that Canada will participate in the International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti, to be held at the United Nations headquarters in New York on March 31, 2010.

“As a leading donor in Haiti and member of the international community, we reiterate our commitment to Haiti’s long-term reconstruction and reaffirm our solidarity with the Haitian people,” said Minister Cannon. “This conference is an opportunity to continue the work we started during the Ministerial Preparatory Conference we hosted in Montreal on January 25. We look forward to working with other donors in a coordinated manner to help the Government of Haiti achieve its recovery and development goals.”

At the conference, Minister Oda will outline Canada’s further contribution to relief, early recovery and reconstruction in Haiti.

“Canada’s leadership role in Haiti reflects the long-standing ties between our two countries, embodied by the significant Haitian community in Canada and the large number of Canadians who contributed so generously to the relief effort,” said Minister Oda. “Canada is committed to supporting Haiti for the long term. Recovery and reconstruction efforts will take years, and Canada will stand by the Government of Haiti and the Haitian population to build a better Haiti.’’

Canada will co-chair the International Donors’ Conference along with other leading donors to Haiti—Brazil, the European Union, France and Spain. The conference will be co-hosted by the United States and United Nations, in cooperation with the Government of Haiti. All 192 UN member states have been invited to attend.

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, will also attend the conference as an observer.

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A backgrounder follows on Canada’s response to the earthquake in Haiti.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Ève Cardinal
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Jessica Fletcher
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
819-953-6534

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency
819-953-6238

Backgrounder - Canada’s Response to the Earthquake in Haiti

On January 12, 2010, a catastrophic 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, close to Port-au-Prince. The earthquake caused widespread devastation and loss of life. Within hours of the quake, the Government of Canada mounted a rapid and comprehensive humanitarian effort involving departments and agencies from across the federal government.

Humanitarian and consular efforts

Canada played a leadership role in contributing to an effective and coordinated international response to the crisis by hosting the Ministerial Preparatory Conference in Montreal on January 25 to establish a clear and common international vision for the early recovery and longer-term reconstruction of Haiti. The conference established the beginnings of a road map toward Haiti’s long-term reconstruction and a clear and sustained commitment to Haiti and its people. This commitment is based on underlying principles of ownership, coordination, sustainability, effectiveness, inclusiveness and accountability; Canada is acting decisively and expeditiously to meet the objectives.

The Government of Canada made important cash contributions to facilitate rapid action by trusted and experienced humanitarian partners, disbursing some $85 million for emergency relief and recovery efforts. These contributions have helped provide emergency shelter, medical services, food, relief items, water and sanitation services, as well as protection to Haitians affected by the earthquake.

The Canadian government created the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund (HERF) and announced that it would match eligible charitable donations made by individual Canadians to support relief in Haiti. The Canadian International Development Agency is in the process of confirming matching contributions and will finalize the amount shortly. HERF funds will be disbursed in the near future. The Government of Haiti has urged all donors to take a measured and coordinated approach to distributing additional funds.

A post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA) exercise led by the Government of Haiti, and involving the United Nations, the World Bank, the European Union and the Inter-American Development Bank, has concluded. The PDNA will be the basis for discussions and pledges during the International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti, to be held at United Nations headquarters in New York on March 31, 2010.

Canadian Forces response to the earthquake: Operation HESTIA

At the peak of Operation HESTIA—the Canadian Forces mission in response to the earthquake—more than 2,000 soldiers, sailors and Air Force personnel were deployed to assist in the immediate relief efforts. Members of Joint Task Force Haiti—a humanitarian operations task force—worked on excavation and construction of latrines at orphanages and performed various construction tasks in camps for internally displaced people. They also performed security duties and assisted United Nations and non-governmental organizations with the distribution of humanitarian aid in three areas: Jacmel, Léogâne and Port-au-Prince. In addition, they produced over 2 million litres of clean water.

Canadian Forces personnel attended to more than 16,000 patients at the Role 1 clinic in Jacmel, which provided basic health care services, and the Role 2 hospital in Léogâne, which provided operating rooms, a pharmacy and dental services. The personnel saw an additional 5,558 patients at various village medical outreach clinics.

Canadian police continuing contributions

The Canadian police contingent continues its operations in Haiti. Currently, Canada has 85 civilian police officers in Haiti who are mentoring the Haitian National Police in Port-au-Prince and across the country. Canadian United Nations Police are implementing the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in Port-au-Prince and in the rest of the country.

On February 18, RCMP Chief Superintendent Marc Tardif was appointed by the United Nations as Deputy Commissioner of Operations for MINUSTAH.

In the earthquake’s immediate aftermath, the RCMP assembled and deployed teams of experts, including investigators and forensic identification specialists, to assist with the recovery and the identification of victims. The teams worked in close collaboration with the consular team at the Canadian embassy and played a critical role in the identification of the 46 Canadian victims of the earthquake.

Special immigration measures and Operation Stork

The Government of Canada has also implemented special immigration measures, giving priority to new and existing sponsorship applications from Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have family in Haiti. Since the measures were implemented, over 1,600 temporary resident visas have been issued, most to people accompanying Canadian citizens being evacuated from Haiti.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has set up a unit in Ottawa that is supporting CIC’s office in Haiti by identifying and expediting existing adoption and family class sponsorship applications. The office in Ottawa has responsibility for processing these applications until the Haiti office resumes normal operations. As of March 12, a total of 205 permanent resident visas had been issued. More visas will be issued in the coming weeks and months.

Operation Stork has resulted in the successful union of 203 Haitian children with their adoptive families in Canada since the earthquake struck and Haiti’s Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive gave permission for children to be allowed to travel to Canada for adoption. In just a month and a half, the Government of Canada and the provinces and territories processed as many cases from Haiti as are normally done in about two years. The numbers of children going to each province are as follows:

  • 127 children went to Quebec;
  • 27 to Alberta;
  • 21 to British Columbia;
  • 10 to Saskatchewan;
  • 8 to Ontario;
  • 6 to New Brunswick;
  • 2 to Manitoba; and
  • 2 to Nova Scotia.

Temporary government administrative base

In February, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Canada’s contribution of up to $12 million for temporary administrative facilities, following a request by Prime Minister Bellerive for Canada to establish a working area for key Haitian government officials. These facilities will enable the Haitian government to more effectively manage and coordinate the hard work ahead.

For more information, including advice on how to help those affected by the disaster, please visit Canada’s response to the earthquake in Haiti.