Understanding International Assistance Terms

The term "international assistance" refers to any financial resource provided by Canadian governments (federal, provincial, or municipal) in favour of development. The terms "international assistance," "international aid," and "aid" are synonymous and used interchangeably. However, "international assistance", "official development assistance" (ODA) and "international assistance envelope" (IAE) are not equivalent.

Official Development Assistance (ODA), as defined in the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act (ODAAA), is compatible with the international definition created by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD-DAC). Unlike the international definition, the Act does not cover assistance from provincial or municipal sources. The table below shows the difference between the Act and the international definition.

International assistance and ODA are not the same. While the majority of Canada's international assistance counts as official development assistance, some aid does not qualify as such under the Act. In the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act and Statistical Report on International Assistance, when aid does not qualify as official development assistance it is called "other official assistance."

The International Assistance Envelope (IAE) is the main planning instrument for funding the federal government's portion of Canada's aid. While the majority of Canada's aid is funded by the IAE, it is not the only source of funding. For example, given its conditional and transitory nature, bilateral debt relief is not managed within the IAE framework.

Comparison of Canada's international assistance reporting terms (in C$ millions): 2009-2010

Any difference between the figures below and ODAAA figures outlined in the ODAAA report can be attributed to that report's preliminary nature. All figures published in the Statistical Report on International Assistance are final.

OECD-DAC figures presented below are shown on a fiscal year basis, in Canadian dollars, in order to compare and contrast reporting under the ODAAA versus the ODA reported to the OECD. When Canada reports to the OECD-DAC, figures are actually reported on a calendar year basis in US dollars, so their depiction in this table is purely illustrative.

Table 1: Comparison of Canada's international assistance reporting terms - 2009-2010
Department/SourceInternational AssistanceOf WhichNotes
Programs funded by the IAE IODAAA Statistical Report IIOECD-DAC IIIDifference (OECD-DAC ODA minus ODAAA) (III)-(II)
Departments reporting under the ODAAA
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)3,575.003,575.003,571.623,571.62- 
Department of Finance Canada540.61483.48540.61540.61- 
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)426.10407.48280.43280.43- 
International Development Research Centre (IDRC)174.05174.05172.80172.80- 
Royal Canadian Mounted Police31.6931.6931.6931.69- 
National Defence53.5240.3953.5253.52- 
Natural Resources Canada2. 
Healtd Canada13.39 13.3913.39- 
Environment Canada2.05 2.052.05- 
Human Resources and Social Development Canada2.08 2.082.08- 
Industry Canada1.08 1.081.08- 
Parks Canada0.41 0.410.41- 
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)114.74 114.74114.74- 
Services received by CIDA from other government departments27.448.7427.4427.44- 
Subtotal — Departments reporting under the ODAAA4,964.184,722.864,813.874,813.87- 
% of International Assistance 95.1%97.0%97.0%-The vast majority of international assistance programs covered by the ODAAA are funded through the IAE.
Other departments or sources
Cost of refugees in Canada (provincial)173.74  173.74173.74International assistance programs reported as DAC-ODA but not under the ODAAA are largely funded by provincial or municipal governments.
Subsidies for foreign students167.20  167.20167.20
Provincial and municipal international assistance programs51.69  51.6951.69
Export Development Canada (EDC) loan repayments-21.85  -21.85-21.85Not included in totals below.
Subtotal — Other departments or sources370.77--370.77370.77 
Total5,334.954,722.864,813.875,184.65370.77The ODAAA requires departments to report on their disbursements while the OECD reports on both the gross and the net basis.
% of total International Assistance 88.5%90.2%97.2%