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Modification - Canada Marks Anniversary of Haiti Earthquake

Modification: wording change in fifth paragraph

(No. 16 - Modification - January 14, 2011 - 4:30 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, and the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, today reiterated Canada’s unwavering commitment to Haiti’s long-term reconstruction and reaffirmed the country’s solidarity with the Haitian people, a year after the January 12, 2010, earthquake.

“One year ago tomorrow, the people of Haiti were struck by a devastating earthquake,” said Minister Cannon. “They suffered great loss on that day and are still struggling to recover from the effects of this natural disaster. Canada’s commitment to supporting Haiti is long-term, in both the delivery of humanitarian assistance and in reconstruction efforts.”

“After the unimaginable tragedy and loss of life suffered as a result of the Haiti earthquake, the world came together to support Haiti in its time of need,” said Minister Oda. “We can be proud that the Government of Canada and individual Canadians led the world in their generous response.  We recognize the courage of those who work tirelessly for a better future for the people of Haiti; however, there is still much more work to be done in the years ahead. Canada will not waver in its support for the Haitian people, who have demonstrated time and time again their resilience and strong determination to see a better future for their families and their country.”

“Amid the overwhelming challenges facing Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake, 2,000 dedicated Canadian Forces members immediately deployed to Port-au-Prince to maintain a secure environment and provide much-needed humanitarian assistance,” said Minister MacKay. “The Canadian Forces made an incredible contribution to the lives of Haitians in the immediate aftermath of this devastating earthquake, and I am proud of their continued commitment to the people of Haiti.”

“Our government is extremely proud of Canadians’ ongoing commitment to assisting Haiti’s recovery following last year’s devastating earthquake,” said Minister Toews. “Canadian police, including members of the RCMP, continue to assist Haitians by training, mentoring and advising the Haitian National Police through this challenging period. The Correctional Service of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency are playing an important role in re-establishing and strengthening Haiti’s correctional system and modernizing its customs system.”

“Our government’s response was to help reunite Haitians affected by this tragedy with their family members in Canada as quickly as possible,” said Minister Kenney. “We approved permanent resident applications for over 3,600 Haitians and issued over 3,000 temporary resident visas and permits.”

The Government of Canada also acted quickly to unite 203 Haitian children with their adoptive families in Canada. “This was a monumental task,” said Minister Kenney. “CIC processed as many applications as are normally done in two years in just six weeks.”

“The uncertainty over the recent election, the cholera outbreak and the volatile security situation are all complex and linked challenges that threaten Haiti’s reconstruction efforts,” said Minister Cannon. “Canada will continue to work closely with the Government of Haiti and the international community in the strengthening of key institutions so as to ensure the country’s long-term stability, security and prosperity.”

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A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Facts and Figures on Canada’s Contributions to Haiti in 2010

Over the past year, Haiti has faced the dramatic consequences of a devastating earthquake, an epidemic of cholera, a hurricane and turmoil during the election process.

Canada continues to stand by Haiti in its firm commitment to peace, democratic principles and the integrity of the electoral process.

Canada supports elections in Haiti

On October 5, 2010, Canada announced a total of $5.8 million in Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) funding to strengthen democracy and good governance in Haiti through the country’s elections. The funding supports the United Nations Development Programme’s operational assistance to the Conseil électoral provisoire [Provisional Electoral Council], Canadian technical support, through Elections Canada, for the November 2010 presidential election, and Haiti's Conseil national pour l'observation des élections [National Electoral Observation Council] for the training and deployment of local electoral observers.

Canadian police deployed to the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) supported the election by providing security and crowd control throughout the country and mentoring and advising their Haitian National Police colleagues on these tasks.

For more information, please visit Canada to support elections in Haiti.

Canada responds to the cholera outbreak

As of December 31, 2010, Canada’s contribution to fighting Haiti’s cholera epidemic totalled $7 million in CIDA funding distributed through five experienced partners: Oxfam-Québec, UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization, World Vision and Médecins du monde Canada. This support is providing urgently needed care to treat and prevent the spread of cholera.

For more information, please visit Canada expands its response to cholera outbreak in Haiti.

Canada’s leadership in coordinating international response

Canada organized and hosted the Ministerial Preparatory Conference on Haiti on January 25, 2010, in Montreal. This meeting rallied key partners engaged in the international effort in Haiti around a clear and common vision for the country’s early recovery and longer-term reconstruction.

Canada supported and participated in the International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti in New York on March 31, 2010.

Canada led a G-20 consensus to cancel all of Haiti’s debts to international financial institutions. Canada paid off its share of Haiti’s debt to the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, becoming the first donor country to make all of its required payments to cancel Haiti’s multilateral debt.

For more information, please visit Ministerial Preparatory Conference on Haiti, International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti and Canada helps Haiti eliminate all debt owed to World Bank.

Canada’s financial commitment to Haiti

In total, the Canadian government’s current 2006-2012 commitment to Haiti is over $1 billion, making Haiti Canada’s largest recipient of development assistance in the Americas.

To date, the Canadian International Development Agency has disbursed $150.15 million in immediate humanitarian and early-recovery assistance. Through this funding, CIDA has contributed to the provision of food aid to 4.3 million Haitians, of water to 1.2 million, of emergency shelter to 370,000, of relief supplies to over 2.2 million, and of medical services to 90 percent of Port-au-Prince’s displaced people.

This is in addition to Canada’s ongoing $555-million engagement in Haiti for 2006 to 2011.

In addition, at the International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti, Canada pledged $400 million over two years to support the Government of Haiti’s Action Plan for National Recovery and Development.

On March 31, 2010, CIDA announced the $220 million Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund, set up to match donations by Canadians to Canadian registered charities. The Fund receives its allocations partly from the $150.15 million provided for humanitarian assistance and the $400-million commitment over two years for recovery and reconstruction.

For details on how these funds have been used, please consult Summary of Canada’s Financial Contributions to Haiti in Response to the Earthquake.

Helping Haiti address security challenges

Following the earthquake, Canada played a leading role in the stabilization and reconstruction of Haiti by providing, through the Global Peace and Security Fund (GPSF), financial support and expertise to support justice and security system reform in Haiti. The GPSF’s average annual allocation to Haiti was $15 million since 2006. This was increased to $25 million for 2010-2011 to intensify reconstruction and stabilization efforts.

New projects have been implemented that respond directly to the needs created by the earthquake and its aftermath. These projects include providing 100 patrol vehicles to the police, expanding the police school to train new officers, improving citizen’s access to justice, increasing community security, constructing new police headquarters and training the police to deliver basic first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Canadian police have provided humanitarian relief, assisted with first aid and provided security in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and outlying regions. There are approximately 130 Canadian civilian police officers and 17 corrections officers deployed to Haiti as part of the UN mission there.

For more information, please visit Canada Demonstrates Continued Commitment to Reconstruction and Security in Haiti and Canada Increases Deployments of Correctional Service Officers to Haiti.

Canada’s help in family reunification

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced special immigration measures on January 16, 2010. The Haiti Special Measures included a 12-week processing commitment for applications, as well as a number of fee waivers.

As of December 31, 2010, CIC had approved permanent resident applications for more than 3,600 Haitians and granted permission for the entry of over 3,000 on a temporary basis, using either temporary resident visas (almost 2,500 issued) or temporary resident permits (more than 600 issued). Some of these people have since become permanent residents.

Overall, CIC has reunited over 2,500 families since the earthquake. That is almost three times the number in 2009.

CIC also helped Canadian parents in the process of adopting children from Haiti get their children to Canada. Operation Stork resulted in the successful union of 203 Haitian children with their adoptive families in Canada.

For more information, please visit Earthquake in Haiti.

Canada’s immediate response to the earthquake

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, Canada evacuated more than 4,600 people from Haiti on 49 flights.

The Canadian Forces (CF) dispatched approximately 2,000 personnel from the Army, Navy and Air Force to provide search and rescue services; medical care; humanitarian assistance, such as food and water delivery; and security and engineering services.

CF personnel also provided nearly 1.5 million meals, 2.6 million litres of potable water and medical care to over 22,000 people in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Immediately after the earthquake, Canadian police rescued victims from crumbling buildings, provided first aid to the injured, assisted with humanitarian relief and provided security in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and outlying regions. In the aftermath of the earthquake, the RCMP launched Project Sentry to assist the Haitian National Police in developing the force’s capacity to protect children. Project Sentry gathered baseline information, such as photographs and biographical data, on children at risk from computer-enabled sexual exploitation. In total, 52 orphanages were visited and 2,676 children photographed.

For more information on the Canadian Forces’ work in Haiti, please visit Operation Hestia.

For more information on these and other aspects of Canada’s engagement in Haiti, as well as advice on how to help those affected by the disaster, please visit Canada’s engagement in Haiti: One year after the earthquake and Haiti.