Canada’s aid and development assistance in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic
The COVID‑19 pandemic is a global threat that does not recognize borders. It will only be overcome through coordinated global action. Canada is committed to a robust global effort to stop COVID‑19 and address its devastating health, social, economic and security impacts on people around the world.
Canada knows that this global crisis could increase inequalities and reverse development gains. This particularly impacts women and children who already experience poverty, exclusion and/or marginalization more severely. As a part of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada’s response includes a particular focus on supporting:
- the world’s poorest and most marginalized people
- education, health, nutrition and sexual and reproductive health and rights
- the different needs of women and girls
Canada has supported the global effort to beat the pandemic from the very beginning. To date, Canada has mobilized more than $2.5 billion in international assistance in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic. This includes:
- over $1.3 billion for the Access to COVID‑19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator; this critical international partnership ensures equitable access to COVID‑19 tests, treatments and vaccines
- over $740 million in funding for humanitarian and development assistance to respond to the urgent needs stemming from the COVID‑19 pandemic
- $541 million to adapt existing funding arrangements with partners to ensure their activities are able to address urgent needs in developing countries resulting from the pandemic
In addition, in April 2020 Canada extended a $1-billion loan to the International Monetary Fund’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust in relation to the COVID‑19 pandemic. Since May 2020, Canada has also provided more than $70 million in temporary debt service relief for the poorest countries through the G20 and Paris Club agreed Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).
On October 30, 2021, at the G20 Leaders’ Summit, the Prime Minister announced that Canada will channel $3.7 billion, or 20 per cent of its newly allocated International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights, to support low-income and other vulnerable countries. As part of this, the Prime Minister announced that approximately $982 million would be distributed to the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust.
Equitable access to vaccines, tests and treatments
Canada joined the ACT-Accelerator on May 4, 2020, and continues to be among its leading contributors. This global partnership ensures that people worldwide have equal and affordable access to COVID‑19 health products like:
- tests for diagnosing COVID‑19
- treatments, therapies and drugs (therapeutics)
It also supports people working in health systems and local community networks around the world who are on the front lines testing, treating and vaccinating people. These people and their health systems and local community networks are critical in defeating this pandemic and being prepared for when another one occurs in the future.
Canada’s contribution of over $1.3 billion to the ACT-Accelerator includes:
- $40 million in funding for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), announced on April 5, 2020
- $120 million in funding to support the activities of the ACT-Accelerator, announced on June 27, 2020; this includes:
- $20 million to CEPI
- $65 million to the Global Fund, which will support the urgent procurement and deployment of diagnostics
- $20 million to the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND)
- $15 million to Unitaid
- $220 million through the COVID‑19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Advance Market Commitment (AMC) to buy vaccine doses for low and middle-income countries, announced on September 25, 2020
- $230 million to UNICEF for COVID‑19 therapeutics, announced on December 14, 2020
- $255 million in additional support for the ACT-Accelerator to deploy medical solutions against COVID‑19 in developing and vulnerable countries, also announced on December 14, 2020; this includes:
- $75 million to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) to develop, deliver and distribute vaccines, including an investment of up to $5 million to develop a mechanism to equitably share vaccine doses through the COVAX Facility
- $180 million to develop, deliver and distribute vaccines and therapeutics, including targeted support to Latin America and the Caribbean through the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and CEPI
- $75 million in funding to support the activities of the ACT-Accelerator, announced on February 19, 2021
- $375 million announced by the Prime Minister on May 7, 2021, for the ACT- Accelerator.
Canada has reallocated $30 million to the COVAX AMC through the completion of an AMC related to pneumococcal disease. The reallocation was part of the seed funding to which Gavi donors agreed to in support of the launch of the COVAX AMC in June 2020.
The COVAX Facility
Canada is a strong supporter of the COVAX Facility, which is part of the vaccines pillar of the ACT-Accelerator. The vaccines pillar aims to accelerate the development and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines, with the COVAX Facility as the global procurement tool. It unites over 190 economies to maximize buying power to support fair and equitable access to them for every country in the world.
The COVAX Facility is co-led by:
UNICEF is the key procurement and delivery partner for the Facility, alongside PAHO’s Revolving Fund, which provides similar support for countries in the Americas.
The COVAX Facility has 2 windows:
- a self-financing window for higher-income economies
- an AMC window, which pools contributions to fund vaccines to support 92 low and middle-income economies
Canada has contributed $545 million to the COVAX AMC to support the procurement, distribution and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. This also includes up to $5 million for the design and implementation of COVAX’s dose sharing mechanism that is now serving as the platform for countries committing to share doses via COVAX – putting Canada among world leaders in contributions per capita.
Canada is also working with international partners to address barriers to equitable access of vaccines by improving global capacity to manufacture them. While at the G20 Leaders’ Summit, on October 30, 2021, the Prime Minister announced an investment of up to $15 million, to COVAX Manufacturing Task Force partners, in support of the establishment of the South Africa Technology Transfer Hub. This initiative will help build capacity to enable development and production of mRNA vaccines and technologies in the region.
In December 2020, the Prime Minister announced that Canada would be sharing any vaccine doses in excess of Canada’s domestic needs with countries who needed them most. Since then, Canada has committed to donating the equivalent of at least 200 million doses to the COVAX Facility by the end of 2022. This includes over 50 million vaccine doses procured by Canada that were determined by Health Canada to be in excess of our domestic needs, plus financial support to COVAX for the procurement and delivery of doses.
Additionally, Canada has also shared over 762,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with countries in Latin America and the Caribbean through direct bilateral agreements. These doses had already arrived on Canadian soil and were in excess of Canada’s domestic needs.
More information about Canada’s international vaccine donations
“Give A Vax” Matching fund
To date, over 700 million vaccine doses have been shipped globally through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility, thanks to partners like UNICEF, but millions more are needed. Canadians are making a difference by helping to ensure that life-saving COVID-19 vaccines reach people in developing countries, humanitarian and conflict situations.
On November 3, 2021, the Government of Canada announced that it would match, dollar for dollar, the full $9,675,928 donated by individual Canadians to the #GiveAVax Fund through UNICEF Canada. Thanks to the generous contributions of individual Canadians, the full $19,351,857 (total of donations and match) will cover the costs of vaccinating over 3.8 million people around the world. This includes the per-person cost to transport vaccines to destination countries, keep vaccines viable by protecting the cold chain during the journey and train health care workers to effectively administer the vaccines and safely dispose of needles and waste.
The matching fund campaign, called “Give A Vax,” ran from July 12 to September 30, 2021.
- Canada’s international vaccine donations
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- COVID-19 Announcements
- Contributing to the international response
- Avoid all cruise ship travel due to COVID-19
- COVID-19: Current border measures and requirements
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