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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 has increased inequalities and reversed 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:

Since February 2020, Canada has committed $3.4 billion in international assistance in response to COVID-19. This includes:

Canada has prioritized support across all pillars of the ACT-Accelerator, including the health systems and response connector, recognizing that, in addition to vaccines, a strong public health response requires robust testing, access to available treatments – including oxygen – and strong systems to ensure their effective delivery.

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 was an early supporter of the ACT-Accelerator, joining the ACT-Accelerator on May 4, 2020. This global partnership ensures that people worldwide have equal and affordable access to COVID 19 health products like:

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 is one of the largest contributors to ACT-Accelerator partners, with over $2 billion committed to date, making Canada one of only two countries to meet its fair share in 2021 and 2022.

On June 22, 2022, Canada announced $200 million in funding for a new signature initiative aimed at supporting vaccine delivery and distribution in 13 targeted countries, most of them in Africa. Canada’s Global Initiative for Vaccine Equity (CanGIVE) will support country-led efforts to enhance vaccine delivery and distribution, increase vaccine confidence and generate demand, as well as support local production of vaccines. This latest announcement is part of Canada’s $732 million commitment to the ACT-Accelerator announced on May 12, 2022, by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

To date, Canada has allocated over $1.8 billion in funding to ACT-Accelerator partners across the following areas:

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:

  1. a self-financing window for higher-income economies
  2. a COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) window , which pools contributions to fund vaccines to support 92 low and middle-income economies

Canada has committed up to $840 million to the COVAX Facility to support the procurement, distribution and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines for AMC countries. This also includes up to $10 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.

Vaccine contributions

Canada has also committed to donating the equivalent of at least 200 million doses to the COVAX Facility by the end of 2022. To date, To date, Canada has donated the equivalent of over 137 million doses to COVAX, with more to come. This includes over 50 million doses deemed surplus from Canada’s domestic procurements donated to COVAX, of which COVAX has delivered 14.8 million doses to recipient countries, as well as financial contributions to COVAX that have delivered the equivalent of 87 million vaccines doses for low and middle-income countries.

Additionally, Canada has also shared 762,080 doses of AstraZeneca 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.

Canada is also investing up to $15 million in the COVAX Manufacturing Task Force, to help establish the South Africa Technology Transfer Hub. This initiative will help build capacity to develop and produce mRNA vaccines and technologies in the region.

More information about Canada’s international vaccine distribution.

“Give A Vax” Matching fund

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.

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