Canada’s aid and development assistance in response to COVID 19
On 5 May 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an end to its highest alert level for COVID-19, known as a “public health emergency of international concern”. Over three years, the global COVID-19 pandemic has increased inequalities and reversed development gains. The pandemic particularly impacted women and children who were already experiencing poverty, exclusion and/or marginalization more severely.
Canada is proud to have helped lead a robust global response to COVID-19, contributing to increased equitable access to vaccines, tests treatments and personal protective equipment (PPE), while also reinforcing essential health services. Canada’s efforts maintained a focus on the most vulnerable and the differentiated needs of women and girls.
As the world moves beyond pandemic response, Canada remains committed to strengthening health systems and pandemic preparedness in low- and lower-middle income countries as part of an inclusive and sustainable recovery. In 2023, Canada will continue to support country-led efforts to protect high-risk populations against COVID-19 and integrate COVID-19 into routine health services, including through the COVAX Facility and Canada’s $317 million signature Global Initiative for Vaccine Equity (CanGIVE). CanGIVE will also strengthen health systems and build vaccine manufacturing capacity in 12 focus countries, most of them in Africa.
Going forward, Canada is helping lead global processes to apply learnings from the COVID-19 experience and ensure the world is better prepared to manage future pandemics.
Canada’s Global COVID-19 Response during the Acute Phase of the Pandemic
As a part of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada’s response during the acute phase of the pandemic included 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
Between February 2020 and May 2023, Canada contributed over $3.5 billion in international assistance in response to COVID-19. This included:
- Over $2.1 billion for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator)
- Approximately $1.4 billion for humanitarian and development assistance programming to respond to the immediate needs created by the pandemic
Canada prioritized support across all pillars of the ACT-Accelerator, including the Health Systems and Response Connector, recognizing that a strong public health response required robust testing, access to vaccines and treatments – including oxygen – and strong systems to ensure their effective delivery.
In addition to Canada’s support to the ACT-Accelerator, Canada also made the following contributions:
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.
At the 2022 G20 Leaders’ Summit, Canada announced $50 million to the Pandemic Fund to address the significant financing gaps on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (PPR). While the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved, now is the time to ensure the world is better prepared ahead of future health emergencies.
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 succeed in increasing equal and affordable access to COVID 19 health products for people worldwide, including:
- tests for diagnosing COVID-19
- treatments, therapies and drugs (therapeutics)
Canada is proud to have been one of the largest contributors to ACT-Accelerator partners, contributing over $2.1 billion across the following areas:
- Vaccine Pillar – $1.272 billion:
- $840 million for the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility in support of: vaccine procurement, and delivery, distribution and the dose sharing mechanism
- $90 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) as the designated lead within COVAX for research, development, testing and licensing of COVID-19 vaccines
- $10 million for the UNICEF matching fund that supports vaccine procurement, in-country vaccine delivery, and provision of technical support to health systems
- $15 million to COVAX partner Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) in support of the mRNA Technology Transfer and Manufacturing program based in South Africa
- $317 million for CanGIVE partners MPP, PAHO, UNICEF and WHO to support vaccine delivery, demand and production, as well as health system strengthening in 12 countries
- Therapeutics Pillar - $290 million:
- $230 million to UNICEF for therapeutics procurement and delivery
- $60 million to Unitaid to support the procurement of approved therapeutic products, the optimization and evaluation of new therapies, expanded access to liquid oxygen, and improved oxygen infrastructure at facilities
- Diagnostics Pillar - $265 million:
- $225 million to the Global Fund through the COVID-19 Response Mechanism to strengthen early warning surveillance, laboratory systems, oxygen and respiratory care, and support community health workers
- $40 million to FIND to support equitable access to effective diagnostics and expand testing and surveillance capacity
- Health Systems and Response Connector (cross-cutting) - $310 million:
- $100 million for the WHO to work alongside countries to reduce barriers and bottlenecks hindering the roll-out of vaccines and therapeutics at the country level
- $55 million to the WHO to strengthen primary health care in the context of COVID-19 in ten countries.
- $15 million to support the WHO COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan
- $50 million to the PAHO for the development, delivery and distribution of vaccines and therapeutics, including targeted support to Latin America and the Caribbean
- $90 million to the Global Financing Facility’s COVID-19 Essential Health Services grants
The COVAX Facility
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada has been a strong supporter of the COVAX Facility. The COVAX Facility, operationalized by Gavi with support from CEPI, WHO and UNICEF, was the main operational arm of the vaccines pillar of the ACT-Accelerator. Canada has contributed over $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.
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.
Canada committed to donating the equivalent of 200 million doses by the end of 2022. Canada has exceeded this commitment, donating the equivalent of over201 million doses, a significant contribution that helped meet country demand for vaccines. This includes at least 46.6 million doses deemed surplus from Canada's domestic supply and donated to COVAX, as well as more than 3.7 million doses donated directly to countries through bilateral agreements.
Canada has also provided financial contributions to COVAX towards the purchase and delivery of the equivalent of 150.7 million vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries. 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.
- Covid 19: Canada’s Global Initiative for Vaccine Equity
- Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine supply and donation strategy
- Canada’s international vaccine distribution
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- COVID-19 Announcements
- Contributing to the international response
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