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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

  1. a self-financing window for higher-income economies
  2. 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.

Vaccine contributions

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.

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