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Canada’s aid and development assistance in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has evolved but it is not over yet and we must not let up our efforts to get this virus under control. Canada has helped lead a robust international COVID-19 response. Canada will continue to work with global partners to stop COVID-19 and address its devastating impacts as countries integrate COVID-19 response into routine health care. 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.

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 over $3.5 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.

Canada contributed $225 million to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB, and Malaria’s COVID-19 Response Mechanism. This funding has helped to mitigate the devastating impact of COVID-19 on efforts to combat the three diseases, and continues to support countries to strengthen health systems in the areas of early warning surveillance, laboratory systems, oxygen and respiratory care, and to scale up community health workforces.

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 not the time to let up our collective efforts to get the virus under control and promote an inclusive, sustainable COVID-19 recovery.

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 three countries to meet its fair share overall.

Canada has also prioritized Canada’s Global initiative for Vaccine Equity (CanGIVE), a $275 million signature initiative launched in June 2022. CanGIVE supports country-led efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccination, reinforce health system capacity and diversify vaccine manufacturing capacity in 12 targeted countries, most of them in Africa.

Through CanGIVE, Canada is partnering with UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Medicines Patent Pool (MPP).

These investments are 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 $2 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.

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 committed to donating the equivalent of 200 million doses by the end of 2022. So far, we have donated the equivalent of more than 196 million doses, a significant contribution that helped meet country demand for vaccines. This includes at least 41.5 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. Canada will fulfill the balance of the commitment through investments in international vaccine-related activities funded from Budget 2022 and future donations of doses through the COVAX Facility according to country demand.

Canada is also committed to addressing barriers to equitable access to vaccines by improving local manufacturing capacity across the global south. In 2021, Canada  announced an initial $15 million in the COVAX Manufacturing Task Force, to help establish the South Africa Technology Transfer Hub. As part of CanGIVE, on November 16 2022, Canada announced an additional $15 million to the mRNA Vaccine Manufacturing Hub in South Africa and  $15 million for (PAHO) to help build capacity to develop and produce mRNA vaccines and technologies in 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.

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