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Increasing transparency of international assistance

When citizens, civil society and government officials have access to information on international assistance activities, they can plan more effectively against their priorities, monitor the implementation of projects and evaluate what this assistance is achieving. This leads to resources being used as effectively as possible to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. Access to information is the foundation for accountability.

This is why we are committed to transparency and accountability. As such, we publish increasing amounts of information and report regularly to Canadians on our international assistance plans, activities and results throughout the year.

Our efforts towards accountability and transparency

We became one of the first donor countries to offer an online project database featuring international assistance projects in 2004. At that time the former Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) created the first version of the Project Browser to complement information available through more traditional publications.

Commitments to transparency were also an important component of the declaration adopted at the second High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Paris, France (2005).

At the fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea (2011), Canada and other donors further committed to increase the availability of public information on development activities by following a common, open standard for electronic publication of information on development cooperation.

In addition, Canada has joined a number of international initiatives and partnerships committed to transparency since 2011, including the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and the Open Government Partnership.

Canada is among the world leaders in publishing open data on its international assistance. Users have access to the data through a range of products to meet various needs: 

In addition to open data, Global Affairs Canada also publishes a range of narrative information and more formal reports on a regular basis, including:

Canada is continuously working on improving the quality, quantity, accessibility and usability of the information it makes available to the public on its international assistance activities.

Canada and the International Aid Transparency Initiative

The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) aims to improve the transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of international aid by making aid-related information easier to find, use and compare.

Donor countries, developing country governments and non-governmental organizations who sign on to IATI commit to publishing more timely, comprehensive, and forward-looking information on international assistance. IATI has developed an international standard for publishing this information and offers access to all IATI data through its Registry and various tools.

Canada joined IATI in November 2011, through the former CIDA, and started publishing data in 2012 in accordance with its implementation schedule. The range and quality of the data is improving continuously, as demonstrated by independent assessments. For example, Global Affairs Canada scored 76.3%, in the 2016 Aid Transparency Index, making the “good” category and placing fourth among bilateral donor agencies. Its overall score has increased since 2012.

Finance Canada and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) released their first IATI data sets in 2015. As a result, about 90% of Canada’s official development assistance is now available in the IATI standard.

In 2016, Canada was elected Chair of the IATI Governing board for a two-year term. In 2017, Global Affairs Canada released a new version of Project Browser which provides direct access to its IATI data in a user-friendly interface.

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