The Federal Government has announced in the 2013 Federal Budget that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will be amalgamated with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) to form the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. It will be interesting to see how this change will affect the Canadian governments international development work and its relationship with Canadian charities.
Here is an excerpt from the Budget:
“Maximizing Opportunities for International Synergies
In Budget 2007 the Government laid the ground work for its Aid Effectiveness Agenda, which has since been successfully implemented by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through greater efficiency, accountability and focus, particularly in reporting on results and transparency, in order to maximize the impact of public funds.
The Government will continue to provide essential aid to those most in need in developing countries in key areas like maternal, newborn and child health, education, public sector governance and justice reform, and agriculture. Through these efforts, our assistance increasingly plays a catalytic role in fostering economic growth in the developing world and with emerging economies. This assistance is also a critical instrument for advancing Canada’s long-term prosperity and security.
Canada continues to make international development and humanitarian assistance central to our foreign policy, while maintaining a leadership role on the international stage, as evidenced by our G8 2010 Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.
The mechanisms through which we are advancing our development objectives are increasingly more multi-faceted and more often now include our bilateral and multilateral relationships, trade and commercial interests, and engagement with Canadian stakeholders, including civil society organizations and the private sector. As the linkages between our foreign policy, development, and trade objectives continue to grow, the opportunity to leverage each of these grows at equal pace.
In 2006, the Government re-merged its foreign affairs and international trade functions, helping to foster natural synergies between the two portfolios that have resulted in improved outcomes for Canadians. This enhanced policy coherence across our foreign and trade objectives has helped Canada to increase economic opportunities through our international engagements. There are similar opportunities for synergies with our development assistance.
In order to maximize this opportunity, the Government will amalgamate the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and CIDA. In addition to maintaining a separate ministerial position, this Government will, for the first time, enshrine in law the important roles and responsibilities of the Minister for development and humanitarian assistance. This enhanced alignment of our foreign, development, trade and commercial policies and programs will allow the Government to have greater policy coherence on priority issues and will result in greater overall impact of our efforts.
The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will continue to serve the same functions as those of CIDA and DFAIT. Poverty alleviation through development assistance and the provision of humanitarian assistance in times of crisis are a tangible expression of Canadian values, which the Government will continue to advance on the international stage. To that effect, core development assistance will remain intact. The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will leverage the synergies resulting from the amalgamation to maximize the effectiveness of the resources available to deliver development and humanitarian assistance.”
Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?
Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.