Budget 2021: Four pressing questions for Canada’s role in the new state of the world

The INGO sector slammed Canada’s recent 2021 budget for an underwhelming humanitarian aid and development plan that doesn’t provide many answers — and poses significant questions.

Why It Matters

Canada is not safe from the COVID-19 pandemic if countries around the world are still suffering from its effects, as well as the many humanitarian crises in its wake. Defeating the virus will require a strategic and broad international aid plan.

Gloria Novovic has a lot of questions about Canada’s global engagement strategy for 2021, and the 739-page budget released last month isn’t offering many concrete answers. 

The policy lead for Cooperation Canada and other leaders in the global development and international aid sectors are still trying to get a sense of Canada’s aid strategy over the next few years. According to the federal budget tabled in April, roughly $1.4 billion has been allocated over the next five years to tackle a variety of humanitarian disasters, from famine to gender-based violence to the COVID-19 pandemic itself. But many in the INGO sector say it isn’t enough. 

Novovic says that Canada’s government made it clear, through investments in COVAX, the global vaccine-sharing agreement, and other initiatives, that it took the COVID-19 threat seriously. “There was that clear admission


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