News Release


Landmark Legislation Suffers from Lacklustre Implementation -
Government’s Foreign Aid Spending Fails to Reflect ODA

Accountability Act

May 18, 2010

Two years after passing the Official Development Assistance (ODA) Accountability Act the government has failed “to fulfill the Act’s spirit and the intention of parliament” according to a report released today.

A Time to Act edited by the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC), outlines how the government has failed to meet the Act’s three criteria for aid spending.  Specifically that foreign aid spending:

  • contributes to poverty reduction;
  • takes into account the perspectives of the poor; and
  • is consistent with international human rights standards.

A Time to Act states that, in relation to the three criteria, the government “assumes the perspectives of the poor and at best acknowledges a narrow obligation to ‘do no harm’ in
meeting human rights standards.”  But according to the authors of the report it is only through a human rights approach to foreign aid that Canada will meet the requirements of the Act.

“Unfortunately, the potential of the legislation will be unfulfilled,” according to CCIC’s President and CEO Gerry Barr “if government programming and reporting under the Act continues to be sketchy, incomplete and non-transparent.”

The government’s recent decision to alter its list of countries of focus is a case in point. Canada recently removed African countries (among the world’s poorest) from its country focus list in favour of a number of middle-income countries in the Americas and Asia. The grounds, used by Minister for International Cooperation, Bev Oda, for determining the countries of focus had nothing to do with the ODA Accountability Act.

 A Time to Act looks at the ODA Accountability Act and education, gender equality, decent work, the right to food and the international financial institutions.
A Time to Act is available as a PDF.  CCIC’s President and CEO, Gerry Barr is available for interviews.

For more information contact:

Katia Gianneschi
Media Relations
Canadian Council for International Co-operation
613-241-7007 ext. 311