11/15/2016 03:40 EST | Updated 11/17/2016 11:42 EST

Canada's Foreign Aid Spending Doesn't Match Generous Reputation


Hi, Canada. Have you had more than your fill of presidential politics? I have. Don't get me wrong, developments south of the border are huge for Canada, too. And stateside news will no doubt Trump domestic stories for a while.

As always, I feel really good to live in Canada. We're the nation that opened our doors to Syrian refugees, aren't we? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has declared in his speeches that "we're Canadian and we're here to help." Generosity and giving are fundamental Canadian values -- and the world knows it.

How do Canadians feel?

Many of the average Canucks we spoke to recently felt exactly the same way. A World Vision team headed to the streets with a microphone and camera, then produced this video. What do Canadians think about what their government is doing to help vulnerable people in other countries, a.k.a. foreign aid? How well are we doing it?

The general sentiment was pretty consistent: Canada is a kind, open and generous global citizen. People told us they feel good about what we're doing around the globe to help the less fortunate. Many shared the view that Canada is a leader on the global humanitarian and development front.

Although the vote wasn't unanimous, the overall consensus jived with our own supporter surveys, as well as similar checks by other organizations.


Here's the down side...

Spoiler alert! Unfortunately, our current foreign aid spending does not fully reflect Canada's generous nature. Turns out, Canada gives a lot less than most Canadians think we do. Here's a sample:

  • Our rank is 14th on the list of 28 major donor countries
  • Our commitments and contributions are actually below average
  • Our commitment is only 28 cents of foreign aid for every $100 of Canada's Gross National Income. The international gold standard for donor countries is at least 70 cents!

When we broke this news to the Canadians we interviewed, many were shocked and disappointed. But there was some good news, too: Canadian funding is doing some remarkable things to ending extreme poverty and preventable diseases as part of a global movement. And when it comes to the all-important United Nations Sustainable Development Goals -- which include the universal call to tackle the root causes of poverty -- Canada's made some strong commitments.

Whether in the surveys or on the streets, Canadians are pretty clear. They want our country to be a global leader in helping the less fortunate. Canadians want "more Canada" in the world. Canada is capable of doing more and should do more. And for Canada to do its part to meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals by the 2030 deadline, we need to significantly increase our foreign aid commitments in the 2017 federal budget.


Want to help move the needle on foreign aid spending? Canadians can take action by joining the conversation on social media at #MoreCanada and also tell Canada that they want our country to be a foreign aid leader. Visit World Vision's "Voices" web site to learn how you can get involved.

Never has the need, and the opportunity, for Canadian leadership been greater. Children's lives depend on it. Join the national conversation on Canadian foreign aid!

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