Government fails to #KeepThePromise

By: Results Canada Published: 29/03/2023

Budget 2023 undermines Canada’s standing in the world, as government backpedals on aid commitment, says coalition of NGOs

Jump to how you can take action now

Ottawa - March 28, 2023: At a time of enormous need globally, the Canadian government has failed to deliver on its promise to increase foreign aid every year. As part of the Federal Budget 2023, the government declined to announce new investments for any international aid programs.

The coalition of over 90 NGOs - representing a wide-range of development, humanitarian, environmental and advocacy groups - said that compared to Budget 2022, the overall international assistance funding was cut by no less than $1.3 billion – a 15% cut. The decision by the government to cut foreign aid comes amidst a world facing multiple crises around climate change, hunger, conflict and an erosion of human rights and democratic values.

"The word of the day is 'undermine'," said Kate Higgins, CEO of Cooperation Canada that represents over 95 organizations working on development and humanitarian assistance in countries around the world. "This budget undermines Canada's standing in the world, it undermines progress on sustainable development, and it undermines our security. At a time when the world faces compounding global crises, Canadians expect their government to commit to bold global leadership. This budget does not deliver on this.”

In recent months, a sustained campaign by the international cooperation sector urged the government to prioritize funding commitments towards programs promoting gender equality, health, education, food security and nutrition, climate adaptation, and social justice.

In a letter to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in February 2023, more than 75 aid agencies emphasized the importance of foreign aid as a smart investment in global security and prosperity. They called on the government to commit to a predictable, three-year increase to reach $10 billion by 2025. Budget 2023 is lacking that clarity and predictability on how the government will be increasing its foreign aid envelope annually.

Elise Legault of the ONE Campaign added: "Canada has been there for Ukraine, but we are now letting other countries down. Canada’s commitments in today’s budget not only fail to meet this call but actively threaten progress as we know it. We made a promise to the world to increase international assistance every year, and instead there is a 15% cut in the middle of an unprecedented food crisis and countries crumbling under the effects of climate change. This isn’t the leadership that Canadians or the world expects."

The coalition said they are hopeful that more funds will come later in the year, as this budget blatantly failed to announce new investments. For example, the government indicated its intentions to renew its historic investments for girls education globally made at the G7 in Charlevoix in 2018. Without that renewed investment, four million girls and young women around the world are left with an uncertain future as Canadian-supported education projects will end in the coming months.

“Canada has been a champion of women’s and girls’ rights, but the Feminist International Assistance Policy is an empty promise if Canada fails to back it with concrete actions and resources,” says Julia Anderson of CanWaCH, a coalition of organizations working on women’s and children’s health and rights. “At a time when the world is calling on Canada to step up and deliver on the vision and leadership it promised, this government chose to step down.”

Contact Information:

Louis Belanger - Bigger than our Borders - 613-265-4417

Sabrina Grover - One Campaign - 403-614-6498

Gabriel Karsz-Perriau - Cooperation Canada - 514-945-0309

Charmaine Crockett - CanWaCH - 613-863-9489

Note: The coalition of aid agencies represent a broad group of civil society organizations working in the field of advocacy, education, economic development, women and children’s health, sustainable livelihoods and food and water security, nutrition, gender equality and human rights. 

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
Action Against Hunger
ACTED Canada
Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)
AidWatch Canada
Alberta Council for Global Cooperation
Atlantic Council for International Cooperation
Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI)
Bigger Than Our Borders
Bright Hope for Tomorrow
British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC)
Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID)
Canadian Feed the Children
Canadian Foodgrains Bank
Canadian Lutheran World Relief
Canadian Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases
Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health
Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan
CARE Canada
Centre d’étude et de coopération internationale (CECI)
Children Believe
Coady Institute
Collaboration Santé International
Cooperation Canada
Cooperative Development Foundation of Canada
Crossroads International
Cuso International
Développement international Desjardins (DID)
Development and Peace-Caritas Canada
Dignity Network Canada
Egale Canada
Engineers Without Borders Canada
Equality Fund
Equitas - International Centre for Human Rights Education
Farm Radio International
Fondation Paul Gérin-Lajoie
Food for the Hungry Canada
Global Citizen
Global Disciples Canada
Grandmothers Advocacy Network
Human Concern International
Humanité & Inclusion
Hungry For Life International
iDE Canada
Inter Pares
International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO)
Islamic Relief Canada
Jane Goodall Institute of Canada
Journalists for Human Rights (JHR)
Kentro Christian Network
Lawyers Without Borders CanaAda
Manitoba Council for International Cooperation
Médecins du Monde Canada
Medical Herstory
Mennonite Central Committee Canada
Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)
Mission inclusion
Never Again International - Canada
Northern Council for Global Cooperation
ONE Canada
Ontario Council for International Cooperation
Opportunity International Canada
Oxfam Canada
Partners In Health Canada
Plan International Canada
Presbyterian World Service & Development
Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
Public Service Alliance of Canada- Alliance de la Fonction publique du Canada
RÉFIPS, région des Amériques
Right To Play International
Results Canada
Santé Monde
Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation
Save the Children
SOS Children’s Villages Canada
Tearfund Canada
The United Church of Canada
Unité de santé internationale de l’Université de Montréal
UPA Développement international
Veterinarians without Borders Canada
WaterAid Canada
War Child Canada
The Wellspring Foundation for Education
World Accord
World Hope International (Canada)
World Renew
World Wide Hearing
World University Service of Canada
World Vision Canada

take action now

Step 1: Take to social media and express your disappointment in #Budget2023 and how it did not #KeepThePromise.


At a time of enormous need globally, the Canadian government has failed to #KeepThePromise to deliver an increase foreign aid. As a Canadian, I feel let down by #Budget2023 and will continue to advocate for what is right @JustinTrudeau @cafreeland @HarjitSajjan #cdnpoli

I’m deeply disappointed in #Budget2023. Rather than #KeepThePromise & increase intl assistance, today the gov broke that promise & cut intl assistance. I believe in an international Canada - we can do better @JustinTrudeau @cafreeland @HarjitSajjan #cdnpoli

Step 2: Email your MP (find them here) expressing your disappointment and CC Justin Trudeau (, Chrystia Freeland (, and Minister Harjit Sajjan ( Your email should include why you are personally disappointed in the overall international assistance funding being cut by $1.3 billion – a 15% cut. You can take inspiration from this release, but make it your own.

sign up and get informed

Everyday people empowered to generate the political will to end extreme poverty. Change is possible.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.