Address by Minister Bibeau at the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) Global Impact Soirée


May 9, 2017 - Ottawa, Ontario

Check against delivery. This speech has been translated in accordance with the Government of Canada’s official languages policy and edited for posting and distribution in accordance with its communications policy.

Thank you for that kind introduction.

It’s a great pleasure to be here with you tonight to celebrate the global impact that Canadian civil society has had on international development.

While we are a young country—celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation this year—the stories we have just seen show the huge Canadian contribution made to development, especially during the past five decades.

For half a century, Canadian development NGOs, in their desire to make the world a better place and to alleviate poverty, have been leaders in pushing the boundaries of change.

You have fought for the rights of women and girls.

You have helped to create food security, delivered new vaccines and quality education.

And you have pushed for a landmines treaty.

You were there to bring to Canada Vietnamese, Ugandan and Czech refugees and, more recently, Syrian refugees.

You helped settle them into our communities.

And following the earthquake in Haiti, you worked side by side with the Haitian people.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that you represent what is heroic and altruistic in the Canadian spirit.

But what I like best about the story of Canadian civil society over the last 50 years is that you collaborated—with each other, and with local actors in developing countries. In fact, you have always been committed to collaborating.

This commitment to partnership is what distinguishes us in the world.

And our international assistance programs owe a debt of gratitude to non-governmental and civil society organizations [CSO] for that.

Now, as we look ahead to meeting the Agenda 2030 [for Sustainable Development] objectives, the Government of Canada looks forward to continuing to work closely with Canadian civil society.

The scale of the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] and the transformative effect they will have for everyone means that we will have to draw on the insights of the full range of Canadian CSO actors and, more broadly, Canadians as global citizens.

This was a repeated theme during the International Assistance Review consultations and one that will resonate throughout Canada’s new international assistance policy.

Consistent with SDG 17, our government will foster new and diverse partnerships, and this will include working with small and medium-sized organizations, alongside larger ones.

Well, I heard you.

That is why I am delighted to announce $100 million in funding dedicated to small and medium-sized Canadian organizations. By SMOs, I refer to organizations reporting an annual budget of under $2 million in overseas expenditures.

This funding will offer financing over a five-year period to support innovative programs related to key government priorities, notably the empowerment of women and girls.

It will provide the predictability, transparency and access to funding that small and medium-sized organizations have been looking for.

Up to $94 million of the initiative will be dedicated to programming: a single fund with two windows.

One is a responsive window to enable SMOs to pursue a range of thematic programs. The other is an innovation window to support SMOs with small grants to test ideas that resolve specific development challenges.

The remaining $6 million will be used for capacity- and knowledge-building of the community. This funding will reinforce the ability of Canadian organizations to deliver better and more sustainable development results.

Consistent with our desire to change “how” we do development, we will be exploring ways to optimize our own processes to put Canada’s priorities into action.

As you might imagine, I will expect that every initiative that comes forward focuses on the socio-economic empowerment of women and girls and on gender equality.

I also expect to see more partnerships with local organizations to facilitate the impact and sustainability of these initiatives on the ground.

Finally, I hope these projects will help to better raise awareness—at home and overseas—of Canada’s development work.

This fund is just one example among so many others of how we will be transforming our approach to international assistance in order to achieve our shared goal of investing our resources in ways that will drive the best outcomes.

This fund is also a direct response to your desire to be innovative and to do things differently.

Indeed, we’ll have an opportunity to meet again shortly to update and implement the policy on partnership with civil society.

Because even though the official consultation is now over and the new international assistance policy will soon be tabled, I promise you that all of us—my team at the department, our missions abroad and myself—will continue our discussion with you, with Canadian organizations of all sizes, as well as with local communities, in particular women and girls.

By working together, we’ll make a difference in the fight to end poverty around the world.

Thank you, and have a good evening.


Marie-Emmanuelle Cadieux
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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