Canada’s humanitarian assistance to help developing countries prepare and respond to COVID-19

News release

March 20, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $50 million in funding to help vulnerable countries prepare for and respond to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As part of this, Canada will immediately provide $8 million of this funding to experienced humanitarian partners, including the World Health Organization, the Pan-American Health Organization, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

This funding will help respond to the needs of vulnerable populations in developing countries affected by COVID-19, including through increased surveillance systems and infection prevention; provision of water, sanitation and hygiene; protection services; emergency health care; and psychosocial support.

As women and girls are often disproportionately affected by crises, Canada’s partners will incorporate lessons learned from past outbreaks into their response efforts to ensure that their needs are taken into account.


“The spread of COVID-19 within developing countries, refugee camps and other at-risk communities is particularly concerning. This emergency funding will help minimize the impact in countries that have health systems that are being particularly challenged. Funds will also support preparedness operations in refugee or displaced camps where health risks are very high. Our message is clear: Canada stands ready to assist, as we all unite to fight this global pandemic.”

- Karina Gould, Minister of International Development

Quick facts

  • Since February 4, 2020, the Government of Canada has deployed approximately 16 tonnes of personal protective equipment to China to support its ongoing response to the outbreak.

  • On February 11, 2020, the Government of Canada provided $2 million to the World Health Organization to help vulnerable countries prepare and respond to COVID-19 events.

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