Minister Gould announces support for sexual and reproductive health and rights

News release

June 22, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

With health systems straining to respond adequately to the global pandemic, it is more important than ever to protect gains in comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights, including access to safe abortion and contraception, by ensuring crucial services are not diverted. Canada remains committed to delivering on its Feminist International Assistance Policy and development commitments in the context of COVID-19.

The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, today announced $93.7 million in funding toward ensuring that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe and every girl and woman is treated with the dignity and respect she deserves. A portion of this funding is part of the commitment announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in June 2019.

Canada’s support will focus on areas often neglected in development assistance: comprehensive sexuality education and support for adolescents; advocacy; and family planning and contraceptives. It will also help prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence, including child, early and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation and cutting, and will support both the right to choose safe and legal abortion and access to post-abortion care. Funding will help the most vulnerable by breaking down barriers faced by marginalised women.

The Minister made this announcement at the #SheDecidesNow Virtual Round Table, which she co-hosted alongside Sonali Silva, SheDecides champion and 25 x 25 young leader.

Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy continues to put women and girls at the centre of its development efforts—including by ensuring that health systems meet the needs of women and girls—particularly through support for comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Today’s funding investments will help key partners support the most vulnerable people by working to ensure that crucial services continue to be provided and that progress continues in sexual and reproductive health and rights.


“Even in the midst of a global pandemic, we must continue to push forward, to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women in all their diversity in developing countries. These rights are the foundation of gender equality and the achievement of development goals of food security, economic development, improved health outcomes and better education.”

- Karina Gould, Minister of International Development

Quick facts

  • In June 2019, at the Women Deliver 2019 Conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a historic, 10-year investment of $1.4 billion annually, starting in 2023, to support women in all their diversity and girls’ health around the world, with $700 million of the annual investment dedicated to sexual and reproductive health rights.

  • In March 2017, Canada announced $650 million in funding over 3 years to address gaps in sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world.

  • Every 2 minutes, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy or in childbirth. Most of these deaths are preventable.

  • In developing countries, 214 million women have an unmet need for modern contraception.

  • Each year, 25 million unsafe abortions take place because of stigma and restrictions on access to safe medical treatment.

  • Some 47 million women in 114 low- and middle-income countries are projected to be unable to use modern contraceptives if lockdowns, or other COVID-19-related disruptions, continue for 6 months and result in major disruptions of services. An additional 7 million unintended pregnancies, as well as 12,200 to 56,000 additional maternal deaths, in low to middle-income countries are expected to occur as a result.

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Guillaume Dumas
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

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