Canada renews support for its Volunteer Cooperation Program

News release

December 9, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Volunteering for international development is a powerful and cross-cutting way to advance the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Every day, volunteers dedicate their time and effort to ensure the inclusion of those often left behind and promote gender equality. 

Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, announced that Canada will renew its support for its Volunteer Cooperation Program (VCP) through a financial contribution of almost $418 million over 7 years, from 2020 to 2027. Through this commitment, Canada will fund 13 volunteer development projects in partnership with 15 Canadian organizations and mobilize around 10,000 volunteers to work in solidarity with over 700 organizations in approximately 47 countries. More than 50% of the funding will be allocated to countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Minister Sajjan made the announcement during his participation at the virtual VCP-partnered event, Global Resiliency and Volunteerism – A Celebration, which was held in honour of International Volunteer Day. At the event, he also thanked volunteers for their resilience during the pandemic and their capacity to listen, adapt and respond in a culturally sensitive manner to the evolving needs of a changing world.

While the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions have had a major impact on the program in 2020 and 2021, innovative and flexible measures have helped partners in adapting their project activities. Minister Sajjan is confident that the creativity and dedication of VCP-partnered organizations will ensure further results are achieved over the next 6 years of the program.

VCP-funded projects advance Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, which includes Canada’s priorities such as promoting the rights of women and girls, innovation, climate change, diversity and the inclusion and integration of marginalized groups, such as Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities and LGBTQ2 communities. At the event, Minister Sajjan encouraged people of all backgrounds and identities in Canada to volunteer for a better world.

Quotes

“International Volunteer Day is an ideal time to thank volunteers and our partners and to recognize the contributions made through the Volunteer Cooperation Program. The world needs more volunteers. Volunteers are dedicated and creative, and they can help the world in meeting the challenges that lie ahead. Canadians from all walks of life are sharing their expertise and making real and meaningful connections with local communities around the world. The work of our volunteers advances Canada’s priority of achieving a more just, inclusive and sustainable world in a gender-responsive manner.”

- Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

Quick facts

  • Canada, through various civil society organizations, has been funding volunteer programs since the 1960s. For over 25 years, VCP volunteers have included professionals and experts (including those who are retired or semi-retired) and young leaders who give their time and share their skills and expertise to support communities around the world.

  • From 2015 to 2020, the VCP provided $300 million in funding for 12 projects implemented by 15 Canadian volunteer cooperation organizations in 42 countries. The program contributed to the deployment of 9,508 volunteers, of whom 60% were women. 

  • By providing targeted expertise and reinforcing the capacity of civil society organizations in developing countries, volunteers provide assistance in a large variety of sectors, while helping to advance Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

  • Volunteers also play a key role in engaging Canadians in international development; they share their experience and the results of their work, raising awareness of issues in, and the importance of, international cooperation in building a more equitable and sustainable world for all.

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Contacts

Todd Lane
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Development
Todd.Lane@international.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
media@international.gc.ca
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