Canada continues its support of Palestinian refugees

News release

June 26, 2023 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Providing humanitarian assistance and responding to the needs of Palestinian refugees is part of the path toward peace and prosperity in the Middle East. Canada is committed to meeting the basic needs of the poorest and most vulnerable among this population.

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, announced Canada’s continued support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

This assistance includes up to $100 million over 4 years to deliver core programs that support basic education, health, social services and livelihood opportunities and protect the rights of Palestinian refugees. Canada is also providing $3 million to the Emergency Appeal for the West Bank and Gaza, to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance for basic services, such as emergency food assistance, emergency health services and improved water and sanitation access. Together, this support will help respond to the rising needs and deteriorating conditions faced by vulnerable Palestinian refugees across 5 fields of UNRWA’s operation: the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

Canada’s funding will also reinforce UNRWA’s ongoing efforts to uphold UN values and humanitarian principles, including neutrality, within the agency and its operations and ensure corrective actions are taken where needed. These continued efforts are essential to the effective delivery of its work and maintaining Canada’s support.

Canada will remain closely engaged with UNRWA and continue to exercises enhanced due diligence for all humanitarian and development assistance funding for Palestinians. This work includes ongoing oversight, regular site visits, a systematic screening process and strong anti-terrorism provisions in funding agreements.


“Palestinian refugees are facing high rates of poverty, food insecurity and unemployment. Canada’s continued support for UNRWA builds upon Canada’s long-standing commitment to Palestinians while also contributing to stability in the region.”

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

Quick facts

  • This continued commitment builds on Canada’s previous support for Palestinian refugees. From 2019 though 2023, Canada committed a total of $90 million in support for UNRWA.

  • UNRWA is mandated to provide services to Palestinian refugees located in the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

  • Canada’s multi-year funding commitment will contribute to addressing UNRWA’s funding shortfall and improve the predictability of the agency’s revenues, allowing it to plan how to meet current and expected needs.

  • In Syria, 91% of Palestinian refugee households live in absolute poverty. In Lebanon, more than 89% of Palestinian refugees displaced from Syria are in critical need of sustained humanitarian assistance.

  • Through the Framework for Cooperation between Global Affairs Canada and UNRWA, Canada has set out its requirements regarding the implementation of reform, regular monitoring and reporting, and compliance with Canadian anti-terrorism requirements.

Associated links


Haley Hodgson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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