Canada announces continued assistance for people in Gaza

News release

March 8, 2024 - Mississauga, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Canada is deeply concerned by the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza that is worsening by the hour. Help must reach civilians as quickly as possible. Canada is working to overcome challenges related to humanitarian access and the delivery of life-saving relief so that more assistance can reach those in need.

Canada was the first G7 country to provide support to Gaza after October 7, 2023, and is one of the world’s largest donors of assistance to address the current crisis. Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of International Development, announced that Canada will be lifting its temporary pause on funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). UNRWA plays a vital role in Gaza, providing over 2 million people with humanitarian relief, in addition to its crucial operations supporting 4 million people elsewhere in the region. Other organizations also rely on UNRWA’s experience and infrastructure to deliver humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

Following allegations that some UNRWA staff were involved in Hamas’s heinous terrorist attacks against Israel on October 7, 2023, the UN has put in place several significant processes to address the allegations and reinforce its zero tolerance for terror within the UN, including UNRWA. Canada has reviewed the interim report of the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on this matter and looks forward to the final report. Canada commends the independent review of UNRWA currently underway, led by Catherine Colonna, and anticipates reviewing the report assessing UNRWA’s neutrality mechanisms. While these investigative processes continue, UNRWA has taken immediate measures to strengthen oversight, accountability and transparency.

Canada is committed to ensuring full accountability, decisive action and the implementation of necessary reforms within UNRWA. Canada will work with fellow donors, the UN and UNRWA to ensure that the recommendations stemming from both the OIOS investigation and the independent review are fully implemented. Canada expects UNRWA to meet its obligations and uphold the UN’s value of neutrality: this is an essential component of UNRWA’s mandate.

Women and children are bearing the heaviest toll as a result of the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. Over 1.7 million Gazans are displaced, with the majority living in crowded and unsanitary conditions in Rafah. Most of the population is severely food insecure and there is a growing risk of widespread famine. Access to life-saving medical services is heavily limited.

Every amount of assistance is critical, which is why Canada is pursuing all avenues to deliver assistance into Gaza. One way Canada is doing this is by supporting Jordan and the World Food Programme (WFP) to conduct airdrops in Gaza delivering essential items that Palestinian civilians desperately need.

Jordan has been playing a key role in delivering desperately needed supplies by both land and air to Gaza. To bolster these efforts, Canada is providing $100,000 in funding to the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation for the purchase of supplies such as food, blankets and winter clothing, which will be delivered to Gazans in need, including through Jordanian airdrops. Additionally, Canada has allocated substantial funding to the WFP, part of which will be used for airdrops.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will be providing approximately 300 cargo parachutes from the Canadian Army Advanced Warfare Centre in Trenton to the Royal Jordanian Air Force to assist them in conducting the airdrops of critical supplies into Gaza.

Airdrops are absolutely not a substitute for deliveries via land and sea routes. Canada continues to call for more entry points, expanded access, protection of humanitarian workers, and a humanitarian ceasefire.

Canada continues to call on all parties to respect their international humanitarian law obligations. This includes immediately releasing all hostages, ceasing to employ human shields, respecting and protecting medical and humanitarian personnel, and taking all feasible precautions to protect civilians in the conduct of hostilities. Furthermore, the parties must allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need.

Canada is committed to a two-state solution, with Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace and security, with dignity and without fear.


“Since the horrific terrorist attack by Hamas on October 7, Canada has centred its decisions on the protection of civilians. Both Israelis and Palestinians have the fundamental human right to live in peace, dignity and security, without fear. As a government, we have a responsibility to ensure that Canadians have confidence in the organizations we support, which is why we have taken prudent measures to allow for a necessary investigation to take place. In recognition of the robust investigative processes underway, UNRWA’s efforts to address serious allegations made against some of its staff, including the implementation of internal measures to improve oversight and accountability, as well as the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza, Canada is resuming its funding to UNRWA so more can be done to respond to the urgent needs of Palestinian civilians. Canada will continue to take the allegations against some of UNRWA’s staff extremely seriously and we will remain closely engaged with UNRWA and the UN to pursue accountability and reforms.”

-  Ahmed Hussen, Minister of International Development

“This donation of parachutes from the Canadian Armed Forces will help to replenish the Royal Jordanian Air Force’s supplies for humanitarian airdrops, supporting the delivery of life-saving assistance to the Palestinian people. Through this donation and our significant financial contributions to trusted partners, Canada will continue to provide the Palestinian people with access to critical humanitarian relief.”

- Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence

“Canada is resuming its funding to UNRWA, so more can be done to respond to the urgent needs of Palestinian civilians. We shall continue to be closely engaged with UNRWA on investigations, reviews and audits currently underway. All of these will require the full cooperation of the Government of Israel, as well as the determination of UNRWA itself to improve its own security systems. The United Nations Secretary-General has given member states and donors his personal assurance that these issues have his full attention.”

- Bob Rae, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York

Quick facts

  • No regularly scheduled payment that was intended to go to UNRWA was missed during the temporary pause. By providing certainty that Canada’s planned contribution will proceed, this will help prevent the imminent collapse of this essential organization.

  • The CAF is making available approximately 300 cargo parachutes for the purpose of dropping cargo.

Associated links


Olivia Batten
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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