Federal Budget 2018: Canada Back on Track to Close Global Gender Health Gap

Bill Morneau

OTTAWA, February 27, 2018 – The Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH) applauds Canada’s commitment announced in the 2018 Federal Budget to increase investment in international assistance by $2 Billion over the next five years.

“With today’s announcement in Budget 2018, Canada is getting back on track. The Government of Canada is showing that it is serious about achieving the ambitious health and gender equality goals set out in its 2017 Feminist International Assistance Policy,” said Dr. Helen Scott, Executive Director of the Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH).

“The increase was urgently needed to maintain and build on Canada’s reputation as a global leader in health and gender equality,” said Dr. Scott. Prior to this increased investment, Canada was at its lowest levels of Official Development Assistance (ODA) in decades.

While important progress has been made in global health, and Canada’s investment has made a difference over the past two decades, significant gaps remain. These gaps hold millions of women and girls back from realizing their rights and reaching their full potential.

Health is foundational to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. The cost of inaction is staggering. One woman dies every two minutes from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications. Globally, pregnancy and childbirth-related complications are leading causes of death among girls aged 15 to 19. Plus, 7000 newborn babies die every day, primarily from preventable causes, with the highest death rates found in the poorest countries.

Gaps are more extreme in fragile contexts. More than half of all maternal, newborn and child deaths occur in humanitarian settings. Adolescent girls are more likely to be out of school and face a heightened health risk from trafficking, early and forced marriage, complications from pregnancy and gender-based violence in fragile settings.

The case for upholding the human right to health for women, children and adolescents is rock solid. It is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart economic thing to do. For example, effective care for all women and babies at the time of birth can prevent an estimated 113,000 maternal deaths, 531,000 stillbirths and 1.3 million neonatal deaths annually by 2020 – at a cost of just nine cents (US) per person per year.

Canada’s strong reputation as a leader on global health and gender equality is built on decades of Canadian commitment, investment and life-changing programs in developing countries.

According to Dr. Scott, “With renewed leadership in global health and gender equality, Canada has an opportunity to help bridge the gender health gap. Now, more than ever, the world needs a global champion to promote health equity for women, adolescents and children, including in humanitarian and fragile contexts.”



Charmaine Crockett

Manager, Strategic Communications

Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health

[email protected] | 613-863-9489


For further information, please refer to Federal Budget 2018 Highlights and Backgrounder.


February 27, 2018