Federal Budget 2018: Highlights and Backgrounder

Federal Budget 2018 Highlights for international assistance and gender equality:

  • An increase to Canada’s international assistance envelope of $2 billion over five years dedicated to support humanitarian assistance and Canada’s core development priorities, in particular supporting women and girls. 
  • Increased transparency in the International Assistance Envelope (IAE)specifying allocations, including a dedicated pool for humanitarian funding and a separate dedicated pool of funding for core development assistance.
  • Existing, unallocated International Assistance Envelope resources of $1.5 billion over five years will now be directed, starting in 2018-19, towards:
    • a new International Assistance Innovation Program to give the Government greater flexibility for financing arrangements and partnerships ($873.4 million over five years on a cash basis and $290.5 million per year thereafter).
    • a new Sovereign Loans Program to diversify tools Canada can use to engage partner countries and international development organizations (up to $626.6 million over five years on a cash basis and up to $202.2 million per year thereafter).

About CanWaCH: The Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health brings together leading organizations from across Canada, including health professional associations, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations. CanWaCH members contribute to improving the health of millions of women, children and adolescent girls in more than 1000 communities worldwide. For further information on CanWaCH members’ work, see our Project Explorer.
Canada’s Commitment to Global Health: Global health is a long-standing Canadian priority. Canada’s contribution to global health has helped to meet urgent health needs for women and children and it is making a difference. Women dying as a result of pregnancy and childbirth has declined by almost half and child deaths by over 50 percent since 1990. Canada was the sixth-largest donor to global health in 2015 at US$683 million. This corresponds to 16 percent of Canada’s total Official Development Assistance (ODA). Health is also among the largest sectors of Canada’s bilateral funding, at 14 percent of bilateral ODA in 2015.
Women and Girls:  According to a recent UN Women report,  across countries, women and girls who  are the most left behind, experience multiple forms of discrimination, including based on their sex, age, class, ability, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity or migration status (See: UN Women, see Box 1.2 and Chapter 4, UN Women, “Turning promises into action: Gender equality in the 2030 Agenda”,  2018. http://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/sdg-report)
Gender Equality and Health Return on Investment: The case for upholding the human right to health for women, children and adolescents is rock solid. Investing in women, children and adolescent’s health and rights 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.The estimated running cost is US$4.5 billion per year – at a cost of just nine cents (US) per person.[1]
  • Investments in reproductive, maternal, newborn, adolescent and children’s health yield at least ten times return on investment through better educational attainments, workforce participation and social contributions.[2]
  • Fully closing gender gaps in work, which is fundamentally connected to health, would add $28 trillion (US) to global economy by 2025.[3]

[1] Human Reproduction Programme, WHO. 2015. “Strategies toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM).” Geneva, Switzerland: WHO. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/153544/ 1/9789241508483_eng.pdf?ua=1.

[2] Stenberg, Karin et al. 2014. “Advancing Social and Economic Development by Investing in Women’s and Children’s Health: A New Global Investment Framework.” The Lancet 383 (9925):1333–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62231-X.; Jamison, Dean T, Lawrence H Summers, George Alleyne, Kenneth J Arrow, Seth Berkley, Agnes Binagwaho, Flavia Bustreo, et al. 2013. “Global Health 2035: A World Converging within a Generation.” The Lancet 382 (9908):1898–1955. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62105-4.; Heckman, James L. 2015. “Four Big Benefits of Investing in Early Childhood Development.” The Heckman Equation.;UNFPA. 2014. “The Power of 18 Billion: Adolescents, Youth, and the Transformation of the Future.” UNFPA. https://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/EN-SWOP14-Report_FINAL-web.pdf.; Black, Robert E, Harold Alderman, Zulfiqar A Bhutta, Stuart Gillespie, Lawrence Haddad, Susan Horton, Anna Lartey, et al. 2013. “Maternal and Child Nutrition: Building Momentum for Impact.” The Lancet 382 (9890):372–75. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60988-5.

[3] Woetzel, Jonathan et al. 2015. “How Advancing Women’s Equality Can Add $12 Trillion to Global Growth.” McKinsey Global Institute. https://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/how-advancing-womens-equality-can-add-12-trillion-to-global-growth.


Charmaine Crockett
Manager, Strategic Communications
Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health
[email protected] | 613-863-9489

For further information, please see the News Release ‘Federal Budget 2018: Canada Back on Track to Close Global Gender Health Gap.’


February 27, 2018