Canada is one of 24 donor countries that is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC). The DAC promotes international dialogue and study on development and sets standards for reporting and monitoring aid.
Every year, GAC collects information on international assistance flows provided by Canadian governments (federal, provincial and municipal), compiles the data in a structured format, and then reports it to the OECD/DAC, in accordance with internationally agreed definitions. The DAC in turn publishes the data collected from all donors.
In order to ensure comparability amongst donors, OECD data is prepared on a calendar-year basis and presented in millions of U.S. dollars. Government of Canada reports, such as the Statistical Report on International Assistance, are prepared on a fiscal year basis (April 1 to March 31) and in Canadian dollars.
It is also important to understand that, in Canada, there are two definitions of official development assistance (ODA). First, there is the international definition created by the OECD/DAC, which is used to prepare the statistics reported on its website (links below). Second, there is the definition set out in Canada’s Official Development Assistance Accountability Act. These two definitions are compatible, however, the OECD/DAC definition also includes assistance from provincial/territorial or municipal sources. For more information on how Canada defines its assistance, please consult Understanding international assistance terms.
The detailed rules describing whether certain activities may be counted as ODA comprise about 100 pages split up in three manuals, edited by the OECD. More information on this topic can be found in the methodology section of the OECD/DAC website.