News Release: Canadian development workers welcome CIDA/DFAIT merger legislation
Canadian development workers welcome CIDA/DFAIT merger legislation
On Monday April 29, 2013, the federal government tabled Bill C-60 in Parliament. This Budget Bill contains the new legislation that formalizes the amalgamation of the Canadian International Development Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The new department will be called the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.
“This new legislation provides a promising basis for the merger of the two departments,” said Richard Beattie, President of the Canadian Association of International Development Professionals (CAIDP), a national association which represents Canadian companies, organizations and individuals working in the field of international development.
“By creating the position of Minister for International Cooperation and including a detailed mandate for the Minister, explicitly focused on poverty reduction and humanitarian assistance, the government has addressed concerns previously expressed by Canadians involved or interested in international development, that the development and humanitarian mandate which guides CIDA could be diluted."
The Minister for International Development with "responsibilities relating to international development, poverty reduction and humanitarian assistance" will be on equal standing with the International Trade Minister, while the President of CIDA becomes a Deputy Minister in the new Department.
In addition, the new legislation spells out the Minister’s duties: undertaking activities on, ensuring the effectiveness of, and fostering relations with other countries and organizations on international development and humanitarian assistance, and ensuring that this contribution is in line with Canadian values and priorities.
In the run-up to the new Act, our colleagues in the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) released a set of benchmarks for more effective and coherent international development and humanitarian assistance which we believe constitute an excellent point of reference for Canadians wishing to assess the implementation of the new legislation. In this context, CAIDP is pleased that the ODA Accountability Act (ODAAA) has been maintained and that the new legislation specifically refers to the core mandate of poverty reduction of the Minister, as stipulated in the ODAAA.
“While we consider the legislation a very positive starting point, we also recognize that how the merger is actually carried out over the coming weeks and months will be crucial in ensuring that the effectiveness of CIDA programming is maintained and possibly improved, that real policy coherence is established and that the specialized knowledge, experience and skills of CIDA's personnel are valued and maximized. Our hope is that, at the end of the day, Canada's ODA program regains the international and domestic respect that we see it has lost over the past several years and that it clearly embodies Canadian values and presents a Canadian face to the world."
“As concerned Canadians, and taxpayers, we will continue to monitor closely the progress of the merger over the coming weeks and months. We hope that the Government will capitalize on this very promising start by moving forward with proper consultations with Canadian and international partners."
CAIDP is a non-profit voluntary association founded in 1993 to provide a voice for Canadians working professionally in international development.
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