Federal Government to Amalgamate CIDA with DFAIT

March 21, 2013

The Budget states that, as part of a
broader effort to promote integration and efficiency within its international
engagement and development efforts, the Canadian International Development
Agency (“CIDA”) will amalgamate with the Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade (“DFAIT”). The
combined agency will be called the Department of Foreign Affairs, International
Trade and Development. This merger
follows a previous merger in 2006 of the formerly separate departments of Foreign
Affairs and International Trade.

The Budget states that this merger is being
done out of recognition of the increasingly multi-faceted development objectives
that involve bilateral and multilateral relationships, trade and commercial
interests, and engagement with a range of Canadian stakeholders. The new amalgamated agency will continue to
serve the same functions as DFAIT and CIDA.
Core development assistance, including poverty alleviation through
development and humanitarian assistance, will remain intact.

In addition to the establishment of a
single Department of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Development, the
Budget states that the Federal Government will, for the first time, enshrine in
law the important roles and responsibilities of the Minister for development
and humanitarian assistance. It is hoped that the combined agency will result
in greater policy coherence on priority issues and will result in greater
overall impact.

At this early stage, the implications of
this amalgamation are uncertain. The Budget states that development
priorities will remain intact and it is hoped that the availability of grant
assistance to development organizations will not diminish. Organizations that receive
funding from either CIDA or DFAIT should watch for communications from these
agencies and should consult with them as appropriate to ensure a smooth
transition. That said, we wonder if the
change will result in a further focusing of Canadian development aid towards
the support of non-development related foreign policy goals.

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