Canada’s approach to international assistance has gone through some tumultuous years. Stephen Harper’s government sparked controversy when it awarded funding to mining companies to do development work and directed aid dollars to countries that had commercial potential for Canada. It also merged the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) into the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (now Global Affairs Canada) and made maternal and child health a major funding priority. Now the Liberal government is engaged in a major policy review to determine how to approach international assistance, against the backdrop of the United Nations’ Agenda for Sustainable Development. Our Policy Options contributors offer several perspectives on this issue, from how the global dynamics have shifted from “assistance” to developing countries to partnership with them, to the role of cities, and the importance of putting women’s equality at the heart of assistance programs.
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