Canadians know that we can do better for the world’s poorest

94% of Canadians agree that it is important to improve health, education and economic opportunity for the world’s poorest, according to the poll results report, “Canadian Perspectives on International Development,” co-launched by the Inter-Council Network of Provincial and Regional Councils for International Cooperation (ICN) and Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB).

The report, launched on April 23, 2015, is based on a public opinion poll undertaken in February 2015 by the ICN and EWB in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Canadians see the important connection between reducing global poverty and a sustainable future. Moreover, they expect Canada to be leading progress in the areas of health, education, and economic opportunity. This poll demonstrates that Canadians believe we can – and should - do more,” said Carolyn Whiteway, Acting Executive Director of the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation.

There is a national consciousness in Canada about global poverty reduction, with 94% of Canadians saying it is important to improve health, education and economic opportunity for the world’s poorest and 76% of Canadians agreeing we have a moral obligation to help expand health, education, and economic opportunity for the world’s poorest.

"Canadians do care about global sustainable development and it is imperative our government take immediate and consistent action in our efforts to reduce global poverty and inequality,” agrees Tracey Wallace, Executive Director of the Northern Council for Global Cooperation, “This is a call for leadership.”

Canadians want their government to take a leadership role in global poverty reduction, with 62% of Canadians agreeing that Canada should be one of the leading countries in providing international development assistance. The poll results indicate that Canadians have a good grasp of how much the government currently spends on foreign aid. 46% of Canadians believe the government should spend more.

Budget 2015 contains no announcement to improve Canada’s performance in aid spending. Canada’s international reputation has suffered in recent years as Canada’s contribution to aid spending, as a percentage of Gross National Income (GNI), has fallen steadily from 0.34% to 0.24% – a far cry from the United Nation’s target of 0.7% of GNI.

This poll builds on similar polls conducted in Canada, such as the 2012 Canadian Engagement in Global Poverty Issues poll by the ICN, and those conducted in other G7 countries through The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Narrative Project.

To access the full report, and for more information on “Canadian Perspectives on International Development,” please contact:

The Inter-Council Network of Provincial and Regional Councils for International Cooperation (ICN), represents over 400 civil society organizations from coast to coast to coast, and is made up of eight provincial and regional councils that are recognized for bringing local knowledge and priorities to the federal level. The ICN provides a forum in which the Councils collaborate for improved effectiveness and identify common priorities for collective action.

Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) invests in leaders and innovations to create a world free from poverty and inequitable development: a world of dignity and equal opportunity where everyone is able to realize their full potential. We are leading a movement with thousands of passionate members in Canada, as well as staff and volunteers in Canada and in our African partner countries.