Feb. 05, 2024

Canadian Leadership in a Deeply Insecure World; An Open Letter to Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

The repercussions of climate-induced disasters, armed conflicts, the rise of authoritarianism and attacks against women’s and children’s rights have profoundly unsettled the bedrock of our global liberal democratic institutions. It has also led to the intensification of humanitarian emergencies, where needs are enormous and women and girls are bearing the brunt of them. This undermines the basic pillars of democracy, creates devastating humanitarian crises and reverses decades of progress on development.

The world is in turmoil and Canadians are looking on, worried about what it all means for our children and grandchildren. Canadians are also looking to you, Prime Minister, to champion our nation’s values beyond our borders.

As Canada’s leading international humanitarian and development agencies, we witness firsthand humanity's shortcomings. We also see the human capacity for cooperation and compassion.

We see the economic development and empowerment that Canadian international assistance programming abroad brings to local communities in the form of strengthened democratic institutions and human rights, resilient agriculture, inclusive trade and stronger health and education systems.

In this rapidly evolving world, foreign aid is crucial for global peace and security. Ongoing reverberations from the pandemic, rising hostilities among global superpowers and the devastating effects of climate change have created social conditions for authoritarian regimes and populist figures to roll back human rights and create global instability.

Some may be tempted to turn inwards and call for Canada to focus solely on its domestic challenges, as many Canadians are indeed in need of greater support. But in these times of compounding crises, the world is looking to Canada to boldly live up to our promise as a progressive leader. By increasing our investments in development programs and humanitarian aid, Canada can enhance its diplomatic reach, fostering a safer and more stable global environment that benefits all.

Respectfully, Prime Minister, our recent record on international assistance spending falls short of Canada’s ambitions. It falls short of our commitment to being a reliable global partner for peace, economic opportunity and security.

As you prepare for Budget 2024 and continue to evaluate Canada’s response to global challenges, we are unified in calling for strong investments in global security and prosperity by restoring the envelope for international development assistance.

The world is looking to Canada to live up to our promise as a leader, standing firm against forces that would roll back human and women’s rights, climate action and democratic progress, and responding to the devastating humanitarian crises facing millions of people around the world.


Canada’s leading international cooperation agencies


Honorable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of International Development

Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development

Katie Telford, Chief of Staff, Prime Minister’s Office

Cooperation Canada

Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH)

Bigger than our Borders

Right To Play International

CARE Canada

Fairtrade Canada

Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR)

Equitas- International Centre for Human Rights Education

World Vision Canada

Results Canada

Canadian Foodgrains Bank

Avocats sans frontières Canada / Lawyers Without Borders Canada


Save the Children Canada

Plan International Canada

Health Futures Inc.

Humanity & Inclusion

Never Again International - Canada

Maternity Today

Children Believe

Canadian Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases

Canadian Center for Women's Empowerment (CCFWE)

Compassion Canada

Unité de santé internationale (USI)

Horizons of Friendship

Centre interdisciplinaire de développement international en santé (CIDIS)

Stephen Lewis Foundation

Action Against Hunger/ Action Contre la Faim Canada

Global Citizen

End FGM Canada Network

Seva Canada

World Accord

UPA Développement international

Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF)

AidWatch Canada

Climate Action Network - Réseau action climat Canada

WaterAid Canada

Penny Appeal Canada

Northern Council for Global Cooperation

Acted Canada

Cuso International

Canadian Feed The Children

FH Canada (Food for the Hungry)

Collaboration Santé Internationale

Centre d’étude et de coopération internationale (CECI)

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights


Jane Goodall Institute of Canada

SUCO - Solidarité Union Coopération

Kentro Christian Network

Développement international Desjardins (DID)

HelpAge Canada (HAC)

Atlantic Council for International Cooperation

Trade Facilitation Office (TFO) Canada/Bureau de promotion du commerce Canada


Nutrition International

Hope and Healing International

SeedChange ( formerly USC Canada)


Coady Institute

ADRA Canada

Mary’s Meals Canada

Veterinarians Without Borders North America /Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Amérique du Nord

Grandmothers Advocacy Network



Oxfam Canada

International Justice Mission Canada

TearFund Canada

Greater Vancouver Youth Unlimited/YFC

Développement et Paix - Caritas Canada / Development and Peace - Caritas Canada

Change for Children

Mission inclusion

Foundation for Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue Initiatives (FIIDI)

The Wellspring Foundation for Education

The Alberta Council for Global Cooperation (ACGC)

Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC)

The BC Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC)

Fondation Paul Gérin-Lajoie

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)

The Parliamentary Centre / Le Centre parlementaire

International Teams Canada

Habitat for Humanity Canada

Lucky Iron Life

Global Aid Network (GAiN)

Santé Monde (CCISD)

Islamic Relief Canada

Ontario Council for International Cooperation

Canadian Association of Midwives / Association canadienne des sages-femmes (CAM/ACSF)

The United Church of Canada

Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation (SCIC)

Orbis Canada

ONE Canada

Oxfam Québec

TBpeople Canada

World Hope International (Canada)

Stop TB Canada

Humanitarian Coalition | Coalition Humanitaire

The One Drop Foundation


The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation

The International Development and Relief Foundation