The Canadian federal government has announced plans to increase foreign spending by pledging an additional $485 million towards the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The latest announcement, made by International Development Minister Karina Gould, is a further $485 million contribution aimed at providing Covid-19 medicines to developing countries. The new funds will be going to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which was unveiled back in April in partnership with the World Health Organization, the European Commission, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the French government.
Moreover, Gould also noted that Canada is prepared to share any of its pre-bought vaccines with poorer countries in the event of a surplus, but given that there is currently only one vaccine approved by Health Canada, it is too early to make such a promise. Canada has successfully secured 214 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, if all seven of the vaccine candidates end up being approved. In addition, the federal government has also been in negotiations to secure a further 200 million doses.
Previously, Oxfam Canada had criticized the Canadian government for buying enough vaccines to cover its population five times over, while showing inadequate compassion for poorer countries. In the meantime, advocacy group One Campaign had condemned Canada’s relatively small foreign aid contributions in the past, but following Gould’s latest announcements, both had praised the country’s latest financial efforts in the global fight against the pandemic.
The latest pledge brings Canada’s financial commitment to the ACT-Accelerator to a total of $865 million, in addition to the $220 million that was previously promised to the COVAX Facility, which goes towards purchasing vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries. throughout the pandemic. Besides significantly ramping up foreign spending, Canada has contributed an unprecedented level of spending towards domestic stimulus measures in response to the pandemic, especially in terms of fiscal spending.
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