Canadian Perspectives on International Development

Canadians want National Leadership in Reducing Global Poverty

The findings of this 2015 poll, commissioned by Engineers Without Borders Canada in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Inter-Council Network (of which SCIC is a collaborator), demonstrate that the majority of Canadians are aware of and concerned about global poverty. Canadians want their country to play a leadership role in improving health, education and economic opportunities for citizens of the world’s poorest countries.

The public opinion poll was commissioned in order to gain an understanding of Canadians’ knowledge of, opinions on and engagement in global poverty issues. This poll intends to build on similar polls conducted in Canada, such as the 2012 Canadian Engagement in Global Poverty Issues poll by the Inter-Council Network, and those conducted in other G7 countries through The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Narrative Project.

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Major Findings

1. There is a national consciousness in Canada about global poverty reduction.

94% of Canadians say that it is important to improve health, education and economic opportunity for the world’s poorest.

76% of Canadians agree that we have a moral obligation to help expand health, education, and economic opportunity for the world’s poorest.

2. Most Canadians are optimistic about our world’s future.

The majority of Canadians believe that conditions in the poorest countries will improve in the next 15 years and that both the government and individuals can play a role in reducing global poverty.

3. Canadians want their government to take a leadership role in global poverty reduction.

62% of Canadians agree that Canada should be one of the leading countries in providing international development.

4. Canadians have a good grasp of how much the government currently spends on foreign aid.

46% of Canadians believe the government should spend more.

5. The Government of Canada can—and should—enhance the country’s leadership role in addressing global poverty.

The Government of Canada should aspire to surpass Canada’s 2010 Official Development Assistance (ODA) levels of 0.34% of gross national income (GNI) before the end of the 42nd Parliament, as a step toward meeting the United Nations’ target of committing 0.7%.

We Can Do Better

SCIC encourages Saskatchewan citizens and organizations to make use of this data to build public support even further, and ensure the recommendations of this report are carried through. Consider signing on and joining your voice to call on Canada to #DoBetter2015. By implementing the recommendations of this report, Canada will be better positioned to do better in key areas such as income inequality, environmental sustainability, and gender equality and women’s rights.