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Canada—Commitment to Development Index

The Commitment to Development Index ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries on policies that affect people living in poorer nations. This is the country report for Canada. For results of all countries, visit the main CDI page.

Overall

Canada ranks 17th on the Commitment to Development Index, performing strongest on migration and finance. It is also above average on aid.
SCORE:
= other countries’ scores

Aid

Canada ranks above average on the aid component, mainly due to its high score on aid quality. On aid quantity, however, there is room for improvement: in 2016, Canada provided 0.26% of its GNI for development assistance. This is below the international commitment of 0.7% GNI. It is also less than in 2015. The quality of Canada’s foreign aid, however, is above average on most of the indicators forming the Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) indicator. Canada places only low administrative burdens on recipient countries, making aid more efficient, and has role-model policies on sharing information with other donors.
SCORE:
= other countries’ scores

Finance

Canada performs well on the finance component, despite ranking slightly lower than in previous years. Its international investment agreements are exceptional and the best among all the CDI countries. They are designed to take into account the public policy goals of Canada’s investment partners, and they include a sustainable development approach. Canada also scores well on the indicator that measures other official flows (transactions between Canada’s official sector and developing countries that do not meet the conditions for eligibility as ODA). Canada could follow most CDI countries and strengthen its performance as an open and transparent investor by setting up a national action plan on business and human rights, as recommended by the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises. On the financial transparency subcomponent, Canada has improved its score, for which it is rewarded in the CDI.
SCORE:
= other countries’ scores

Technology

As in previous years, Canada’s performance in the technology sector is average. Its current 14th place is mainly due to its relatively low government support for research and development and its inadequate provision of incentives for business R&D; in 2013, the Canadian government provided only 0.47% of its GDP to research and development (weighted). Among the different sectors, it provides relatively high governmental support to R&D in health and industrial production and technology. Canada plays a leading role in the diffusion of technology to developing countries by having the second best score on knowledge sharing through intellectual property rights. Especially favorable for developing countries are Canada’s software patent laws and its database protection provisions.
SCORE:
= other countries’ scores

Environment

Environment is one of Canada’s weakest policy fields on the CDI, where the country ranks 23rd. Canada’s relatively low score is due to its low gasoline taxes; only those of the United States are even lower. Canada also has relatively high greenhouse gas emissions per capita and a substantial amount of fossil fuel production. Canada is rewarded for ratifying the Paris agreement and for having the lowest imports of tropical timber among all the CDI countries. Despite notable progress in recent years, Canada could improve its score further by strengthening its compliance with the different biodiversity treaties and their obligations.
SCORE:
= other countries’ scores

Trade

As in the previous year, Canada ranks below average on trade, despite having a top position on agricultural subsidies. The number of subsidies to domestic farmers is significantly lower in Canada than in other CDI countries; only New Zealand, Australia, and the Netherlands provide even fewer. Through imposing relatively high tariffs, however (fourth highest of all the CDI countries), Canada has a negative impact on the trading prospects of developing countries and their citizens. While Canada imposes few restrictions on trade in services, it could do more to facilitate imports, especially as trading across borders is rather costly and takes more time than in other CDI countries.
SCORE:
= other countries’ scores

Security

Canada performs poorly on the security component. Although it has ratified all other eight international security conventions taken into account in the CDI, Canada has yet to sign the Arms Trade Treaty and is therefore penalized with a lower score. Canada could also step up its contributions to global security and international peacekeeping by providing both more financial support and personnel. Canada deserves praise, however, for rarely exporting arms to poor and undemocratic countries.
SCORE:
= other countries’ scores

Migration

Canada ranks 8th on migration policies. Canada’s position in the top 10 is partly due to its open borders for students from developing countries (with the third best score of all the CDI countries). Its integration policies are also among the best of all the CDI countries. Canada can improve on its commitment to international frameworks, however, by ratifying the Convention on the Treatment of Migrant Workers and the Migration for Employment Convention. Also, it scores below average on the share of asylum seekers it accommodates.
SCORE:
= other countries’ scores