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Description found in Archives

Canadian International Development Agency fonds [textual record]. 



Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

48.27 m of textual records

Added language of material: French

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records created and/or maintained by the Canadian International Development Agency and its predecessors. Researchers are cautioned that unprocessed textual records and records in other media are not reflected in this description.

Textual records
96: Restrictions vary
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Terms of use

Copyright belongs to the Crown.

Finding aids are available. See lower level descriptions and accession records in ArchiviaNet (the NA website). (Other)

Biography / Administrative history

Canada's foreign development aid programme evolved during the first decade following the Second World War. With the creation of the Colombo Plan in 1950, Canada formed an Interdepartmental Group on Technical Assistance and subsequently, in 1951 the International Economic and Technical Cooperation Unit within the Department of Trade and Commerce to coordinate all activities related to technical assistance. As Canadian aid initiatives were extended to include the Caribbean in 1958 and Commonwealth Africa in 1959, the Technical Cooperation Unit expanded to become the Economic and Technical Assistance Branch (ETAB), still within the Department of Trade and Commerce. In September 1960, under the Public Service Re-arrangement and Transfer of Duties Act (Order in Council 1960-1476), the functions of the branch were transferred to the External Aid Office of the Department of External Affairs. The office was designated a Department by Order in Council 923 on 8 May 1968, reporting to the Minister of External Affairs as established by Order in Council 1968-1028. An External Aid Board was also established to consider and make recommendations concerning policy and changes to Canada's assistance programmes within the scope, volume and direction previously approved by the Cabinet.

On 12 Sept. 1968 the names of the department and the Board were officially changed to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Canadian International Development Board respectively by Order in Council 1968-1760 and the position of Director General was replaced by President, to better reflect the international nature of Canada's aid programme. CIDA became responsible for the operation and administration of Canada's international development assistance program in emerging nations in Asia, Francophone and Anglophone Africa, the Commonwealth Caribbean and Latin America and advising the Government on the formulation of international assistance policies. The emphasis of Canada's development aid programme was broadened beyond strictly bilateral programmes to include multilateral activities through the use of existing international aid organizations and private sector participation by Canadian business, industry and the general public.

By 1973 growing administrative requirements necessitated an overhaul of the department with the creation of a new level of middle management, consisting of five Vice-President positions to oversee the Policy Branch, (including Policy Analysis, Evaluation, Program Analysis and Technical and Statistical Support); the Bilateral Programs Branch, (consisting of five geographic divisions, the Engineering and Human Resources Divisions); the Multilateral Programs Branch, (including the United Nations Programme, Financial Institutional and the Policy Institutions Divisions); the Special Programs Branch, (consisting of Liaison and Provincial Relations, Non Government Organizations and the Business and Industry Divisions); and the Administrative Support Service, (made up of the Finance and Administration, Operational Audit, Personnel Administration, Consultant Relations and a newly appointed Bilingualism Advisor). A separate Communications Branch, which included the Information Division, the Librarian, the Briefing Centre and a Conference Secretariat and a Special Advisors Division functioned independently to handle special duties within the organization. In 1974-75 CIDA policy allowed for the department's direct support of foreign agencies involved in aid development through the International Non-Governmental Organizations Division.

In 1976, recommendations of the Interdepartmental Committee on Economic Relations with Developing Countries and Canada's participation as co-chair of the Conference on International Economic Cooperation (North-South Conference), resulted in CIDA establishing a programme focused directly on major world problems particularly food production and distribution, rural development, education, public health, population control, shelter and energy. During this fiscal year a dramatic new policy was implemented whereby Canada agreed to forgive all loans to the 12 least developed countries by converting them to outright grants and applying only the grant concept to these countries in the future.

Through further restructuring to deal more effectively with the requirements for long range developmental strategies over the entire continent, the Commonwealth Caribbean and Latin American Divisions were merged into the newly constituted Americas Division in January 1979. Subsequently a country focus policy was initiated between 1980 and 1982 with the result that the Bilateral Programmes Branch was terminated in 1982 and replaced by the geographically based four 'A' Branches; Asia, Francophone Africa, Anglophone Africa and the Americas.

The re-structuring of the organization was designed to ensure a more direct communication and decision-making process from the President to the field projects. The agency structure eventually grew to include the President with ten Vice-presidents and one Director-General. These included VP's for Policy (Policy Branch); Multilateral Programmes (Financial Institutions, UN Programmes, Food Aid Coordination and Evaluation Centre); Resources (Infrastructure, Natural Resources, Social Development, Professional Services, Procurement); Africa; Francophone Africa; Anglophone Africa; Americas; Corporate Affairs; Special Programs (Industrial Cooperation, Non- Governmental Organizations, International NGO Programs, Institutional Cooperation Development Services, Management for Change); Comptroller; plus a Director General of Personnel and Administration. Within the reorganization, a new programme was inaugurated within the Special Programmes Branch called the Management for Change Programme designed to bring together senior executives and decision-makers from Canada with those from developing countries to deal with specific management issues to strengthen the management capabilities of these countries.

In 1986, in response to the extended devastating drought and famine conditions in Africa, CIDA launched Africa 2000; a five year, 50 million dollar programme designed to bring together Canadian Non Government Organization's, local African groups, private enterprise, municipalities and government to organize and fund 2,000 small-scale projects to help Africa move towards self-sufficiency in the area of food production and forest renewal. As an extension of this programme a special fund was created to facilitate African women's participation in the health, agricultural production and education fields.

In March, 1988 the conclusion of a three year comprehensive review of Canada's foreign aid policy culminated in the release of a new strategy for Canadian official development assistance called "Sharing Our Future" designed to carry Canada's aid effort to the year 2000. The new programme stressed partnership, self-reliance, ecologically sound development, participation of women, priority to the poorest of the poor and improved programme delivery.

Additional information

Source of title
P.C. 1760- 12 Sept. 1968

Further accruals are expected.


Other system control no.