The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) was formed in 1968 by the government under prime minister Lester B. Pearson. By 2012, CIDA had a presence in over 100 countries and managed a budget of approximately $4 billion a year. CIDA's mandate was to support sustainable development in developing countries in order to reduce poverty and to contribute to a more secure, equitable and prosperous world.
To achieve this purpose, CIDA concentrated its efforts on the following priorities: basic human needs, full participation of women, infrastructure for the poor, human rights/democratic development/governance, private-sector development and the environment. Approximately 25% of CIDA's resources were devoted to basic human needs.
CIDA worked with a variety of partners to deliver its assistance program. Bilateral projects were based on government-to-government agreements with developing countries. CIDA also entered into contribution agreements with Canadian partners, such as volunteer organizations, universities, co-operatives, professional organizations, churches and so on, to implement projects overseas. CIDA also supported mutually beneficial, development-oriented commercial partnerships between Canadian and developing country private-sector firms. Finally, CIDA also contributed to the assistance programs of multilateral development banks such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank, UN agencies like UNICEF and a variety of international organizations.
Over the years, Canadians have made important contributions in a wide range of development projects and programs. For example, Canada has been a world leader in supporting the full integration of women as equal partners in the development of their societies. Canadian engineers have helped build dams, communications systems, airports and railroads. Canadian professionals have also shared their skills in immunization programs, education, community development and environmental protection. In addition, because of Canada's reputation as a middle power and an "honest broker," Canada has been able to play constructive roles in sensitive areas such as human rights, governance and postwar reconstruction programs.
In 2013, CIDA was folded into the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (which was renamed Global Affairs Canada in 2015).