The Social Justice Committee

The Social Justice Committee

October 07, 2010 17:24 ET

Social Justice Committee Says Department of Finance has Failed to Comply With Law on Foreign Aid

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Oct. 7, 2010) - The Social Justice Committee of Montreal is concerned because there is no evidence that Department of Finance has complied with a recent law on foreign aid. The Official Development Assistance Act came into force in June, 2008, requiring the Department of Finance to ensure that funds provided to the World Bank are used not only seek to fight poverty but also to promote human rights.

The 10% of Canadian foreign aid that is given to the World Bank is the responsibility of the Department of Finance. The department has made no effort to ensure this money serves to promote human rights. Canada has not supported human rights initiatives at the World Bank, which does not have any comprehensive policy on human rights.

Neither the Department of Finance nor Canada's office at the World Bank has any staff with training on rights-based development or international rights law. The Department of finance annual report on activities at the World Bank and IMF shows no activity to protect human rights, and does not mention rights in future areas of focus. While the US representative at the World Bank is prohibited by law from supporting projects where there is potential human rights abuse, there are no such restrictions on the vote of the Executive Director for Canada.

This weekend, the Finance Minister will address the World Bank and IMF at their annual policy meetings, but he has yet to even mention human rights in any of his speeches at these institutions.

The Social Justice Committee has repeatedly asked for evidence that the Department of Finance is complying with the human rights requirement of the ODA Accountability Act, without success, and therefore concludes that the department is not abiding by the law.

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