Canadian Consulting Engineer

CIDA’s demise marks end of an era

One item in last Thursday's federal budget will have an impact on consulting engineering companies that work on international projects in developing countries.

March 26, 2013   Canadian Consulting Engineer

One item in last Thursday’s federal budget will have an impact on consulting engineering companies that work on international projects in developing countries.

As part of last Thursday’s federal budget, or Economic Action Plan 2013, the Canadian government announced that it is going to fold the Canadian International Development Agency into the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Canadian consulting engineering companies have worked for CIDA-funded projects all over the world since the agency was formed 45 years ago in 1968. During the first years of the agency, it channeled funds into building big infrastructure projects such as hydropower dams and bridges. However, in recent years, CIDA preferred to sponsor “soft” social and economic programs.

The government said that it is folding CIDA into DFAIT in order to “put development on [an] equal footing with trade and diplomacy.” While saying that there would be no impact on the amount Canada budgets for international assistance, it is believed the government will now have greater control and will be able to more easily tie the funds to efforts to promote Canadian businesses.

Reactions have been mixed to the news. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are concerned that moving development aid under the Department of Trade might undermine CIDA’s goal of alleviating poverty. Others say that Canadian businesses should be able to reap the benefits of working on aid projects, while others say the new arrangements reflect the new post-colonial reality former “third world” countries are now developing their own economies at a fast rate.


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