Canada to pay $100M for seat at Haiti earthquake recovery commission

Canada is preparing to pay $100 million to join an exclusive new international club that would guide the rebuilding of earthquake-ravaged Haiti, The Canadian Press has learned.

OTTAWA — Canada is preparing to pay $100 million to join an exclusive new international club that would guide the rebuilding of earthquake-ravaged Haiti, The Canadian Press has learned.

That’s the price tag for a seat on the proposed Interim Haitian Recovery Commission that is expected to be one of the key announcements to be made this week at the New York international donors’ conference on Haiti.

“Canada has been a major partner and a major donor to Haiti in the past years, so we will be there,” said a senior government official. “Not sure of the structure, but Canada will play a major role.”

The new commission will be made up representatives from more than a dozen donor countries, the Haitian government, the Organization of American States, the 15-country Caribbean bloc known as CARICOM, NGOs and international institutions.

Its creation is one of two major announcements expected from Wednesday’s Haiti summit in New York, senior World Bank officials said.

The other is the creation of a trust fund for Haiti’s long term reconstruction that would operate in concert with the commission.

“The deliverable from New York is to really assure the international community and Haitians that the elements are in place,” Yvonne Tsikata, the World Bank director for the Caribbean said in an interview. “Fleshing out the reconstruction agency is one. Having the multi-donor trust fund operational is another.”

The World Bank and other international actors are keen to see Canada play an active role in the decision-making commission.

Haiti’s government estimates it will ultimately cost $11.5 billion to rebuild from the Jan. 12 quake that killed more than 200,000 people.

“I see the role of both sharing Canadian experience in a number of sectors but also technical assistance and also the decision making process,” Tsikata explained, noting that Canada has shown expertise in education, governance and judiciary programs.

The government announced last month that it would match the $113 million in private donations to Haiti made by Canadians.

So far, the government has made no specific spending commitments on Haiti. International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda said Canada would make those decisions after hearing from key stakeholders at Wednesday’s meeting in New York.

Canada hosted the first international meeting on Haiti in late January. A major theme that emerged from that gathering of more than a dozen foreign ministers, international bankers and aid groups was that any future funding of Haiti would have to be accountable and not repeat failures of the past.

Tsikata said accountability would be directly addressed in New York, after the creation of the commission and the trust fund.

“Having in place an effective aid monitoring and aid tracking system is a third. And then the elements of how all of this is communicated, for transparency reasons, is also very critical,” she said.

Prior to the quake, Haiti was making economic progress, in part because of massive international aid, but it remained the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti is the second largest recipient of direct Canadian aid after Afghanistan with $555 million earmarked for 2006-2011.

Tsikata said the Haitian government and its international partners are moving carefully to ensure the commission does not repeat the mistakes of the past.

“If this is going to be the key building block of the reconstruction architecture, then I think the time that’s spent to get it set up right is really, really important. But also to have a mechanism where one can auto-adjust or auto-correct as you go on,” she said.

“The importance of monitoring, evaluation, assessments with some frequency to try to adjust if necessary is equally important.”

Tsikata said that ideally the commission would only be in place for 18 months before it morphs into an independent Haitian government entity. In the meantime, it would allow for a “more co-ordinated, more harmonized,” approach to rebuilding Haiti.

Canada agrees with that approach.

“Co-ordination is a major point for every donor and major agencies that are involved over there,” said the senior Canadian official. “Who does what will be key here.”

Oda and Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon are representing Canada at the New York meeting, which is being held at United Nations headquarters.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The interchange at Highway 2 and McKenzie Road at the south end of Gasoline Alley is being redesigned with two roundabouts. Construction is expected to begin this month and finish in October. (Graphic from Red Deer County)
Roudabouts coming to McKenzie Road overpass at Gasoline Alley

Project expected to improve traffic flow at busy intersections

A federal strategy to preserve threatened trout could conflict with provincial coal leases in the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies. (Contributed photo by Jeff Lund).
Federal regulations could save Alberta’s bull trout by shutting down mining plans, says biologist

Ottawa’s new strategy identifies a 30-metre protected area along rivers and streams

(Contributed image)
Wolf Creek Public Schools will not participate in curriculum pilot

Central Alberta school jurisdiction joins others across Alberta

Canada's Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, fom left, celebrate after winning women's gold medal match against Brazil's team at the Beach Volley Worldtour Major Series, in Vienna, Austria on August 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ronald Zak
Canada’s world champion beach volleyball duo finally getting games before Tokyo

Canada’s world champion beach volleyball duo finally getting games before Tokyo

Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch (24) gets fouled by Atlanta Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Bogdanovic, Capela lead Hawks past Raptors 107-103

Bogdanovic, Capela lead Hawks past Raptors 107-103

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu throws to a New York Yankees batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Ryu sharp into 7th, Semien homers as Blue Jays top Yanks 7-3

Ryu sharp into 7th, Semien homers as Blue Jays top Yanks 7-3

Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau (13) scores the game winning goal on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender David Rittich (33) in overtime NHL action in Toronto on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Gaudreau scores in overtime, Flames beat Maple Leafs 3-2

Gaudreau scores in overtime, Flames beat Maple Leafs 3-2

Jim Bullock, Vicki Pappas and Randy Waples off to Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Jim Bullock, Vicki Pappas and Randy Waples off to Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Canada's Evelyne Viens celebrates scoring against Wales during the women's international friendly soccer match at Leckwith Stadium, Wales, Friday April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Potts/PA via AP
Canada capitalizes on England mistakes to win women’s soccer friendly 2-0

Canada capitalizes on England mistakes to win women’s soccer friendly 2-0

After weekend hiccup at men’s worlds, Grand Slams move into curling bubble

After weekend hiccup at men’s worlds, Grand Slams move into curling bubble

Erickson Gallardo of Canada's Toronto FC and his teammates celebrate after Andres Mosquera of Mexico's Leon scored an own goal during their Concacaf Champions League soccer match in Leon, Mexico, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRES/AP/Mario Armas
Toronto FC gets vaccine boost but injury list still an issue ahead of Leon rematch

Toronto FC gets vaccine boost but injury list still an issue ahead of Leon rematch

Most Read