You are here:


Published on



Canada financing table 1A founding member of the Alliance of Champions for Mental Health, Canada has a strong history of support for global mental health. In 2017, Canada released a Feminist International Policy which integrates gender equality across all areas of development and pledges that 95% of Canada’s bilateral official development assitance (ODA) will focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. In the policy, a focus is given to the importance of provision of psychosocial support in humanitarian settings. 

Global mental health support

Canada is one of the three founding members of the Alliance of Champions for Mental Health and Wellbeing (along with Australia and the UK), is a member of the MHPSS donor group, and continues to have a strong global presence through Grand Challenges Canada (GCC)  Mental Health Care Programme. GCC also supports the Mental Health Innovation Network,  a network for the global mental health community. 

Outside of GCC, Canada funds programmes with strong MHPSS elements, for example, funding to Action Against Hunger to provide psychosocial services for refugees in Bangladesh, partnering with UNFPA to provide psychosocial services in the West Bank, and working in Syria to provide psychosocial support to individuals.  The panel, "Moving the Needle: Mental Health Stories from Around the World," was hosted by the World Bank Group at the Embassy of Canada in April 2018.

Strategy for global mental health

While Canada does not have a specific mental health strategy, the provision of psychosocial support in humanitarian settings is mentioned in the Feminist International Policy.

Domestic mental health

Domestically, there is strong interest in mental health from Bell Let’s Talk Campaign and the Canadian Mental Health Association, to Prime Minister Trudeau’s mother’s personal mental health experience, and the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Since the adoption of a mental health strategy in 2012, Canada continues to champion mental health issues and with their 2017 budget proposes to invest $5 billion (CAD) over 10 years to support mental health initiatives in Canada and the provinces. 

See Canada’s mental health and dementia strategies,  WHO Mental Health Atlas Country Profile and Chief Public Health Officer of Canada’s 2019 Annual Report for more information on domestic mental health affairs. 

Key stakeholders

Global Affairs Canada (GAC): formulates development policy 

Grand Challenges Canada: an independent not-for-profit funded by the Canadian government and other partners 

Alliance of Champions for Mental Health and Wellbeing (founding member) 

Canada is also part of the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL). 

Member of APEC and is a core contributor to the APEC Digital Hub for Mental Health.


Key decision makers

Prime Minister: Justin Trudeau  

Minister of Health: Patty Hajdu 

Minister of Foreign Affairs: Marc Garneau 

The Deputy Minister of International Development: Diane Jacovella manages GAC’s development policy units and budget allocation 

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer: Dr. Theresa Tam

Director, Mental Health and Substance Use. Mental Health Commission of Canada: Mary Bartram 

Director, Opening Minds. Mental Health Commission of Canada: Michael Pietrus leads the anti-stigma campaigning work for the Mental Health Commission of Canada and advises many other countries on campaigns tackling stigma.

Financing global mental health

According to IHME data, from 2007 to 2019, Canada contributed USD $39 million in development assistance to mental health (DAMH). This figure is only representative of government resources.


Global health overview

Canada spent US$799 million (19% of ODA) on global health in 2016. Some 66% (US$530 million) was channeled to and through multilaterals. 

Canada has made pledges and contributions to the following to global initiatives:

CA 4.21