The Canadian International Development Agency has decided to close four of its regional offices in the country, a move that could weaken or severe ties with some nongovernmental organizations there.
CIDA will be closing its offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon and Halifax by the end of this month, according to a short announcement posted on its website last week. The move is part of the agency’s “restructuring and streamlining” efforts in line with the government’s Economic Action Plan 2012, which is concentrated on boosting Canada’s economy amid the global fiscal crisis.
“The opportunity to learn on both sides disappears when people start shutting down offices and shutting down communication links,” One Sky Executive Director Michael Simpson told Embassy, noting that the organization has been trying to open up dialogue with CIDA about “the whole nature of development.”
Simpson’s disappointment was echoed by Barbara Wood, executive director of CoDevelopment Canada.
“The fact that it’s closing will mean less exchange of information, less support, less knowledge about what’s going on,” Wood said, as quoted by Embassy.
Among the many recommendations made to Julian Fantino when he took office in July was to strengthen the agency and galvanize public support for aid.
The move to shutter some offices may be among the reductions CIDA plans to implement over the next three years. The agency ended its bilateral programs in eight countries and reduced funding for five countries this year.
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