Leader Profile: Claire Dansereau, Vice-President, ODG, CIDA

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is Canada’s official agency for development assistance. It has a mandate to support sustainable development in developing countries in order to reduce poverty and to contribute to a more secure, equitable, and prosperous world. Claire Dansereau has worked as Vice President of Office for Democratic Governance (ODG) since 2005.

The ODG of CIDA is based within the Policy Branch of the agency. It was established in 2006 to enhance aid effectiveness by leveraging Canada’s comparative advantage and establishing partnerships with key Canadian experts, organizations, institutions, and other government departments whose work focuses on democratic governance. Democratic governance under the ODG is divided into four elements: human rights, accountable public institutions, freedom and democracy, and rule of law. The aim of the ODG is to be of service to governmental and non-governmental partners involved in overseas governance, and will be driven by “demand”, i.e. governance needs in developing countries are requested. “The power of elections and democracy is to set the stage for sustainable development. The link is being made more clearly every day between the protection of human rights and good development outcomes: and free and fair elections are one central link in that chain,” Claire said.

Claire’s role remains focused on volunteer services in development. Before her current position, Claire was Vice President of Canada Corps, now incorporated in the ODG. She believes that they have an important role to play as Canadian development workers are witnesses to, and participants in, a re-defining of the term “globalization”. Claire elaborated, “It should not be a globalization of unfettered free trade where corporations seek out the lowest wages and least restrictive labor and environmental standards, but rather a global economy where all workers can earn a decent wage and the environment is protected for future generations.”

Born in Quebec, Claire has a degree in Science and Planning from the University of British Columbia. She has formerly worked as the Director and Planner of the Environment and Land-Use Department for the International Woodworkers of America (IWA) - Canada, and is a former Board Member of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation. She has also served on the Board of Engineers Without Borders. In 2001, she was appointed Executive Director of CUSO, a Canadian organization which sends volunteers overseas to support projects that develop global sustainability.

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