CIDA Funding to KAIROS and the Canadian Churches
KAIROS Briefing Note
14 December 2009
Issue: In the House of Commons on December 7, Minister Oda stated that CIDA
continues to fund church-based overseas development work through numerous church
agencies, and that the cut to KAIROS does not mean a cut to the churches’ funding.
This point has subsequently been used in communications and conversations with
constituents by government MPs and CIDA.
Minister Oda specifically named several of KAIROS’ member churches and church
organizations in her statement.
More than 35 years ago, the Canadian churches recognized that on some issues of
international development they could have a greater impact working together as a
consortium. The Canadian International Development Agency agreed. Through this
consortium model, KAIROS and its predecessor coalitions have been a vital partner in
bringing forward the development issues identified by civil society in the global South.
Since the Minister’s statement in the House, KAIROS member churches and
organizations have been clear to Minister Oda that they recognize KAIROS work as
distinct from their denominational work but an integral part of their global service.
They regard the cut to KAIROS as a cut to their own church’s international
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has stressed that the
work of KAIROS is crucial to its membership, noting that:
on behalf of our national membership and active grassroots supporters of
the important work of KAIROS in hundreds of Catholic parishes and
schools across Canada, we strongly urge you to reconsider this decision
so that KAIROS can continue its valuable and important work serving
those caught in humanitarian crises, those vulnerable to repression and
those living in poverty.
The Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends (the Quakers) and the Canadian
Friends Service Committee have stated:
KAIROS is a valuable model of ecumenical cooperation. Its work is
uniquely what we do together ecumenically, and distinct from what
we undertake as denominational CIDA funded programming.
Bishop Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada,
It is important to remain clear that the ecumenical work done by
KAIROS is distinct from the work done by individual development
agencies; these efforts complement one another. The KAIROS
program particularly focuses on promoting Human Rights. The churches
have discerned that working together through KAIROS is the most
effective way to do this work. As members of KAIROS, we support
our individual agencies and we support the work of KAIROS.
Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, wrote to the Minister
in response to her comments:
I understand it is being argued that the Churches themselves
receive CIDA funding for their work in relief, development and peace
initiatives and we are grateful for that. I draw your attention to the
fact that CIDA has also had a long history of encouraging proposals
from consortiums. A prime example is KAIROS: Canadian
Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. Representing a number of Canada’s
largest denominations and related agencies, our focus is on
protecting and advancing human rights.
For those whose human rights are violated KAIROS is a source of hope.
For those whose rights have been restored through peaceful negotiations
KAIROS is a blessing. For Canadians KAIROS is a source of pride in
seeing the Churches working together in co-operative endeavours
supported by the Government. The CIDA grants represent that spirit of
co-operation in the interest of upholding human rights.
The cut of funding for KAIROS denies hope for millions of people
throughout the world, inhibits the blessing for which so many long, and
damages our reputation among the nations.
The Canadian churches’ position is that CIDA funding to KAIROS is a key part of
their international development work.