Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the pledge at a press conference on Friday and highlighted that he will join other world leaders taking part in VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World, which is set to air globally on May 8.
The event, a part of Global Citizen’s year-long Recovery Plan for the World campaign, will see artists and entertainers come together in a rallying cry for global vaccine equity and confidence as the only way to end the pandemic everywhere. The show, hosted by multi-platinum recording artist, actress, and producer Selena Gomez, will feature special appearances from Prime Minister Trudeau and other world leaders, as well as appearances by VAX LIVE campaign chairs Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and performances by Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, J Balvin, and H.E.R.
“Canada understands that we don’t end this pandemic anywhere until we end it everywhere,” Prime Minister Trudeau said in an interview with Global Citizen. “That’s why we were one of the early donors to COVAX, to ACT-Accelerator, and we’ve continued to step up.”
Canada was proud to pledge an additional $375M to the global mechanism ACT-Acclerator today as part of the #VAXLIVE event to be broadcasted tomorrow.— Karina Gould (@karinagould) May 7, 2021
🇨🇦 has been there from the start to support vulnerable communities and bring vaccines, tests, and treatments to all. @GlblCtznhttps://t.co/UO8lLp3w5p
At today’s announcement, the Prime Minister highlighted that Canada remained firmly committed to ensuring “equitable access to supplies and vaccines” as part of its global response to the pandemic.
Over the past year, the Canadian government had contributed over CAD $970 million to ACT-A, including $220 million to COVAX as well as funding for vaccine delivery, provision of therapeutics and diagnostics, and health systems strengthening in vulnerable countries.
With these contributions and direct engagement with ACT-A partners, Canada has been a leading supporter of this vital global initiative, critical to ending the pandemic. However, as the pandemic intensified with the emergence of new deadly variants, Global Citizens continued calling on Canada to do its part.
With this new commitment, their voices were heard. The pledge brings Canada’s total contributions to ACT-A to nearly CAD $1.35 billion and makes Canada only the second G7 country, and third overall, to meet its fair share for ACT-A’s 2021 needs (based on economic strength). It will help ACT-A fill its remaining USD $19 billion funding gap and is a powerful call to action for other governments to step up.
Jonah Kanter, Canada Director for Policy and Government Affairs at Global Citizen, applauds the announcement, noting that as much as we need to get everyone access to vaccines, the crisis in India is a reminder that other lifesaving COVID-19 medical supplies are still sorely needed around the world.
“We’re seeing in India the devastating impact that COVID-19 can have in developing countries, as it desperately needs more oxygen, PPE, therapeutic medicine, tests — the full set of tools needed to save lives,” Kanter said. “The ACT-Accelerator provides all of these tools to the poorest countries so we need other wealthy governments to follow Canada’s lead and urgently give their fair share of funding to ACT-A to help get the pandemic under control and ultimately end it.”
Canada’s commitment adds to those announced by other government, business, and philanthropic leaders as part of VAX LIVE towards increasing global access to COVID-19 vaccines for those most in need — especially the estimated 27 million health workers in the poorest countries.
In the weeks ahead, Global Citizen will continue campaigning to secure additional commitments from Canada towards global vaccine equity, including on sharing vaccine doses and support for the temporary suspension of intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines and medical tools towards expanding global vaccine supply and access.
As part of Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan for the World campaign, VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World will bring together artists, entertainers, world leaders, and more to ensure equitable vaccine distribution around the world, tackle COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, and celebrate a hopeful future.
Find out how to tune in here, and join us in taking action to end the pandemic and ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to COVID-19 vaccines. Then, head to our multimedia hub VAX BECAUSE to join candid conversations about the pandemic and find answers to your biggest questions about the vaccines.
Want to take home part of the show? Check out our VAX LIVE merch at the Global Citizen official store.