Canada Progresses on UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals
March 2021 Charity & NFP Law Update
Published on March 25, 2021

By Esther S.J. Oh


On February 17, 2021, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister of International Development published “Moving forward together: Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy” (the “Update”), which provides an update on Canada’s progress in implementing the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (“UN 2030 Agenda”).  The UN 2030 Agenda is a call to action outlining 17 sustainable development goals (“SDGs”) aiming to end poverty, protect the planet and promote peace and prosperity for all people, through co-operation between governments, civil society and the private sector.

In this regard, the Update provides an update on Canada’s progress in implementing the federal government’s 30 actions to advance the UN 2030 Agenda that were previously outlined in “Towards Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy” released by the Federal Government in June 2019 (“National Strategy”) to meet Canada’s commitment to the UN 2030 Agenda. The National Strategy describes a “whole-of-society approach to achieving the SDGs” built on core principles of inclusiveness, diversity, dignity, respect, fairness and opportunity for everyone.  

The Update recognizes that the not-for-profit and voluntary sector is “central to achieving the SDGs at home and abroad [and] community-based and philanthropic groups are at the centre of much of that work across Canada.” The Update also states that local, national and international non-profit work helps to meet the UN 2030 Agenda by improving environmental health, reducing marginalization to achieve greater equity, and allying with partners for peace and justice. Innovation by community-based and non-profit groups “generate benefits in Canada and in other countries, particularly developing ones.” Local not-for-profit organizations help foster partnerships together with businesses and research institutions to “move the needle on issues no one actor could address alone.”

The Update reports that Canada is “On track” to meet 23 of the 30 actions set out in the National Strategy and the other 7 require additional time and attention due to the complexity of the challenges involved. Action #26 has the objective of enhancing collaboration between the non-profit sector, government, business and research communities to “support the development of new and innovative partnerships, approaches and breakthroughs to advance multiple SDGs.” Progress is aided by the SDG Funding Program, which includes $11.3 million for 32 organizations in 2020–21, including not-for-profit organizations, to help develop “new and innovative partnerships.” 


Read the March 2021 Charity & NFP Law Update