Bye-bye, CIDA: budget reveals department to be eliminated

Federal agency to be amalgamated with DFAIT

It used to be that a federal government eliminating a federal department would make a fuss about it. This one is more modest. On page 241 of the full budget document — but nowhere in Jim Flaherty’s budget speech — we find news that the Canadian International Development Agency will disappear.

The surprise comes near the end of a budget chapter on “Supporting Families and Communities,” which leads a reader to suspect it was not put there to attract attention. “The Government will amalgamate the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and CIDA,” the document says. While the government will maintain “a separate ministerial position” — so there will still be a development minister, as there is a trade minister — the new “Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development” will benefit from “enhanced alignment” to “leverage…synergies” and “maximize the effectiveness of the resources available.”

There’s no indication either of expected savings or of transition costs for the change. Cost reductions from the resource synergy alignment, if any, will come in future years.