Frequently Asked Questions | UNICEF Canada: For Every Child Skip to main content

How do you spend donor dollars? 

For every dollar raised, UNICEF Canada spends 72 cents (three-year average) on programs to help children around the world survive and realize their rights. In 2021, this amounted to $58,628,718. The impact of donor dollars is multiplied many times over through UNICEF’s unique ability to collaborate and scale up projects for even more children. Fiscal year 2021 was an atypical year for UNICEF Canada because we raised $28,225,647 to support the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, tools and treatments — a major undertaking as part of UNICEF’s new global mandate to help lead this humanitarian response. Our cost of fundraising and administration is a three-year average of 28%, which meets Canada Revenue Agency guidelines for charities. Our best practices in transparency, accountability, ethical fundraising, staff management and governance have repeatedly earned us Imagine Canada’s Standards Accreditation.

How do you decide where funds go to help children? 

Your donations support the most important needs of children around the world, for short-term and long-term impact. UNICEF bases its decision-making on extensive data and research, partnerships, and knowledge directly from the countries we work with. When donations are unrestricted, it enables us to lead new approaches, work innovatively across the entire span of childhood, and adapt to changing situations — particularly during emergencies. Find more on this at unicef.ca/WhereYourMoneyGoes

Does UNICEF receive funding from the United Nations? 

No. Although we are considered part of the UN family of organizations, we rely entirely on voluntary contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations – as well as grants from governments who trust UNICEF to create results and impact for children.

What does UNICEF do to help children in Canada?

UNICEF is the world’s largest collector of data on every aspect of being a child. This helps us identify needs so we can advocate for the rights of every child, everywhere — including in Canada. We bring together young people from across Canada to advocate for policy changes and the involvement of youth in policy decisions that affect their well-being. Our Youth Advocacy Program is a 10-month online program designed for young people between the ages of 13-24, to help them learn the skills and knowledge needed to become powerful advocates and activists in Canada.

In May 2022, we released a Canadian report on the impacts of environmental stressors on the well-being of children and youth, and how Canada ranks among 39 wealthy nations.

What is UNICEF Canada doing to become a more anti-racist and anti-discrimination organization?

In 2021, we undertook a comprehensive review of our culture, policies and approach, and have made diversity, equity and inclusion one of three top priorities in our 2022-2025 Strategic Plan. We seek to become the organization of choice for all people in Canada who want to protect and promote child rights, and to increase our ability to engage and be an ally for diverse communities. You can learn more about this priority at unicef.ca/StrategicPlan

How is UNICEF different from other humanitarian and development organizations focused on children?

UNICEF has presence in more than 190 countries and territories. We ensure that our innovative methods and programs are sustainable, by partnering with key actors at regional and community levels (including governments, communities and local partners) to expand impact. As part of the UN family, we have a unique influence with governments that helps to scale up and sustain successful initiatives over many years. UNICEF is the only organization named in the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child as the world’s source of expert assistance and advice. 

Does UNICEF Canada receive funding from governments?

In 2021, the Government of Canada provided $2 million in emergency COVID-19 funding for UNICEF Canada’s girls’ education project in Somalia. The Government of Canada also awarded $9.6 million to UNICEF Global in 2021 to match Canadians’ donations to our #GiveAVax campaign, for the equitable global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Why was UNICEF involved in the COVID-19 vaccines rollout when your mission is focused on children? 

For 75 years, UNICEF has helped defend children’s rights around the world, and the COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest threat to progress in our history. COVID-19 has put all childhoods at risk. The longer this pandemic goes on, the more intense its impact on children will be. Providing vaccine protection for the world is critical to getting ahead of new and life-threatening variants of COVID-19. For this reason, the pandemic won’t be over for anyone until it is over for everyone. 

As the global leader in vaccines delivery, UNICEF was tasked by the COVAX Facility with delivering 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to countries around the globe. In addition, UNICEF, Gavi and the World Health Organization are working with governments around the clock to ensure that countries are ready to receive the vaccines, with appropriate cold chain equipment in place, and health workers trained to dispense them. UNICEF is also playing a lead role in fostering trust in vaccines, and tracking and addressing misinformation around the world. Through this coordinated effort, and with ongoing donor support for the COVID-19 emergency response, we can move the world beyond this pandemic and get childhoods back on track.

How does UNICEF navigate working in volatile regions, to ensure that funding arrives where it’s needed?

UNICEF works in some of the world’s most difficult regions where there are many barriers to children’s rights. We ensure that life-saving programs and resources reach children and families according to their needs. To do this, UNICEF works only with non-governmental organizations that go through a rigorous screening and approval process with the United Nations. This process is repeated every few years.

These “implementing partners” are bound by agreements that they enter into with the UN. The agreements require that cash, supplies and equipment under their control are kept in the right hands for their intended purposes. This means they are not used to provide support to individuals or entities associated with terrorism, and they are not transferred by the implementing partner to any individual or entity that is listed on the UN Security Council Committee Consolidated List.

What is the role of the UNICEF Canada Board of Directors?

UNICEF Canada is a Canadian Registered Charity and a separate legal entity from UNICEF Global. We are led by an executive leadership team that ultimately reports to the board of directors. The board of directors provides leadership in shaping our organization’s vision and establishing priorities that contribute to sustainable fundraising and advocacy programs. Board members provide effective governance of the affairs of UNICEF Canada, act as role models through their own philanthropy, and mobilize and develop relationships on behalf of the organization.

Does UNICEF Canada maintain financial reserves? 

Yes. In accordance with UNICEF Canada’s reserves policy, we have reserves at a level sufficient to maintain salary and operating expenses for three months.

Does UNICEF Canada own any fixed assets, such as buildings?

UNICEF Canada does not own any buildings or land. We lease one floor of office space at market rate in midtown Toronto for fewer than 70 staff. We also lease small offices for teams of fewer than 5 staff in Montreal and Calgary.

If you did not find the information you are looking for, please reach out to us at info@unicef.ca or call 1 800 567 4483.