Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada


The fifth-largest country in the world with the fifth-largest population, Brazil is the leading economic and political power in South America. The Government of Canada, has supported Brazilian efforts to reform the social and public sectors and achieve greater equity in Brazil.

In response to Brazil's interest in learning about Canadian models for an equitable society, the former CIDA implemented the Canada-Brazil Knowledge Exchange for Equity Promotion (KEEP) program. KEEP addressed values shared by Canada and Brazil, such as power sharing and participation, fairness and justice, transparency and accountability, equitable distribution of resources, equal access, ownership rights and equality between women and men, as well as racial equity.

Canada's Commitment

The Canada-Brazil development cooperation program has evolved from a traditional technical assistance program to one that reflects the strategic partnership and the maturing relationship between the two countries in relation to development cooperation.

Since Canada's bilateral development cooperation program in Brazil began in 1968, a total of $188 million has been disbursed. Brazil has made great strides toward poverty reduction, social equality and macro-economic stability, pulling more than 20 million people out of extreme poverty. Canada's bilateral development cooperation program in Brazil ended in March 2011 with the completion of the successful KEEP program.

The KEEP program ($20 million, 2005-2011) focused on health, governance and labour market issues, particularly on skills development and technical vocational training for vulnerable populations, in Brazil's poorer Northeast region and urban areas. Due to their success, some of the projects are now being scaled up to a national level. Brazilian and Canadian partnerships in education, health sector reform, municipal governance and civil service training-forged through the bilateral cooperation program-remain a testament to the importance of fostering institutional and civil society linkages.



  • Six Brazilian public service schools at the national, state, and municipal levels are better able train civil servants on issues such as gender and racial equity, ensuring improved quality of public services to all Brazilians.
  • Food, hygiene kits, and other basic necessities distributed to 740,000 internally displaced persons and residents
  • Support of immunization campaigns that reached 420,000 children under five
  • The first Brazilian consortium of women was established in Belo Horizonte to promote equity between women and men by fighting violence against women.

Skills development and support for economic growth

  • Based on the Thousand Women (PDF, 6.4 MB, 140 pages) model, the Government of Brazil will be implementing a national program to support access to technical and vocational training by vulnerable women. Tailored programs developed for women through KEEP are focusing on acquiring skills in tourism, food production and processing, crafts and design, and fisheries.
  • Working conditions for "marisqueiras"—the clam-digging, socially marginalized fisherwomen of coastal communities in northeastern Brazil—have been markedly improved by empowering the fisherwomen, improving fishing and management practices, and providing new access to social services and medical support for occupational health risks.
  • Small rural cooperatives in northeastern Brazil form a solid network of credit lending and savings organizations, supporting their members and the development of their communities. Some 60,000 members have benefitted directly from knowledge exchanges aimed at helping cooperatives improve available services and products.


  • Three health skills training schools in the state of Ceará provide six different professional training programs in areas that correspond with Brazilian labour market and health care demands.
  • Government support for tobacco control measures has increased significantly, and hundreds of Brazilian organizations have become engaged in tobacco control. Brazil's Alliance for the Control of Tobacco Use is now among the largest anti-tobacco advocacy organizations in the world. It has successfully laid the groundwork for reducing mortality and ill health due to tobacco use in Brazil.
  • The quality of services offered by community health workers has improved in 630 health units in four states (Alagoas, Ceará, Paraíba and Piauí). Meanwhile, 41 interprofessional team projects have been implemented in areas such as infant and maternal health, tuberculosis and mental health.

Trilateral initiatives

  • Canada supported Brazil's efforts in Bolivia to exchange best practices in sustainable fisheries between communities living on either side of the border in the Amazon region.
  • Canada and Brazil cooperated in Haiti on two bilaterally funded projects, one in immunization and the other in revitalizing the Bel Air neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince.
  • Canada partnered with the Associaçäo Raio, a Brazilian organization, to improve occupational health and safety for workers in Mozambique.

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