Canada matches $2.27 million contribution to polio eradication campaign

Canadian Minister of International Cooperation Julian Fantino announced on Tuesday that Canada will match the $2.27 million raised by Rotary in Canada in support of the worldwide effort to eradicate polio.

Fantino made the announcement as he and other members of parliament met with representatives of Rotary in Canada to celebrate the final total of the Pennies and More for Polio initiative.

"Our government is committed to the fight against polio as part of our international assistance priority to secure the future of children and youth," Fantino said. "I applaud Canadians for their generosity and encourage them to continue their efforts to make polio history. The real winners of this successful fundraising campaign are children, as the funds collected will help ensure that they are protected from this devastating disease."

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will also match the total amount of contributions raised. In September, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Gates Foundation agreed to match dollar-for-dollar donations made by Rotary in Canada to the initiative through March 1 to a maximum of $1 million. The $1 million cap was lifted in February.

All three partners will provide the contributions directly to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which is sponsored by the World Health Organization.

"On behalf of the rotarians of Canada and our worldwide membership, I thank the Canadian government for its generous support of our work to end polio once and for all," Wilfrid Wilkinson, the chair of the Rotary Foundation Trustees, said. "The success of the national Pennies and More for Polio fundraiser demonstrates how the public and private sectors, by working together, can leverage resources to maximize our combined impact. This is exactly the kind of cooperation we need as we make the final push to our goal of a polio-free world."

Fantino announced last week at the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi that Canada will invest $250 million over the next six years to support the global eradication of polio.