Where Your Money Goes

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We rely almost entirely on contributions that government, corporations and individuals donate to UNHCR. We receive a limited subsidy from the United Nations General Assembly for administrative costs.

In order to protect and support those forced to flee their homes and carry out lifesaving work worldwide, we rely almost entirely on government, corporation and individual donations to UNHCR. Donations to UNHCR Canada directly support the lifesaving work being carried out by the UN Refugee Agency on the ground in the world’s most vulnerable countries.   

Canadians care deeply about the well-being and protection of refugees. In 2016, donations from the Government of Canada, corporations, foundations and individuals like you totalled CAD $164 million, and the Government of Canada was the 5th largest donor to UNHCR globally.   

Thank you. Your support makes a world of difference.

What happens to your money when you donate to UNHCR Canada?

What happens to your money when you donate to UNHCR Canada?

We pride ourselves on ensuring resources are used responsibly and efficiently to benefit displaced people around the world. That’s why we can send 86 cents of every one dollar you donate directly to uprooted families living in dire conditions, giving them hope for a brighter future.

The dedicated staff at UNHCR work year round to raise funds for our programmes and address new emergencies as they occur. We receive a limited subsidy from the United Nations General Assembly for administrative costs, enabling us to direct as much public and private funding as possible directly to the world’s most vulnerable people.

Global Focus: UNHCR Operations Worldwide is our main reporting portal for donors and other key partners, providing regularly updated information about UNHCR’s programmes, operations, financial requirements, and funding levels.


Together, we can make a difference in the lives of refugees.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, exceptional progress has been made to improve child protection and public health. Help us to continue this lifesaving work.

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Which Emergencies or Programs Does My Donation Support?

In a complex environment with fast shifting needs and priorities, we depend on donors to provide charitable contributions that can be allocated as flexibly as possible. These allow us to direct funds where they are most needed, helping refugees, asylum-seekers, and stateless and internally displaced people (IDPs) around the world.

Learn more about the emergencies in Syria, South Sudan, Iraq, and the Central African Republic, or download a map of  the populations of concern to UNHCR.

UNHCR Canada also provides vital support for refugees and asylum-seekers in Canada. This includes:

  • Promoting the highest standards of protection in asylum practices and policies.
  • Coordinating resettlement opportunities in Canada.
  • Raising awareness about the situation of refugees and displaced persons worldwide.

Learn more about what we do.


Shelter - protect refugee families from the harsh weather and give them what they need to survive


You protect refugee families from the harsh weather and give them what they need to survive.

Icon Health - delivering food and health services for refugees


You provide refugees nutrient-rich food and defend refugees from disease by delivering health services.

Water - supply clean water, better sanitation and hygiene systems to keep refugees safe and healthy


You supply clean water, better sanitation and hygiene systems to keep refugees safe and healthy.

Education - ensure thousands of children can go to school


You ensure thousands of children can go to school—giving them hope for a brighter future.

Global Priorities

An unprecedented 67 million people have been forced from their homes worldwide. Nearly 22.5 million of those forced to flee are refugees, over half of whom are children.

Every day, nearly 34,000 people are forcibly displaced due to conflict or persecution.

To protect and support these individuals UNHCR provides emergency relief and ongoing humanitarian aid through long term programs including education, health, and skills training. 

Monitoring Progress

UNHCR is monitoring and reporting progress against key goals in each thematic area. We are currently working in 130 countries across 470 locations. For a full operational report on each, visit the Global Focus website.

Thank you for supporting refugees, we couldn’t do it without you.

Help us to build a better future for refugees in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and around the world.

Donate Today


How is UNHCR funded globally?

UNHCR  is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, with 86 per cent from governments and the European Union. Six per cent comes from other intergovernmental organizations and pooled funding mechanisms, while a further six per cent is from the private sector, including foundations, corporations and the public. You can access UNHCR’s detailed budget and financials report here.   

Will my donation be used to help Syrian refugees (or another group of my choice)?

In the case of specific supplementary appeals, donations will be allocated to targeted groups. Because of the fast-paced and unpredictable nature of emergency relief, UNHCR requires the flexibility to allocate other online donations to the location or program where they are most urgently needed. It is also possible to make a direct cash transfer to a refugee family through the Donation for Transformation program.

What is the Donation for Transformation cash transfer program?

The Donation for Transformation program provides monthly cash transfers to refugee families who are in desperate need of food, access to medical care and other basics of life. This innovative approach has proven transformational for families because cash transfers provide flexibility, return dignity and autonomy to families, maintain livelihoods, boost the local economy, and incur very low administrative costs. Learn more about Donation for Transformation.

Is my donation tax deductible?

Your donation is eligible for a tax credit. Please visit our Tax Receipt resource page for more information.


Our Story

Our Story

UNHCR is a lifeline for people displaced by violence, conflict and persecution. We help them survive, recover and build a better future.

Who We Help

Who We Help

We help people whose lives have been turned upside down by crisis. Whenever and wherever people are uprooted by conflict, UNHCR is there offering life-saving assistance and protection.

Latest News

Latest News

Our presence in 130 countries gives you access to breaking news and information from some of the most remote and hard-to-reach places on Earth.