Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Bureaucrat with finance expertise appointed to lead foreign aid agency

A doctor advises the mother of a newborn diagnosed with a chest infection at the Kisesa Health Centre, supported by CIDA through the Health Basket Fund, in Magu District, Mwanza, Tanzania.

Joshua Kraemer/© ACDI-CIDA/ Joshua Kraemer

A long-time public servant with expertise in finance will lead Canada's international development agency as its work is merged with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Paul Rochon, currently an associate deputy minister of health, will become the deputy minister for international development under the new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. The government announced this year that it would merge Canada's international development work with Foreign Affairs, saying the move would improve foreign policy coherence.

Mr. Rochon's appointment was announced on Friday and will take effect July 8.

Story continues below advertisement

He replaces Margaret Biggs, who was appointed president of the Canadian International Development Agency in 2008. Ms. Biggs will move to a temporary role as a senior adviser to the Privy Council Office, where she worked before her CIDA appointment. She also worked as a researcher with the North-South Institute, a non-governmental organization focused on international development issues, early in her career.

CIDA's executive structure has long given the agency a degree of independence that other departments did not have. But people familiar with the office say Ms. Biggs had less autonomy during her term, as the Prime Minister's Office became more closely involved in decisions.

In addition to his job with Health Canada, Mr. Rochon is currently a special adviser to the Minister of Finance on negotiations for a Canadian securities regulator. He has previously worked as an associate deputy minister of finance and led Canada's negotiations at Group of 20 finance ministers' meetings before moving to Health Canada.

The legislation to move CIDA's functions to Foreign Affairs was contained in the government's budget implementation bill, which passed this week.

Under the new arrangement, International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino will continue to be responsible for most of Canada's development assistance work. His core job in the new department will be to "foster sustainable international development and poverty reduction in developing countries and provide humanitarian assistance during crises."

He will also be expected to forge links with other countries and development organizations and ensure that Canada's work is "in line with Canadian values and priorities."

In an e-mailed statement, Mr. Fantino said Ms. Biggs's "personal commitment to seeing those living in poverty around the world prosper" left a lasting impression on him.

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Kim Mackrael has been a reporter for The Globe and Mail since 2011. She joined the Ottawa bureau Sept. 2012. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at