Doctors Without Borders

720 Spadina Avenue, Suite 402
Toronto, ON M5S 2T9
Executive Director: Stephen Cornish
Board President: Wendy Lai

Charitable Reg. #: 13527 5857 RR0001
Sector: International Aid
Operating Charity

Charity Rating

[Charity Rating: 4/4]

Donor Accountability

Grade: B+

The grade is based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.

Financial Transparency

Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity's website [ Audited financial statement for most recent year ]

Need for Funding

Funding Reserves Program Costs

Spending Breakdown

Cents to The Cause

2014 2015 2016
For a dollar donated, cents funding the cause after fundraising and admin costs, excluding surplus.

Impact Rating: High

Full-time staff #56

Avg. Compensation $75,325

Top 10 Staff Salary Range

$350k + 0
$300k - $350k 0
$250k - $300k 0
$200k - $250k 0
$160k - $200k 0
$120k - $160k 1
$80k - $120k 8
$40k - $80k 1
< $40k 0
Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2015

About Doctors Without Borders:

Founded in 1991, Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières Canada (MSF) is a disaster response charity with expertise in medical aid that works in 60 countries. MSF provides medical aid to people following natural disasters and wars.  MSF’s charter states that it helps people regardless of race, religion or political views.

A Charity Intelligence 2017 Top 10 Impact Charity

Doctors Without Borders’ flagship program is international disaster response. It is typically "first in, first out" rather than doing longer term development aid. MSF also provides ongoing healthcare to people suffering from diseases such as cholera in Haiti, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and tropical diseases. Finally, MSF’s advocacy arm raises ongoing public awareness on instances of human abuse and populations in danger.

MSF Canada is one of 18 national MSF offices. Since 2013, Canadian Dr. Joanne Liu is MSF's International President. In F2016, MSF Canada sent 343 medical and logistical professionals on missions in 27 countries. In analyzing the leading reasons for MSF’s intervention, 17 countries faced conflict and violence, 8 countries faced epidemics and diseases, 9 countries lacked access to healthcare, and 1 country suffered a natural disaster.

MSF Canada’s largest projects focused on the ongoing conflict and violence in the Central African Republic ($4.8m in F2016), the conflict and disease outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo ($3.6m in F2016), and the lack of healthcare and violent clashes between Boko Haram and military forces in Chad ($2.6m in F2016). It conducts vaccination campaigns, training doctors and nurses, improving water and sanitation infrastructure, on top of providing medical aid to disaster areas. 

MSF has a reputation of speaking out. It critically called out the late international response to the Ebola epidemic in 2014. It is currently demanding an independent investigation into the US bombing of MSF's field hospitals in Afghanistan that killed 42 medical staff and patients in October 2015.

Results and Impact: 

Ci's impact analysis shows Doctors Without Borders created high impact per dollar in 2016. The key drivers of this impact came from: vaccinations 44%, medical surgeries 28%, and medical treatments 24%. In 2016, Doctors Without Borders vaccinated more than 4 million people responding to disease outbreaks, reducing disease levels. In 2016, MSF perfomed 92,000 surgeries and supported/assisted in 225,000 surgeries, and assisted in 180,000 births reducing child and maternal mortality. The third driver, medical treatments, reduces death rates in people who are already ill. MSF treated 2.8 million people with transferable diseases and intervened with 290,000 children facing severe acute malnutrition. 

To read more details on MSF's key impact drivers.

Impact returns will vary year-to-year. MSF's response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak was a high water mark in impact. Reports are surfacing on Doctors Without Borders results in the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and the heroic work of Canadian doctor Rob Fowler from Sunnybrook Hospital, seconded with the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders. First into West Africa in March 2014, using aggressive fluid protocols, Doctors Without Borders reduced the Ebola mortality rate from over 80% to less than 40%, saving tens of thousands of lives and instrumental in ending the Ebola outbreak. 

Financial Review:

Doctors Without Borders Canada is a Major 100 charity, with donations of $55.8m in F2016. Its administrative costs are 3% of revenues and its fundraising costs are 16% of donations. For every $1 donated to the charity, 81 cents go towards MSF Canada’s programs, falling within Ci’s reasonable range. The charity has funding reserves of $25.0m, resulting in a program cost coverage ratio of 45%. This means that it can cover just over 5 months of its annual programs using its existing reserves, indicating a need for funding.

This charity report is an update that is being reviewed by Doctors Without Borders. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on August 15, 2017 by Kevin Silberberg.

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 3.1%2.7%2.8%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 16.4%15.1%17.8%
Program cost coverage (%) 45.2%31.9%41.6%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 55,79153,65849,333
Government funding 3,55013,75013,100
Investment income 221214131
Other income 7,2916,4466,020
Total revenues 66,85374,06868,584
Program costs - International 54,10455,32547,929
Program costs - Canada 1,295929906
Administrative costs 2,0671,9781,889
Fundraising costs 9,1398,1048,767
Cash flow from operations 2477,7319,093
Funding reserves 25,01217,91520,289
Note: Ci has adjusted amortization of capital assets affecting expenses by ($92k) in F2016, ($143k) in F2015, and by ($123k) in F2014.

Comments added by the Charity:

Additional articles:

Dr. Rob Fowler, "What it's like ... to help patients during an Ebola outbreak", Globe and Mail, April 19, 2017

MSF report on South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jordan "Where is eveyone",

Peter Cavelti shares his personal journey as a donor on giving for impact. A terrific and interesting essay. 

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