Doctors Without Borders

551 Adelaide Street West
Toronto, ON M5V 0N8
Executive Director: Joe Belliveau
Board President: Wendy Lai

Charitable Reg. #:13527 5857 RR0001


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

[Charity Rating: 5/5]



Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity’s website.



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



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 82 cents are available for programs.

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About Doctors Without Borders:

Founded in 1991, Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) works in over 70 countries (31 of which include MSF Canada operations) to reduce suffering and provide medical care where it is needed most. MSF’s charter states that it helps people regardless of race, religion or political affiliation.

A Charity Intelligence 2020 Top 10 International Aid Impact Charity

Doctors Without Borders focuses on providing medical assistance to victims of armed conflict, people in areas affected by infectious disease, victims of natural or man-made disasters, and those living in areas without established health care. Disaster response projects are much shorter than long-term medical projects combating diseases such as cholera, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and tropical diseases. Finally, MSF’s advocacy arm raises ongoing public awareness on issues of human abuse and populations in danger.

MSF Canada is 1 of 20 national MSF offices. Since 2013, Canadian Dr. Joanne Liu has been the president of MSF International. In F2018, MSF provided 11,218,700 outpatient consultations, performed 104,700 major surgeries, assisted 309,500 births, and provided 404,700 individual mental health consultations. As of January 2019, MSF Canada had 179 field workers including 92 medical personnel such as doctors, nurses, and midwives, as well as 87 non-medical personnel such as administrators, engineers, and logisticians.

Rohingya Refugee Crisis: In August 2017, systematic violence against the Rohingya people in Myanmar resulted in a forced exodus of 706,000 Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh. Including those that had fled prior to and following the exodus, over 1 million Rohingya refugees are currently living in camps in Bangladesh with no citizenship in either country. Between August 2017 and June 2018, MSF hospitalized 13,175 patients and treated 656,200 clinic patients, over 500 survivors of sexual and gender based violence, 2,680 patients with violence-related injuries, 2,230 cases of severe acute malnutrition, and 4,790 suspected cases of measles.

Migrant Crisis: MSF reports that there are more than 70 million people currently displaced from their homes worldwide, the highest number since World War II. Displaced people fleeing persecution, poverty, and conflict are often forced into underground human trafficking networks due to official barriers. Among its activities working with migrants, MSF operates search and rescue activities in the central Mediterranean as refugees risk their lives to flee from Libya to Europe on ships that are overcrowded and unfit for sea. In F2018, MSF’s search and rescue operations assisted 3,184 migrants and refugees. In December 2018, a campaign by the Italian government and backed by other EU governments to stop all humanitarian action at sea forced MSF to halt its work. In July 2019, MSF announced that it will resume life-saving search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean in partnership with SOS Mediterranee.

Ebola in the DRC: The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is currently experiencing the worst Ebola outbreak in its history. Since August 2018, Ebola has infected over 2,600 people, and killed 1,700 in DRC. In 2018, MSF admitted 2,800 people to its Ebola treatment centres and 450 cases were confirmed.

Yemen: With 20 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, MSF’s most extensive activities are in Yemen. MSF has scaled up its work in Yemen since the conflict escalated in 2015. MSF currently runs 12 hospitals and health centres, and from 2015 to 2018, MSF delivered 81,102 surgical interventions, treated 119,113 patients with injuries related to war, delivered 68,702 babies, and cared for 116,687 cholera cases. In F2018 alone, MSF treated over 16,000 war wounded people and 150 people wounded by land mines.

Humanitarian crisis in Borno State, Nigeria: Ongoing conflict between armed opposition groups and the Nigerian military has led to displacement, malnutrition, and desperate living conditions. It is estimated that 1.8 million people have been displaced across the north-eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. In response to the growing need for humanitarian assistance, MSF worked in 17 locations across the two states in F2018. MSF runs a therapeutic feeding program in the Fori district of Maiduguri, admitting 300 severely malnourished children with medical complications every month.

Women’s Health: Though MSF is not a women’s health charity, the majority of MSF's patients are women and children, including pregnant women, women who are injured or ill, and women seeking care for their children. The Spring 2019 issue of Dispatches, the MSF Canada magazine, is focused on the topic of Women's Health, discussing the ways in which women bear the heaviest burden in humanitarian emergencies. MSF reports that the world has made significant progress on addressing 4 of the main causes of maternal mortality: post-partum hemorrhage, sepsis, complications from delivery, and hypertensive disorder. Yet unsafe abortion, which causes at least 22,000 deaths per year (1 in 12 maternal deaths globally), 97% of which occur in Africa, Latin America and southern and western Asia, has been neglected. In F2018, MSF provided safe and confidential termination of pregnancy to over 11,000 women and girls who requested it in 25 countries who requested it, diverting these individuals from the risks and complications of unsafe abortion. 

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Results and Impact

In F2018, MSF conducted 104,700 major surgeries and treated 2,396,200 cases of malaria and 63,700 cases of cholera. In response to the conflict in Yemen, MSF treated 16,000 people with war-related injuries and 150 people wounded by land mines in F2018. In response to the Gaza-Palestine conflict, MSF performed over 3,000 major surgical interventions in F2018, compared with 400 in F2017. In response to the Ebola outbreak in the DRC, MSF admitted 2,800 people to Ebola treatment centres of whom 450 were confirmed cases.

Ci's impact analysis shows Doctors Without Borders International (MSF-I) created high impact per dollar in 2017 (see grid below). The key drivers of this impact came from: vaccinations 44%, medical surgeries 28%, and medical treatments 24%. MSF-I vaccinated more than 4 million people responding to disease outbreaks, reducing disease levels. MSF-I performed 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-I treated 2.8 million people with transferable diseases and intervened with 290,000 children facing severe acute malnutrition.

Impact returns will vary year-to-year. MSF-I's response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak was a high water mark in impact. Reports are surfacing on MSF-I 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 MSF-I. First into West Africa in March 2014, using aggressive fluid protocols, MSF-I 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. 

A Charity Intelligence 2020 Top 10 International Aid Impact Charity

Impact Rating: High

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Doctors Without Borders is a Major 100 charity, meaning it is one of Canada’s largest charities in terms of donations. DWB received $66.8 million in donations in F2019. The charity also received $10.2m in government funding and $8.7m in other revenue, mostly relating to fees from other DWB sections. Administrative costs are 3% of total revenues, and fundraising costs are 16% of total revenues. For every dollar donated, 82 cents go to the cause, which is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

Doctors Without Borders has funding reserves of $4.7 million, which can cover under one month of annual program spending.

In F2018, Doctors Without Borders paid external fundraisers $6.2m to raise $27.6m. In other words, it costs the charity 22 cents to raise a dollar through external fundraisers.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Doctors Without Borders for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Results reporting updated on August 19, 2019 by Caroline McKenna. Financial information updated on July 17, 2020 by Tenzin Shomar. 

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 2.7%2.6%2.4%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 15.5%14.8%14.8%
Total overhead spending 18.1%17.3%17.2%
Program cost coverage (%) 6.4%15.8%13.9%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 66,77963,17959,119
Government funding 10,1508,20012,500
Investment income 21322764
Other income 8,6828,9938,368
Total revenues 85,82480,59980,051
Program costs - International 72,12972,29869,351
Program costs - Canada 9041,0361,232
Administrative costs 2,2762,0541,898
Fundraising costs 10,3299,3378,755
Total spending 85,63784,72681,236
Cash flow from operations 186(4,126)(1,185)
Capital spending 1741039,914
Funding reserves 4,68111,5819,780

Note: Amortization has been removed pro-rata from Canadian program, administrative, and fundraising costs. Ci moved foreign exchange losses from expenses to investment income, resulting in total revenues and expenses decreasing by $34k in F2019, $30k in F2018, and $105k in F2017.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 72

Avg. Compensation: $99,548

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2018

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Comments & Contact

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. 



Charity Contact

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 416-642-3460