Canadians can now buy government bonds to support Ukraine.
First announced on Oct. 28, the $500-million Ukraine Sovereignty Bond program allows Canadians to help the embattled nation provide essential services this winter, such as paying out pensions, purchasing fuel and repairing energy infrastructure, which has been the target of repeated Russian attacks.
“Canadians will now be able to go to major banks to purchase their (Ukraine) Sovereignty Bonds, which will mature after five years with interest,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said when announcing the program. “It’ll be a lot like the Government of Canada bonds people are familiar with.”
The five-year bonds are available in $100 denominations from most major Canadian financial institutions, including the investment arms of BMO, Scotiabank, CIBC, RBC and TD. Available for purchase from now until Nov. 29, they are essentially a regular five-year Government of Canada bond with a roughly 3.3 per cent rate of return, subject to market conditions.
The bond will pay interest twice per year, on Feb. 24 and Aug. 24, until it matures on Aug. 24, 2027, which is Ukraine’s Independence Day.
Long used by governments to raise funds, bonds were first introduced in Canada during the First World War and the Second World War. When you purchase a government bond, you’re lending money to a government, which in turn commits to pay interest on a specific date (or dates) and return the initial investment amount, or principal, in full upon maturity.
In the case of the Ukraine Sovereignty Bond, for example, a $1,000 investment with a 3.3 per cent rate of return would see you get $16.50 every February and August until Aug. 24, 2027, when you would receive your initial $1,000 back.
The Canadian government has already provided $2 billion in direct financial assistance to Ukraine so far in 2022, and has committed to providing $2.5 billion more for military, humanitarian and other assistance, bringing Canadian commitments to Ukraine to more than $5 billion.
According to the Canadian government, the funds raised through Ukraine bonds cannot be used for lethal activities or purchases. Money from the bonds will be transferred from Canada to the government of Ukraine through the International Monetary Fund, subject to negotiations with Ukraine.
With files from The Canadian Press