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Canadian Government, Voluntary Sector Continue to Strengthen Relationship

WASHINGTON (AFP eWire - Jan. 6, 2004) - A new report outlines the progress made in the past two years in the development of an accord between the Canadian government and the country's voluntary sector.

'Taking the Accord Forward: The First Report to Canadians on Implementing an Accord between the Government of Canada and the Voluntary Sector' was released in December by the Voluntary Sector Initiative (VSI) Joint Steering Committee.

In 2000 the Canadian government announced the VSI, a joint effort to better serve the needs of Canadians by strengthening the capacity of the voluntary sector and enhancing its relationship with the Canadian government. One of the priorities was to develop an accord or framework agreement to underscore the importance of the relationship between the two sectors. The new report outlines the achievements made since the accord was developed and signed in December 2001.

The report outlines five important areas the two sectors are focusing on:

  • A solid foundation - setting up organizational structures in the federal government and the voluntary sector to put the accord into action.
  • Awareness - raising awareness of the accord throughout Canada.
  • Putting the codes to work - developing 'Codes of Good Practice' to help guide interactions between the two sectors.
  • Tracking progress - establishing processes for monitoring the accord, reporting to Canadians about progress and moving forward on priorities.
  • A shared journey - holding regular meetings between government ministers and sector representatives to discuss progress and plans.

Achievements in the past two years include the Canadian government naming a person or 'champion' responsible for accord implementation in almost every federal department and agency. In addition, information on the accord is available on the VSI website, through a 10-minute video and in a workbook on the Codes of Good Practice. To monitor progress, both the government and voluntary sector conducted surveys in their sectors to determine awareness of the accord.

In the future, the two sectors' priorities include:

  • identifying, using and promoting good practices and lessons learned
  • holding a regular meeting between the Ministerial Consultative Committee of the government and voluntary sector leaders
  • holding a meeting between voluntary sector leaders and the government's department champions
  • continuing to advance collaborative work with respect to regulation and taxation of charities, capacity building and strategic investment and
  • collaborating to advance other commitments such as an agreement on the next steps and the examination of models for dispute resolution.

For a copy of the report, visit Taking the Accord Forward.

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