Canada, along with other nations across our Globe, is witnessing social and economic change. This change has not brought social and economic prosperity for all. How we provide opportunity and quality of life for all Canadians and how we care for members of our communities needs to be strengthened. An Accord between the Government of Canada and the Voluntary Sector was launched in 2001. I believe that this Accord can be the underpinnings of a strong and vibrant relationship between the Government of Canada and the Voluntary Sector. The Accord, along with its Codes, represents an open, fair, and cooperative form of collaboration with the Government of Canada in order to foster the social development of our people as they live and work in our local communities. For this reason, I bring the Accord to your attention.
In thousands of voluntary sector organizations throughout Canada, volunteers and staff are working together to improve the quality of life of people in local communities. The Voluntary Sector touches virtually all aspects of our society from social justice, human rights, environment, health and faith to arts and culture, sports and recreation. It delivers services critical to Canadians; it advocates for common causes; it supports economic and community development in Canada and worldwide; and, it raises funds. The Voluntary Sector has also been instrumental in the development of most of the public services Canadians rely on today, essential aspects of a welfare society, that is schools, hospitals, social assistance and care for children in need. These services began as voluntary initiatives. Today, both the public and voluntary sectors are involved in the delivery of these services.
Voluntary Sector organizations bring their community based knowledge, expertise and compassion to the identification of social priorities and to public policy debates. The Voluntary Sector encourages people to participate and work together for common causes; it strengthens citizen engagement; it gives voice to the voiceless; it allows for multiple perspectives to be heard on a variety of issues; and it provides opportunities for people to practice the skills of democratic life.
The Accord is a framework document that sets out values, principles and commitments to guide the working relationship of the two sectors. The Accord represents a public commitment to more open, transparent, consistent and collaborative ways for the Voluntary Sector and the Government of Canada to work together in the 21st Century.
The Accord establishes:
The Accord is based on six values that are most relevant to the relationship between the Government of Canada and the Voluntary Sector. These values are:
The Accord is also based on five guiding principles:
The Principles of the Accord represent the basis on which to develop a relationship. Success in building the relationship will depend on the actions and practices of both the Government of Canada and the Voluntary Sector for the benefit of all Canadians. The following commitments will be essential in the future:
The Voluntary Sector and the Government of Canada commit to:
The Government of Canada commits to:
The Voluntary Sector commits to:
The Accord is the beginning of a journey. Measures, processes and structures are needed to implement its provisions. The Voluntary Sector and the Government of Canada agree to develop in a timely fashion:
The goal of the Accord along with its implementation plan is to provide an enabling framework that will help the Voluntary Sector and the Government of Canada better serve Canadians.
The Codes of Good Practice, an essential part of the Accord, are a resource of tangible, concrete ideas about how to take the spirit and guidelines of the Accord and put them into action in both government and voluntary sector organizations. There are two codes of Good Practice:
The Codes are about building relationships, looking for common ground and accepting one anotherï¿½s differences. They are also about making Canada a better place to live by improving policies and programs for Canadians.
- Engage in an open, inclusive and ongoing dialogue throughout public policy processes
- Allocate resources and time to policy activities
- Ensure appropriate and significant representation from across the Voluntary Sector
- Develop and strengthen knowledge and policy capacity
- Inform each other of the policy implications of their experiences and activities
- Take into account the differing regional impacts of policies
Among its many provisions, the Code calls for funding arrangements to reflect the nature and scale of the issue at stake. For example, many social issues may require long-term funding commitments to make real progress. Conversely, shorter, less complex funding agreements may be more appropriate for lower cost, lower risk projects. The Code also commits the Voluntary Sector to develop its funding sources and diversify them to the greatest extent.
The Code encourages multi-year funding arrangements, clear and consistent communication around funding, and streamlined administrative requirements. In addition, the Code outlines measures to simplify and harmonize application and reporting procedures. It also calls for improved access to funding information for all voluntary sector organizations.
These and other provisions in the Code intend to achieve the following:
- Enhanced ability for each sector to carry out its mandate
- Greater transparency, consistency, and understanding between both sectors in regard to funding requirements
- Clear and balanced accountability
- Good funding policies and practices
- Improved capacity and long-term sustainability of voluntary sector organizations
The Voluntary Sector Initiative (VSI) is responsible for increasing the awareness and use of the Accord and Codes in the Voluntary Sector. Working with Government colleagues, and local organizations, workshops and training sessions will be held across the country, in Ontario and in Halton. Local trainers will offer workshops to organizations close to home.
In October 2002, the Clerk of the Privy Council tasked all Deputy Ministers and agency heads with responsibility for the implementation of the Accord and Codes within their departments/agencies.
Each department and agency has identified a Champion who, with the Deputy Minister promotes and leads the use of the Accord and Codes within their organization.
Progress by departments and agencies on the use of the Codes is being monitored and reported on in an annual report to Canadians. This report will provide an overview of government and voluntary sector accomplishments to date and plans for the future.
Workshops on the Accord and its Codes have been scheduled in Halton for, November 10, 2004, November 24, 2004 and December 1, 2004. Please call 905-632-1975 for registration information.
Produced by Community Development Halton
860 Harrington Court
Burlington, Ontario L7N 3N4
(905) 632-1975, (905) 878-0955; Fax: (905) 632-0778; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org