Strengthening Voluntary Sector/Government Relations in Canada’, Paper presented to the Independent Sector
- Quoted in Patrick Johnston
- Annual Conference Pre-Session, Washington DC…
The development of an accord between the voluntary sector and the federal government is a bold experiment. There is no well charted road map that tells us exactly how to proceed or what the implications of following particular routes will be. The overarching goal of an accord is to develop “a framework to enable relations to be carried out differently and better than before.” It is a framework agreement between a government and the voluntary sector that articulates a shared vision, agreedupon principles and mutual undertakings to shape and guide their relationship. The idea of an accord is borrowed from the UK where the Blair government has recently developed “compacts” with the voluntary sector in each of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, following somewhat different processes in each. While comparative experience is instructive in illuminating general pathways for a federal government-voluntary sector accord, we need to be cautious in relying too heavily on it, given the differences in the structures and politics of both government and the voluntary sector in Canada. Therefore, to a considerable degree, both the voluntary sector and the federal government have entered the Joint Accord Table (JAT) process on the basis of faith, hope and good intentions.