Voluntary Sector Task Force Final Report
Support to Joint Tables and Other Collaborative Mechanisms
The VSTF participated ex officio in the work of all the joint
tables and collaborative mechanisms established under the VSI,
as well as the informal alternative mechanism created to share
information on advocacy and the definition of charitable status.
These bodies focused on how to improve the relationship in a number
of key areas – specifically, by:
- Developing a framework agreement setting out their vision
- Building the voluntary sector’s capacity to respond
to Canadians’ needs;
- Streamlining reporting requirements and regulations affecting
the voluntary sector;
- Developing a long-term approach to financing the voluntary
- Enhancing knowledge about the voluntary sector and increasing
recognition of the important role it plays; and
- Promoting and supporting volunteerism.
The VSTF also provided secretariat support for the Joint Accord
Table, coordinating the production of drafts of the Accord Between
the Government of Canada and the Voluntary Sector and the Codes
of Good Practice on Policy Dialogue and on Funding, in collaboration
with the VSIS. It was also responsible for organizing and conducting
consultations on the draft documents within the federal government
and providing feedback to its voluntary sector counterparts on
the results of these consultations. In addition, the VSTF participated
in the cross-Canada consultations on the draft Accord in 2001.
(See the report of the Joint Accord Table for more information.)
Sectoral Involvement in Departmental Policy Development
A key part of the VSI mandate is to strengthen the ability of
the voluntary sector and the federal government – independently
and in partnership — to serve Canadians. More than 30 percent
of the VSI budget ($28.5 million) was allocated to SIDPD, a substantial
investment aimed at developing policy capacity in federal government
departments and in voluntary sector organizations.
SIDPD was created for projects that would:
- Enhance policy development in departments by strengthening
opportunities for input by voluntary sector organizations; and
- Strengthen the voluntary sector's capacity to contribute
to departmental policy development.
SIDPD supported initiatives that:
- Contribute to building networks, alliances, and other
collaborative mechanisms among voluntary sector organizations;
- Support knowledge development and knowledge sharing activities.
In the summer of 2000, a first round of proposal development
was launched. A screening panel of sector representatives with
experience in public policy development reviewed the proposals,
and 21 projects involving eight federal departments were approved.
On August 8, 2001, Minister Lucienne Robillard announced $11.6
million in funding for the projects.
In spring 2001, a second and final round was launched. A broad
call for project descriptions was issued outlining the steps that
voluntary sector organizations should take to develop and submit
a proposal to a federal department or agency for funding. A joint
review panel of federal government and voluntary sector representatives
reviewed the proposals brought forward by 17 departments and agencies
and 46 projects were approved. On March 20, 2002, Minister Robillard
announced $15.1 million in funding for 46 SIDPD projects.
The VSTF developed the criteria and process for the first round
of consultation with departments, worked with departments to bring
the proposals forward for review and ministerial approval and
to prepare the Treasury Board submissions necessary to secure
the funding, and attempted to keep all interested parties informed.
Each department was asked to undertake an evaluation of its SIDPD
Once SIDPD projects were announced and responsibility rested
with individual departments, the VSTF redirected its energies
to other priorities. It did not have the mandate or the resources
to provide an overall coordination function that could have helped
SIDPD project managers share information on approaches, best practices
and lessons learned and create a sense of community.
The VSTF was also responsible for overseeing the process of developing
the request for proposals for an overall SIDPD evaluation, and
for guiding the evaluation team. The contract was posted by Consulting
and Audit Canada. The winning bid was submitted by the New Economy
Development Group, which will report by late 2003. The evaluation
- Conduct a process evaluation for SIDPD;
- Determine strategic outcomes of projects and key indicators
for success; and
- Conduct SIDPD Round 1 outcome evaluation.