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Awareness Joint Table Terms of Reference

Mandate

The mandate of the JAT (Joint Awareness Table) is to ensure that various audiences (community leaders, business, media, government, youth, Canadians and parts of the sector itself) become informed about the vital role the voluntary sector plays in shaping and sustaining a high quality of life and a healthy society for Canadians and, in turn, increase their engagement in community life. To deliver this mandate, the JAT is providing advice and guidance on the development and implementation of strategies and tools (eg. social marketing campaign) that will 'tell the story' of the sector and enable the voluntary organisations to tell their story more effectively.

Relationship Between Awareness Table and JCC

In the case of the JAT, it may include bringing together the messages from the different projects to create one narrative. The JAT is similar to the JCC with regards to its horizontal task requiring the knowledge of the overall Initiative and the development of the several projects with relationship with other tables

N.B. The voluntary sector co-chair is a member of the Senior Voluntary Sector Steering Group.

Membership

Following the model established in the Joint Tables Process, the JAT is composed of an equal number of government and sector representatives, led by two co-chairs.

1. Size of Committee

The JAT is comprised of 14 members, equally drawn from the government and voluntary sector.

2. Ex officio Members

It is possible that the JAT will invite the participation of ex officio Members due to the broad nature of its work. The secretariat to the Initiative on the government side is the Voluntary Sector Task Force housed at the Privy Council Office (PCO).

A similar group for the voluntary sector (Voluntary Sector Secretariat) is housed at Coalition of National Voluntary Organizations. There are also some staff positions located at Canadian Heritage for those performing the Secretariat function for the JAT, in addition to assistance from the Voluntary Sector Task Force (VSTF).

3. Expert Members and Invited Guests

The Table may, from time to time, require experts, academics or other voluntary sector representatives to attend meetings a presenters, advisers or observers because of their knowledge of the subject, of the sector or as part of another existing Table or consultation mechanism. Such invitation is made by consensus of the Table, with the consent of the co-chair and within budget restraints.

4. Government Representation

Government members have been nominated by each Department and approved by the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee. Government officials are staffed from those serving in an Executive level capacity.Terms for participation in the Joint Awareness Table are 2 years long with the possibility of being renewed. The renewal of membership needs to take into consideration issues such as continuity, required expertise and representativeness.

5. Voluntary Sector Representation

Voluntary Sector member have been selected by an independent selection committee. Terms for participation in the Joint Awareness Table are 2 years long with the possibility of being renewed. The renewal of membership need to take into consideration issues such as continuity, required expertise and representativeness.

6. Attendance

Substitutional attendance is not be permitted.

Accountability

Government officials are accountable for their participation on the JAT table through the reporting structures of their offices in the federal government. They are also accountable for the horizontal development of the work with their voluntary sector colleagues.

Voluntary Sector members are accountable in a broad sense to the sector for responding to its views and reflecting its values and priorities. Although they are representative of the sector as a whole by virtue of their experience, and expertise, they are not expected to formally give an accounting of their performance to the organizations, regions or sub-sectors from which they are drawn. Rather, they are likely to be held to account individually for their accessibility and responsiveness. For this reason, the way in which they manage their engagement responsibilities is be critical.

Time Frame and Meetings

The JAT is constituted for five years, commencing in Fall 2000. It will review its Terms of Reference, Mandate, and Membership annually, and may jointly revise them accordingly. The JAT meets at a frequency determined upon assembly of the group.

Meetings are comprised of face-to-face communication as well as conference calls and electronic correspondence. Working groups and/or sub-committees may be established to develop parts of this work as required by the members.

Secretariat and Funding

The Department of Canadian Heritage is responsible for:

  • overall assistance to the JAT table

  • providing secretariat service to the table

  • paying for expenditures associated with the organization of meetings

  • paying eligible travel and out-of-pocket expenses (Treasury Board Guidelines) of voluntary sector participants and/or ex officio members in relation to JAT duties, and;

  • paying eligible travel and out-of-pocket expenses (Treasury Board Guidelines) of Government of Canada officials should meetings be held outside of Ottawa.
Representatives of the Voluntary Sector Secretariat and the Voluntary Sector Task Force are responsible for:
  • overall assistance to the JAT table

  • assurance of horizontality with other Joint Tables
Operating Principles

1. Quorum

The Joint Awareness Table has 7 members for government and 7 for the sector, a quorum is at least 4 from each. Note that it is not necessary for both government and the sector to have the same number of participants, only that each has the minimum quorum number.

2. Confidentiality

Table members are expected to be open and candid in discussing items before the table. For this reason it is important to maintain confidentiality. Table members are committed to respecting the personal privacy of table participants and agree not to disclose personal information or views expressed by individuals during meetings. Deliberations should remain confidential until there is general agreement and consensus to make them public (see principle 3 below).

3. Public Communication and Media

Regular communications about the progress of work being undertaken by the Table is a priority and should be part of the regular work of all joint tables. Records of decision, progress updates and other communications tools (questions and answers) will be regularly developed and approved by Table members for posting on websites and communicating with the media and other interested observers. No material from the Table will be made available to people outside the table without prior approval by the table members.

4. Reaching Agreement

Table members will seek to reach consensus wherever possible. If for whatever reason, consensus can not be achieved, the Table Members may agree to a recommendation, through another process, such as voting or permitting dissenting reports.

5. Official Languages

All members will be encouraged to participate in the Joint Awareness Table deliberations in the official language of their choice. All products of the Tables will be produced in both languages (e.g. minutes, joint reports, media lines).

Simultaneous translation will be provided at all meetings.

6. Accessibility

To ensure the active participation by any members who may have accessibility requirements, table meetings will be held in facilities that are barrier-free. Where required, technical aids, anthropometric equipment, attendant and other specialized services will be provided to accommodate the needs of Table members with disabilities.

7. Expert Members and Invited Guests

The Table may, from time to time, require experts, academics or other voluntary sector representatives to attend meetings as presenters, advisers or observers because of their knowledge of the subject, of the sector or as part of another existing Table or consultation mechanism. Such invitations will be agreed to in advance by the Co-Chairs.

Indemnification of Voluntary Sector Representatives

Voluntary Sector representatives serving as members of the Joint Awareness Table are extended the same risk management principles as to public servants serving at the Table when it comes to matters of liability and insurance and are subject to the Treasure Board's Volunteer Policy.

The Voluntary Sector representatives on the JAT are therefore considered as "volunteers" under this policy.

Federal departments and agencies should support volunteers in any third party liability claim, and do all necessary to ensure that volunteers suffer no financial losses as a results of any claim arising from serving in a volunteer capacity.

Joint Awareness Table Member's Ethical Guidelines

  • Will act with honesty, integrity and openness in advancing the work of the joint process.

  • Will not use his or her position on the Table to benefit materially from the process or the outcomes.

  • Will not be eligible on an individual basis for contract research or other paid work commissioned the table upon which he or she also sits.

  • Will not use his or her position to assist other members of the voluntary sector in their dealings with the federal government where this would result in preferential treatment to any person or organization.

 

 
 
  
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Last Updated: 2019-05-26