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Taking the Accord Forward: The First Report to Canadians on Implementing An Accord Between the Government of Canada and the Voluntary Sector

A Message from the Joint Steering Committee

In many ways, this report is an important milestone. First and foremost, it fulfills the two sectors’ commitment to report on progress in implementing An Accord Between the Government of Canada and the Voluntary Sector. As the first formal accounting since the Accord was signed in December 2001, it also provides a benchmark for measuring future progress as the two sectors put in place the products, processes and spirit of good will that the Accord envisioned.

In one sense, the Accord and Codes of Good Practice were the culmination of more than two years of collaboration, effort and enthusiasm. Working together, the two sectors identified values, principles and practices that would guide their relationship into the future. In another important sense, however, the real work of implementing the Accord and Codes has just begun. That work will be in making the kind of cultural changes in both sectors that support a vibrant, mutually supportive relationship benefiting all Canadians. And, as experience has taught us, the kind of changes we envision cannot be achieved quickly or easily.


  • Eileen Sarkar, Canadian Heritage (Co-chair)
  • Monica Patten, Voluntary Sector Forum (Co-chair)
  • Yvonne Atwell, Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health
  • Darlene Bessey, YWCA of Canada
  • Scott Broughton, Health Canada
  • Mary Carman, Industry Canada
  • Gordon Floyd, Canadian Centre for Philanthropy
  • Marcel Lauzière, Canadian Council on Social Development
  • Bill McCloskey, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
  • Mike Sheridan, Statistics Canada
  • Shauna Sylvester, IMPACS
  • Andrew Treusch, Human Resources Development Canada


Clearly, one of the challenges will be to identify the funds that are needed for implementation initiatives to proceed. Another is meeting the diverse needs of organizations with a range of mandates, cultures and experience. For example, we’ve heard from many organizations in both sectors that they already devote time and energy to the relationship, collaborating with the “other” on key issues, sharing information and resources, and exploring new ways of drawing on each other’s unique insights and skills. Others are seizing the day, using the information and tools provided to elevate the relationship to a new level.

Over the past year, we’ve put in place some of the building blocks for change – our governing bodies are up and running, training tools and approaches have been developed and we’ve started to get the word out to government departments and agencies, and voluntary sector organizations across the country. On the federal government side, the Clerk of the Privy Council has taken a strong stance in support of implementation, making deputy heads of all departments and agencies accountable for putting the Accord and Codes into action.

Because we’re in it for the long haul, one of the principles that has guided this recent work is that it’s not always about doing more, but about doing better. With that in mind, we’ve taken an incremental approach to achieving our vision, one that allows us to review progress, build on our successes and move forward with conviction.

Monica Patten

Eileen Sarkar

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Last Updated: 2019-10-21