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The Joint Accord Table

The Joint Accord Table has disbanded. For up-to-date information click here.

In June of 2000, the federal government announced the Voluntary Sector Initiative (VSI), a joint endeavour designed to better serve the needs of Canadians by strengthening the capacity of the voluntary sector and enhancing its relationship with the Government of Canada. One of the key elements of the VSI was the development of a framework document or accord setting out principles that would guide the two sectors' relationship into the future.

Over its almost two-year lifespan (September 2000 to July 2002), the Accord project was guided by the Joint Accord Table (one of seven Joint Tables of the VSI), a collaborative working group comprised of an equal number of senior executives from the Government of Canada and the voluntary sector. The Joint Accord Table was assigned responsibility for two tasks: developing an Accord between the two sectors; and developing implementation tools and mechanisms to give life to the Accord.

In developing the Accord, the Table focused on engaging the broadest possible spectrum of Canadians and, in particular, ensuring the participation of the diverse and geographically disparate organizations that make up the voluntary sector. With the assistance of local voluntary sector organizations, consultations were conducted in communities across the country during the spring and fall of 2001. The Table also sought the input of business and labour representatives, and made special efforts to ensure the on-going involvement of Aboriginal people and visible minorities, two groups that were under-represented in the initial consultation process.

Signed by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien on December 5, 2001, the Accord Between the Government of Canada and the Voluntary Sector is a landmark agreement that launched the beginning of an enhanced relationship between the two sectors. The Accord identifies common values and principles to guide their working relationship and sets out the commitments of each sector - as well as shared commitments - to actions designed to build their relationship.

Once the Accord was completed, the Table addressed the second phase of its mandate - developing an implementation plan to give effect to the terms of the Accord. Based on reflections about the experiences of other countries, the needs identified by the voluntary sector and issues highlighted during the consultations, the Table decided to focus its efforts in three areas: identifying structures and processes required to implement the Accord; developing a code of good practice to guide the two sectors' funding relationship; and developing a code of good practice designed to enhance the voluntary sector's contribution to public policy. To carry out this work, the Joint Table established three working groups, each co-chaired by a JAT voluntary sector member and a member representing the federal government. More specifically, the Joint Accord Table produced the following implementation tools/mechanisms:

Letter to the Clerk of the Privy Council. The letter sets out recommendations regarding the structures and processes that should be put in place to guide the joint work of the Government of Canada and the voluntary sector during the coming years, with specific respect to the Accord as well as to the broader VSI. The letter proposeds individual structures and processes for each sector as well as those for joint work.

A Code of Good Practice on Funding. This is a tool for enhancing practices related to the funding aspect of the Government-voluntary sector relationship. It identifies the rationale for a Code on funding, the scope and application of the Code and the principles underlying it. As well, the Code identifies the practices that should be followed by the sectors - both individually and jointly - to enhance the funding relationship.

A Code of Good Practice on Policy Dialogue. This Code sets out best practices to deepen the policy dialogue between the two sectors. In addition to describing the rationale for a Code, the principles underlying the Code and the various stages of the public policy process, the Code identifies good practices for the Government of Canada, for the voluntary sector and for both sectors.

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Last Updated: 2020-01-17