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