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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

Background Paper: Government of Canada Implementation

B. Priorities for the Future

As described in this background paper, the federal government has made progress in putting into place preliminary measures for implementing An Accord Between the Government of Canada and the Voluntary Sector. As agreed to in Section V of the Accord: “Taking the Accord Forward,” governance structures are up and running, and tools and processes have been developed to enhance awareness and use of the Accord and Codes of Good Practice. An important first step, these initiatives help to set the stage for realizing the Government’s longer-term commitments to building a strong and vital relationship with the voluntary sector (see box below).

Looking ahead

With these goals in mind, the Government of Canada has identified a number of clear priorities for achieving further progress on building a better relationship with the voluntary sector. The following priorities for action are based on input from federal government leaders in the VSI, as well as feedback from government organizations. They will guide the federal government’s work in this area over the coming year.

1. Lay the foundation for fully integrating the Accord commitments into departmental operations and culture by:
  • developing a voluntary sector lens or approach to ensure that the implications of legislation, regulations, policies and programs on voluntary sector organizations are considered;
  • integrating the Accord into existing reporting mechanisms (e.g., departmental reports on plans and priorities and departmental performance reports); and
  • promoting career exchanges between the voluntary sector and Government to increase understanding and knowledge about each other.


The Accord sets out the federal government commitments for enhancing its relationship with the voluntary sector, including:

  • recognizing and considering the implications of legislation, regulations, policies and programs on voluntary sector organizations, including funding policies and practices; 
  • engaging the voluntary sector in open, informed and sustained dialogue; and
  • addressing the issue of ministerial responsibility for continued development of the relationship with the voluntary sector.

In addition, the Accord outlines the shared commitments of the federal government and the voluntary sector. One of these commitments is to promote awareness and understanding of the contributions that each sector makes to Canadian society.

2. Pursue short-term implementation activities that will:

  • raise the profile of the Accord and Codes, as well as understanding about them (e.g., by visibly acknowledging the importance of the relationship between interested ministers and voluntary sector leaders);
  • strengthen interdepartmental collaboration (e.g., by hosting a second meeting of interdepartmental assistant deputy minister champions and establishing interdepartmental working groups on issues, such as training, progress reporting and funding); and
  • increase Government-sector collaboration on issues jointly identified as requiring further collaboration (e.g., directors’ liability) and joint research (e.g., models for dispute resolution mechanisms), and identify, promote and share outcomes from the over 60 projects undertaken to identify innovative ways of including the sector’s voice in policy development (i.e., Sectoral Involvement in Departmental Policy Development (SIDPD) projects).


“Over the next year, our priority will be to increase awareness and implementation of the Accord and Codes, both nationally and regionally – part of that work will involve developing an implementation strategy and an internal communication strategy to get employees on board.”

“Give us some tools we can use to help us implement the Accord and Codes – for example, sharing best practices will help us by pointing out what other departments are doing, where they’ve been successful and what challenges they’ve faced.”

“Some of the government-wide efforts that should be explored are providing temporary funding to support implementation efforts, organizing a joint meeting of government/voluntary sector champions and helping evaluate pilot projects.”

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Last Updated: 2019-08-19