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The Journey Continues: The Second Report to Canadians on Implementing An Accord Between the Government of Canada and the Voluntary Sector

Message from the Joint Steering Committee

Through its support of the Voluntary Sector Initiative (VSI), the Government of Canada has made clear the value it places on a strong working relationship with the voluntary sector. In fact, the voluntary sector is an essential partner in achieving the federal government’s goals of increasing citizen engagement and building vibrant, innovative and sustainable communities across Canada.

One of the key outputs of the VSI, An Accord Between the Government of Canada and the Voluntary Sector sets out the values and principles to guide the evolving relationship between the federal government and the voluntary sector. On a more practical level, the Codes of Good Practice on Funding and Policy Dialogue provide tangible, concrete ideas about how to bring the Accord to life and make its provisions part of the way the sectors “do business” together.

The Accord commits the two sectors to report annually to Canadians on their progress. As the second formal accounting since the Accord was signed, this report describes some of the highlights of the past year, from October 2003 to September 2004. A number of changes took place during this period, including the transfer of the federal government VSI lead from Canadian Heritage to the new department of Social Development Canada (SDC) in December 2003. This, and other changes, presented challenges as SDC and the voluntary sector moved forward on implementing the Accord’s commitments.


  • Susan Scotti, Social Development Canada (Co-chair)
  • Monica Patten, Community Foundations of Canada (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, Children’s Mental Health Ontario
  • Marcel Lauzière, Canadian Council on Social Development
  • Bill McCloskey/ Stephen Rigby, Canada Revenue Agency
  • Eileen Sarkar, Canadian Heritage (former Co-chair)
  • Shauna Sylvester, IMPACS
  • Richard Barnabé/Mike Sheridan, Statistics Canada
  • Marie-Josée Thivierge/Andrew Treusch, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
  • Charlotte Thibault, Fondation canadienne des femmes

Many of last year’s initiatives built on tools and approaches developed during the previous year. For example, the two sectors went out on the road to pilot test, adapt and deliver new training programs and materials aimed at promoting closer links between the government and the voluntary sector. They also collaborated on initiatives for sharing good practices that reinforce the spirit and intent of the Accord and Codes.

Notwithstanding these achievements, a great deal remains to be done to realize the Accord’s vision. The Government of Canada and the voluntary sector are agreed on the need and potential for the voluntary sector to continue to be a strong and active partner in the development of public policy, in delivering programs and services that benefit Canadians, in engaging citizens and in providing knowledge and information. The February 2004 Speech from the Throne pledged the federal government’s continued support to advance the VSI. Subsequently, the 2004 Budget announced funding until March 2006 to continue the work of the VSI.

Looking ahead, both sectors will continue efforts to realize the potential and vision of the Accord and Codes of Good Practice as we build a strong and enduring relationship for the benefit of Canadians.

Monica Patten

Eileen Sarkar

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Last Updated: 2019-11-18