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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

Background Paper: Government of Canada Implementation

B. Progress on Priorities


  • Raise the profile of the Accord and Codes, as well as understanding about them

The Government of Canada carried out a variety of activities aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of the Accord and Codes.

At the Ministerial level

The federal government recognizes the need for dialogue between the two sectors at the highest levels. During this reporting period, the Honourable Liza Frulla, then Minister of Social Development Canada, held a meeting with key voluntary sector representatives. Members of the voluntary sector took the opportunity to reinforce the importance of moving forward on the commitments made in the Accord and Codes of Good Practice on Funding and Policy Dialogue. Unfortunately, due to two Cabinet changes during the current reporting period, a meeting between the Ministerial Consultative Committee and voluntary sector leaders did not take place.

Survey says …

  • half of responding departments said they have an awareness strategy in place, while many others have taken a less formal approach to awareness raising
  • two thirds said that all parts of their department have a general awareness of the Accord
  • the most commonly used awareness-raising techniques are: Accord and Codes distribution, management briefings, staff presentations, workshops and staff e-mails

Network of champions

Although departmental champions (responsible for encouraging implementation efforts in their own departments) and voluntary sector representatives were unable to meet as planned last year, a meeting of the two groups will take place in the fall of 2004.


A new manual of Grants and Contributions Standard Operating Procedures is helping to harmonize processes in the Population and Health Branch. The manual, developed in keeping with the spirit of the Accord and Codes, is being promoted extensively across the department.


The Director at one regional office is a member of the Collaborative Granting Funders Table, which offers voluntary sector organizations a venue to market their proposals to a cross-section of public and private sector funders. The Table has improved the sector’s access to funded programs, while reducing overlap and duplication.


At the end of each year, the department conducts a post-mortem assessment of funding requests and award processes. This approach helps staff to identify needed improvements, including making program delivery processes more transparent and user friendly. As a result of these efforts, applicants submit higher quality project proposals that are more likely to
produce higher quality research reports.

Meetings between the sectors

Many individual departments and agencies met with and involved voluntary sector representatives – formally and informally – in their ongoing work over the past year.
Consider the following:

  • more than half of responding departments/ agencies reported that their Minister met with representatives of the voluntary sector during the reporting period
  • one third had a regularly set forum for their meetings, while more than half held ad hoc meetings as issues arose
  • about half of departments/agencies have a strategy in place for implementing the Code of Good Practice on Policy Dialogue

Training initiatives

Over the past year, the two sectors joined forces to provide training to departments and sector organizations across the country on how to implement the Accord and Codes.
Building on lessons learned from earlier training sessions, the training methodology was redesigned to provide local trainers, federal government champions and others with flexible modules that can be tailored to meet individual needs. Following each session, organizers reviewed the outcomes to determine how the training sessions might be improved. (link to training section in joint report)
A range of federal departments benefited from this training.

On January 14, 2004, SDC conducted a training session with 17 employees representing all regions and sectors of Canadian Heritage. The session was designed to: help employees understand the links between the Accord and their responsibility area in the department; prepare participants to deliver Accord and Codes workshops; and support the development of a departmental implementation strategy.

  • Strengthen interdepartmental collaboration

A coordinated government-wide approach

Since the Accord and Codes were first developed, departments have highlighted the need for collaboration and learning across the federal government. To address this need, SDC coordinated an interdepartmental training session on January 29, 2004. The goals of the session were to demonstrate joint government-voluntary sector training tools and the approach used at regional training sessions, and to share information on other departmental Accord and Codes training strategies. Attended by a representative each from 16 departments plus eight representatives and trainers from SDC, the session helped to build cross-government understanding and knowledge about the various training tools and approaches being used in departments.

In the Code of Good Practice on Funding, the Government of Canada committed to (among other commitments)

  • include as one criterion the “particular value” that voluntary sector organizations bring to specific activities they undertake with the Government of Canada
  • use multi-year funding agreements and develop and implement mechanisms to facilitate their use, in appropriate circumstances, in order to enhance organizations’ stability and capacity for longer-term planning
  • be flexible in implementing new programs that address broad federal priorities and, where appropriate, tailor these programs to meet local needs

In early 2004, an informal interdepartmental working group chaired by SDC met several times to share good funding practices and to promote their use across the federal government. Many of these good practices were based on input from last year’s government-wide progress reports, which highlighted a range of innovative practices. For example, departments reported using the Code to:

  • analyze current and potential funding relationships with the sector
  • guide renewal of terms and conditions for funding programs
  • carry out gaps analyses of departmental processes and procedures, including risk assessment, transfer payment policies and departmental action plans on grants

In July 2004, Social Development Canada (SDC) began discussions to establish a task force that will examine current funding mechanisms and make recommendations on approaches to facilitate investments in communities by the federal government. This work will commence during the next reporting period.

Progress reporting

An internal working group with representation from across the federal government was established to oversee the development of an improved survey questionnaire focusing on departmental implementation of the Accord and Codes. In the interest of ensuring comparability between government and voluntary sector survey questionnaires, a representative of the Voluntary Sector
Forum attended the meetings of this working group

Survey says:

  • three fifths of responding departments provide funding to the voluntary sector
  • one fifth have an implementation strategy for the Code of Good Practice on Funding
  • Increase Government-sector collaboration on issues jointly identified as requiring further collaboration and joint research, and identify, promote and share outcomes from the Sectoral
    Involvement in Departmental Policy Development (SIDPD) projects.

Acting on the above priority, the federal government made significant contributions in the following areas:

Liability insurance

One of the key issues facing voluntary sector organizations is the cost and accessibility of liability insurance. Although no joint work was carried out in this area, the Government of Canada – through the Policy Internship and Academic Fellowship (PIAF) program – supported the placement of a public servant at the Voluntary Sector Forum to undertake a series of regional consultations and an on-line survey concerning the insurance challenges most commonly faced by voluntary sector organizations. The results of this research are set out in a report entitled,
Liability Insurance and the Voluntary Sector – Framing the Issues, which is available at Additional work is underway in both sectors to develop solutions to these challenges.

Dispute resolution

Both the federal government and the voluntary sector have identified successful collaborative partnerships as a key element of doing business together and a fundamental indicator of the success of the Accord and Codes of Good Practice. To address this issue, SDC is working with the Voluntary Sector Forum on a pilot project to develop a collaborative problem solving approach for the Accord and Codes of Good Practice on Funding and Policy Dialogue. The project is designed to enhance the ability of the two sectors to serve Canadians and their
communities through partnerships in areas where they have identified common goals. Selected departments and their respective sector stakeholders will test the pilot.


According to the federal government survey, almost four out of ten responding organizations have a process in place to resolve disputes with their voluntary sector partners.

Policy dialogue

A key element of the VSI, the Sectoral Involvement in Departmental Policy Development (SIDPD) was designed to enhance the voluntary sector’s capacity to participate in policy development by exploring how to involve voluntary sector stakeholders in all phases of the public policy process. A formative evaluation of SIDPD, completed in March 2004, points to some important lessons learned to help implement the Code of Good Practice on Policy Dialogue. The evaluation findings are posted at An outcome evaluation of the program is scheduled for the coming year.


  • respect and seek out the expertise and input of the voluntary sector and include it in the analysis and design of policy initiatives;
  • ensure that policy initiatives capture the fullest spectrum of views and give due consideration to all input received, paying particular attention to those likely to be most affected by policy proposals.


The Department is developing recommendations for a new advisory board – with representation from stakeholder groups, the public health sector and consumer groups – to advise the Minister on matters affecting the Canada Food Inspection Agency.


As a governmental regulator, the Agency is engaged in regular consultations on new and proposed revisions to existing regulations, as stipulated by the Regulatory Policy and Canada Gazette consultation process. Plus they engage stakeholders in early stages of legislative and regulatory initiatives.


A working group on sport for people with a disability includes voluntary sector representatives. The group is developing a national policy in this area.


Following two national conferences involving the voluntary sector, a “joint committee on policies and programs for settlement and integration” was put in place. They also have four joint working groups which look at:
“How to maximize actual work in settlement”, “Smaller Community Strategy”, “An Accord on Settlement”, and “Settlement Standards/Professionalization and Accountability”.


The department’s Policy Dialogue Program includes a series of roundtable discussions that have been held over the past year with experts from voluntary sector and other organizations.


The Minister and Deputy Minister are regular speakers at voluntary sector conferences and meet with representatives of national voluntary organizations. The Minister also participates in the Corrections Roundtable, which is attended by representatives of 12 voluntary sector organizations active in corrections and criminal justice.


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Last Updated: 2019-08-19