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
2. PURSUE SHORT-TERM IMPLEMENTATION
ACTIVITIES THAT WILL:
- 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.
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.
AT HEALTH CANADA …
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.
AT HUMAN RESOURCES AND SKILLS
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 INDUSTRY CANADA …
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
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 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
- 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.
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.
- 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
Acting on the above priority, the federal government
made significant contributions in the following areas:
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 www.vsf-fsbc.ca.
Additional work is underway in both sectors to
develop solutions to these challenges.
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.
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 www.vsi-isbc.ca. An outcome evaluation of the
program is scheduled for the coming year.
AT AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD CANADA …
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.
AT THE CANADIAN 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.
AT CANADIAN HERITAGE …
A working group on sport for people with a disability includes voluntary sector representatives. The group is
developing a national policy in this area.
AT CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION CANADA …
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”.
AT NATIONAL DEFENCE …
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.
AT PUBLIC SAFETY AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS …
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.