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Seventh Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee (JSC)

November 22, 2004

Voluntary Sector Government

JSC Members

Monica Patten (Co-chair), Community Foundations of Canada
Yvonne Atwell, Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women's Health
Marcel Lauzière, Canadian Council on Social Development
Kathryn McDade, Human Resources and Skills Development
Shauna Sylvester, IMPACS
Charlotte Thibault, Canadian Women’s Foundation

JSC Members

Susan Scotti (Co-Chair), Social Development Canada
Suzanne Clément, Canadian Heritage
Deborah Davis, Industry Canada
Sange de Silva, Statistics Canada
Claude Rocan, Public Health Agency of Canada
Elizabeth Tromp, Revenue Canada Agency

Darlene Bessey, YWCA of Canada
Gordon Floyd, Children's Mental Health, Ontario
Marie-Josée Thivierge, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Richard Barnabé, Statistics Canada
Mary Carman, Industry Canada
Stephen Rigby, Revenue Canada
Eileen Sarkar, Canadian Heritage

Voluntary Sector Forum:
Brenda Cameron Couch
Jean Christie

Social Development Canada:
Andrea Francis
Marie Gauthier
Lisa Mullins
Linda Searson
Allen Zeesman
Record of Discussion

1. Chair Welcome & Opening Remarks

Co-chairs, Susan Scotti and Monica Patten welcomed Claude Rocan as representative of Health Canada and the new Public Health Agency of Canada. Susan Scotti provided a status update regarding the action items she had committed to at the Oct. 14th meeting: (1) wrote to ADM members about active participation and a designated “alternate”; (2) wrote to Eileen Sarkar requesting that PCH consider a leadership role on the insurance liability file; and (3) the DM wrote to Deputy Heads to share the NSNVO highlights and encourage dissemination / application for social policy development.

The meeting minutes from the June 21st and October 14th meetings were approved. The revised terms of reference were also adopted.

2. Champions Meeting Feedback

Hugh Segal’s remarks stood out and struck a balance between consolidating what has been done and direction to take in the future. Regarding Hugh Segal’s comments about diversity and integrative citizenship, if the voluntary sector does not do this, who will? In addition, it is helpful to focus on outcomes, including the cost of not partnering and the legitimacy of the voluntary sector.

Regarding the National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations (NSNVO) it was suggested that consideration be given to the social impact of what the voluntary sector does. CCSD and Statistics Canada can do this however, funding needs to be sought and determining how the data can be disaggregated to the local level. Regarding the latter, some organizations have indicated to Statistics Canada that national numbers are useful for the voluntary sector, although it is for the federal government.

The VSI panel presentations were helpful with regard to what is happening in general. How will the work continue and who will keep the Champions focussed?

Sharing the successes was useful, but people seemed to be “hungry” for practical solutions.
The dialogue was great after presentations, lots to be learned.

The day tried to strike a balance between moving forward and coming to terms with the tensions that have existed throughout the VSI. There has to be different conversations than how the Accord and Codes get implemented. Departments will need to have Champions. SDC will ensure monitoring and reporting however, action has to increase at societal issue level. A different kind of conversation is needed for this and it was not the intention to try and accomplish within today’s Champion’s meeting.

VSI cannot be about process and mechanisms alone. For example, the SDC minister can be a voice, however, the voluntary sector needs to go to Ministers and say how they can contribute to social policy issues. Moreover, it needs to be and should be vertical both in government and sector, e.g. government and voluntary sector leaders to bring together colleagues and work collaboratively.

We need to “breathe life” into the Funding Code to address fundamental systemic issues, otherwise champions in departments can’t do what is intended.

So how do we move the conversation forward? Government is committed to continue the dialogue, however, the focus needs to be different. Broader discussion is needed on inter-related priorities and a broader representation of voices is needed, e.g. integrative citizenship challenge noted by Hugh Segal. Focussed discussion on fewer issues would be more effective in engaging senior government officials.

There are many sub-sectors who take on issues, so we need to determine how to bring all communities, organizations, departments together – this is the challenge.

3. JSC Governance

It was agreed that the mandate of the JSC would be extended to March 2006, recognizing that the VSF membership will likely change.

The VSF is meeting in early December to discuss options and recommendations for the future of the VSF as an entity, as well on oversight on outstanding work, e.g. liability, advocacy, sector cohesiveness/leadership. It is hoped that when the JSC meets in January, there will be agreement among the VSF members on the optimal approach.

The issue of how priority-setting will be done was raised in relation to continued and new/emerging issues. Susan Scotti suggested that (i) a set of priorities be attached to completing the VSI, and (ii) a set of priorities be attached to planning for transition beyond March 2006.

4. Task Force on Community Investments

The draft Terms of Reference was revised based on consultation with Treasury Board and PCO officials, and tabled for discussion and approval.

PCH expressed support and noted that it will be important to consider work on societal indicators as well.

Statistics Canada indicated support.

CCSD suggested re-wording so that the objective is not only about consistency of funding practices, but also about the need to address consistency with respect to the application, across the Government, of funding issues. For example, some departments have made adjustments in response to the Transfer Payment Policy, but not consistently. It was noted that previous and ongoing work/discussions with Treasury Board should also be encompassed in the Terms of Reference.

Health Canada suggested that the Terms of Reference be clearer about anticipated results and products which will come out of the two-year exercise. A question was also raised as to whether the Task Force will examine the issue from a F/P/T perspective, rather than strictly federal perspective. The response was that it is strictly a federal exercise.

A question was raised as to whether the success of the UK is being examined because they’ve focussed on one issue, e.g. poverty reduction. The response was that it is too soon to say, and that the UK model is being examined because it has been successful and they’re a unitary state.

Action: Community Development and Partnerships Directorate will review JSC comments and adjust the Terms of Reference accordingly, for approval by JSC at the January 2005 meeting.

5. January 2005 AgendaThe proposed January agenda was reviewed and approved by JSC members.

A brief discussion ensued on the issue of accessibility of the NSNVO data. Sange de Silva noted that it is not just an issue for the JSC table, but that it is an issue for StatsCan in general. Access to data is governed by federal privacy law. Efforts are ongoing to address the data accessibility issue, and they are making progress (e.g. master files in data centres). In the case of the NSNVO, StatsCan has taken extraordinary steps, e.g. HQ access at Holland Cross. In addition, a proposal for a Public Use Microdata File is going before the Advisory Committee. Sange will put forward the support of the JSC to this proposal.

Next Meeting Date: January 24, 2005 at noon – 5:00 p.m.

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