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Eighth Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee (JSC)

January 24, 2005

Voluntary Sector Government

JSC Members

Monica Patten (Co-chair), Community Foundations of Canada
Yvonne Atwell, Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women's Health
Lenore Burton, Human Resources and Skills Development
Gordon Floyd, Children's Mental Health, Ontario

Shauna Sylvester, IMPACS
Marie-Josée Thivierge, Human Resources and Skills

JSC Members

Susan Scotti (Co-Chair), Social Development Canada
Suzanne Clément, Canadian Heritage
Sange de Silva, Statistics Canada
Sylvie Dufresne, Public Health Agency of Canada
Lise Reid, Industry Canada
Elizabeth Tromp, Revenue Canada Agency

Darlene Bessey, YWCA of Canada
Marcel Lauzière, Canadian Council on Social Development
Charlotte Thibault, Canadian Women’s Foundation

Richard Barnabé, Statistics Canada
Mary Carman, Industry Canada
Deborah Davis, Industry Canada
Stephen Rigby, Revenue Canada
Claude Rocan, Public Health Agency of Canada
Eileen Sarkar, Canadian Heritage
Development Canada
Brenda Herchmer, Centre for Community Leadership
Penelope Rowe, Community Services Council
Lynne Toupin, Voluntary Sector

Don McCreesh, Co-chair, IM/IT Advisory Committee
Eric Perreault, Human Resource and Skills Development

Marie Sassine, Treasury Board Secretariat

Voluntary Sector Forum:
Brenda Cameron Couch
Jean Christie
Laurie Rektor
Janet Sutherland

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

1. Chair Welcome & Opening Remarks

Susan Scotti welcomed members, acknowledged the presence of guest presenters at the meeting, and requested round-table introductions. Susan indicated the importance of the meeting was, in addition to updates on the progress of key deliverables, engaging in strategic discussions on where to go post-VSI.

Monica Patten welcomed Janet Sutherland to the Voluntary Sector Forum (VSF) team (formerly the Executive Director of the YMCA in Amherst Nova Scotia) and noted to the group that Marcel Lauzière, Canadian Council on Social Development, has accepted an assignment with the Government of New Zealand. A replacement for the Voluntary Sector will be designated.

It was noted that the VSF is going through transition planning and more information will be shared at the next meeting.

The November 22nd meeting minutes were approved.

The revised terms of reference for the Task Force on Community Investments were also adopted with an amendment adding a reference to prior work in this area and clarity on specific outcomes that have been and are expected to be achieved. Discussion ensued further to questions of clarity on the nature and membership of the voluntary sector advisory group. Allen Zeesman responded by noting that the Task Force, as a federal activity, will engage the advice and expertise of the voluntary sector on an as-needed basis. His response raised concerns among sector Committee members that this approach would lose the jointness/ horizontal collaboration that has come to be understood and expected as important. The Co-Chairs agreed that this discussion would continue later in the meeting under the context of 2005-06 strategic directions and priorities.

Allen also reminded members that there will be two interchange assignment opportunities for voluntary sector officials on the Task Force for Community Investments, preferably with federal government experience. Members were asked to forward names soon, either through the Co-Chairs or to him directly, for SDC consideration.

2. Voluntary Sector Portal

Brenda Herchmer, Centre for Community Leadership, gave members a “virtual tour” of the Voluntary Sector Portal to show its capacity and application as an electronic platform for information-sharing for the sector and other parties. The Portal is about capacity building for the sector and will allow sector knowledge and expertise to be managed within the sector, by, and for use of the sector.

The development of the Portal has been carried out by the sector and consultations have set the direction. The website uses a low end, open source, software that can be used by organizations, and is structured by topic and accessible in both official languages. It will have e-consultation capability, chat rooms and bulletin boards, and eventually a revenue-generating e-learning platform. The Portal is currently scheduled to be launched during the winter of 2005.

Penny Rowe, Community Services Council (CSC), spoke to the committee about the funding challenges associated with securing funding for maintenance and growth after the launch of the Portal. CSC has been working closely with Industry Canada and Social Development Canada to develop an investment strategy to secure $400K in public sector funding and $600K in private sector funding. To this end, Penny spoke about the Investors Conferences being organized by SDC on March 14 and March 28 for potential government and private sector funders respectively.

JSC members generally acknowledged support for the Voluntary Sector Portal. Suzanne Clement (PCH) and Sylvie Dufresne (PHAC/HC) in particular noted interest in exploring support from their departments for this initiative.

3. IM/IT Wrap-up and Key Deliverables

Lise Reid, Industry Canada, provided an overview of the current status and next steps related to the IM/IT project. Industry Canada (IC) is finalizing the IM/IT wrap-up strategy e.g. archiving documents and re-assigning staff. Outstanding issues include the sustainability of the Portal; IC is providing an additional $57K in 2004-05 and $125K in 2005-06. There will be final reports for all five projects and the work of the IM/IT Secretariat instead of a formal evaluation. The reports will be shared with the JSC.

The committee agreed this is impressive work and hopes that IC will continue to be involved with respect to expertise and advice. It was agreed the $125K will be useful in facilitating fundraising.

4. Human Resource Sector Council

Lynne Toupin provided an overview of the development of the Human Resources Voluntary Sector Council, which stems from the HR Sector Council feasibility study funded under the VSI as a Capacity Joint Table priority. In Phase I of the feasibility study, project tools were developed for the use of small to medium sized organizations. In Phase II, consultations were held in 37 communities and a survey was conducted to address three questions: (1) Does the sector want a Human Resources Sector Council? (2) What should be its priorities? (3) What would be its governance structure(s)? A project advisory committee was convened to identify the priorities and in late November 2004 was asked by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) to commence work on a proposal for implementation. The feasibility study project funding ends in March 2005, at which time, or shortly thereafter, the outcomes and any ongoing work will migrate to the newly created (anticipated) Sector Council.

5. National Survey of Non-profit and Voluntary Organizations

Sange de Silva, Statistics Canada, provided an update on the National Survey of Non-profit and Voluntary Organizations (NSNVO). Sange indicated Statistics Canada discussions regarding data accessibility and ongoing funding have been raised with the Chief Statistician and options for solutionsolutions will be developed in consultation with federal partners. A report is expected at the end of February 2005.

6. Updates

Sange de Silva, Statistics Canada, provided an update on the National Survey of Non-profit and Voluntary Organizations (NSNVO). Sange indicated Statistics Canada discussions regarding data accessibility and ongoing funding have been raised with the Chief Statistician and options for solutionsolutions will be developed in consultation with federal partners. A report is expected at the end of February 2005.

7. 2005-06 Strategic Direction and Priorities

Due to concerns raised earlier in the meeting by sector members in response to Allen’s indication that there would be no joint mechanisms post-VSI, it was generally agreed that the discussion on 2005-06 priorities needs to be the main agenda item for the next JSC meeting.

Sector members indicated dissatisfaction with the intention to not have a joint mechanism, being unclear in particular as to how this approach would ensure that sector contributions and/or concerns would continue to be addressed in the relationship with the Government of Canada. Would SDC continue to play a ‘champion’ role on behalf of the sector? If so, how is this to be done in the absence of a joint mechanism? To this end, Allen indicated that other collaborative relationships will likely emerge, in part due to VSI legacies and in part due to new government priorities. For example, Imagine Canada and the Canadian Federation of Voluntary Sector Networks are two important sector organizations which have the potential to represent the voices and participation of the sector on different fronts.

Another area of concern is ongoing horizontal work in promoting and implementing the Accord and Codes, including the sector voice and joint work.

In light of the richness of the current collaboration with the sector that needs to continue, it will be important to know what the sector needs to move forward. What does collaboration look like and what does this mean for the Government of Canada’s communities and social economy priorities? There will be a need to build on the current foundation built by the VSI but with less structure and mechanisms.

Everyone agreed that dialogue was needed about the priorities, the structure/mechanisms for ongoing collaboration and the outcomes to be achieved in the next 5 years, and that this should be central to the discussion at the next JSC.

In concluding the meeting, the Co-Chairs remarked that they would engage in a follow-up discussion about the planning of the next JSC meeting.

Next Meeting: Monday, April 25, 2005, noon to 5:00p.m., meeting location in Ottawa to be determined.

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