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An Accord Between the Government of Canada and the Voluntary Sector

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The Accord is based on guiding principles:


The Government of Canada and the voluntary sector are autonomous, have unique strengths and separate accountabilities, and agree that:
  • The Government of Canada is accountable to all Canadians for its actions and has a responsibility to identify issues of national concern and mobilize resources to address them, establish policies and make decisions in the best interest of all Canadians;

  • Voluntary sector organizations are accountable to their supporters and to those they serve in providing services, organizing activities and giving collective voice at the local, national and international level;

  • The independence of voluntary sector organizations includes their right within the law to challenge public policies, programs and legislation and to advocate for change; and

  • Advocacy is inherent to debate and change in a democratic society and, subject to the above principles, it should not affect any funding relationship that might exist.


The voluntary sector and the Government of Canada recognize that:
  • The actions of one can directly or indirectly affect the other, since both often share the same objective of common good, operate in the same areas of Canadian life, and serve the same clients; and

  • Each has complex and important relationships with others (business, labour, provincial, territorial and local governments, etc.) and the Accord is not meant to affect these other relationships.


The voluntary sector and the Government of Canada, recognizing that sharing of ideas, perspectives, and experiences contributes to better understanding, improved identification of priorities, and sound public policy, agree that:
  • Dialogue should be open, respectful, informed, sustained, and welcome a range of viewpoints;

  • Dialogue should be carried out in a way which respects each party's confidential information, and builds and maintains trust; and

  • Appropriately designed processes and governance structures are necessary to achieve sustained dialogue.

Co-operation and Collaboration

The Government of Canada and the voluntary sector agree that the social fabric of communities is strengthened and civic engagement is increased when they work together to address issues of mutual concern, and that:
  • Working together to identify common priorities or complementary objectives will help facilitate co-operation and collaboration; and

  • Working relationships should be flexible and respect what others contribute and the challenges and constraints under which they operate.

Accounting to Canadians

In addition to their separate accountabilities, the voluntary sector and the Government of Canada are accountable for maintaining the trust and confidence of Canadians by:
  • Ensuring transparency, high standards of conduct and sound management in their work together; and

  • Monitoring and reporting on the results.

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Last Updated: 2019-08-19