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An Accord Between the Government of Canada and the Voluntary Sector

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The Voluntary Sector

This Accord applies to the voluntary sector. This sector consists of organizations that exist to serve a public benefit, are self-governing, do not distribute any profits to members, and depend to a meaningful degree on volunteers. Membership or involvement in these organizations is not compulsory, and they are independent of, and institutionally distinct from the formal structures of government and the private sector. Although many voluntary sector organizations rely on paid staff to carry out their work, all depend on volunteers, at least on their boards of directors.

The voluntary sector is large, consisting of an estimated 180,000 non-profit organizations (of which 80,000 are registered as charities) and hundreds of thousands more volunteer groups that are not incorporated. In 2000, 6.5 million people volunteered their time to a voluntary sector organization and the sector employed a further 1.3 million people. This diverse multitude of organizations ranges from small community-based groups to large, national umbrella organizations and includes such organizations as neighbourhood associations, service clubs, advocacy coalitions, food banks, shelters, transition houses, symphonies and local sports clubs.

The Government of Canada

This Accord applies to the departments and agencies of the Government of Canada.

Almost every aspect of Canadian life is in some way affected by the Government of Canada. Every day, millions of Canadians rely on essential services provided by the Government of Canada including national security, peacekeeping, protection of rights and freedoms, protection of the environment, protection of the health of Canadians, maintenance of national parks and treasures, communication and technology development, transportation guidelines and services, and many more.

The Government of Canada also plays an important role in the development of Canadian and global economies. Further, it sustains relations with other countries. Finally, the Government of Canada makes laws and rules that apply to all and affect many aspects of Canadians' daily lives.

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Last Updated: 2019-11-18