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Nonprofit Policy Forum

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Canada's Voluntary Sector Initiative and Sub-National Voluntary Sector-Government Relations: A Third Wave

Peter R. Elson
Published Online: 2012-10-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/2154-3348.1039


Following a dismal and antagonistic relationship that coincided with three years of deep and sustained cuts to the voluntary sector in the mid 1990s, voluntary sector-federal government relations in Canada finally began to thaw. A number of high level joint meetings between the federal government and voluntary sector leaders in 1999 led to the announcement in June, 2000 of a joint initiative to “renew and strengthen their long-standing relationship”. This five-year $94.6 million investment entitled the Voluntary Sector Initiative (VSI) included the signing of a Voluntary Sector Accord; personnel exchange programs; policy engagement projects; two major national surveys; a national volunteerism initiative; and numerous capacity building projects.The VSI program ended in 2005 with a change in the governing Liberal party leadership and the subsequent election of a minority Conservative government. Drawing on John Kingdon’s multiple streams framework, this article takes a broad analysis of problems, policies, and political processes across multiple provinces to examine if the VSI may have influenced a third wave of sub-national level policy initiatives. While contextual differences at a provincial level clearly influence the status, structure, and scope of sub-national voluntary sector-government relations, it appears the VSI did contribute in a number of ways to these sub-national initiatives.

Keywords: voluntary sector; voluntary sector initiative; policy implementation; government relations; Canada; provinces

About the article

Published Online: 2012-10-18

Citation Information: Nonprofit Policy Forum, Volume 3, Issue 2, ISSN (Online) 2154-3348, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/2154-3348.1039.

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©2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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