Charity and Public Welfare in History: A Look at Ontario, 1830–1950

Several historical works have described 19th-century Ontario as lacking a conception of public welfare, where the poor were largely left to the benevolence of religious charities. Consider here Stephen Speisman’s claim that “prior to 1900, the very religious character of Toronto mitigated against the assumption of social welfare responsibilities by the city government.”1 This assumption,…

Judging the VSI: Reflections on the Relationship Between the Federal Government and the Voluntary Sector

Introduction1 In June 2000, the federal government announced the Voluntary Sector Initiative (VSI), a joint endeavour undertaken with representatives from the voluntary sector that was intended to investigate and strengthen the relationship between government and the voluntary sector. With the experience of the United Kingdom as a backdrop,2 representatives from the Canadian government and the…

The Role of Non-Share Capital Corporations in Providing Essential Public Services in Canada

Introduction Canadians rely on their government to provide a wide range of goods and services. Sometimes governments provide such services directly, and in other instances, governments use Crown corporations to act as their agents. Many Crown corporations have been mandated to achieve important public policy aims in a commercial setting. As a result, Crown corporations…

The Dark Side of Contracting with Government: The Case of VHA Hamilton and the Province of Ontario

Introduction This article examines the dark side of the contracting relationship between governments and the nonprofit sector that provides services on their behalf. It demonstrates how governments, as monopsonic purchasers or single buyers of these services, sometimes use their power to off-load the costs of care and risk management to service providers. It illustrates that…

Square Pegs in Round Holes: Vertical and Horizontal Accountability in Voluntary Sector Contracting

Introduction The role of the state in the delivery of public goods and its relationship to the voluntary sector providers of these goods is continuously evolving in Canada, as elsewhere. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s under the rise of neo-liberal strategies including New Public Management, the delivery of public goods was increasingly contracted out to…

Bookshelf

The Nonprofit Sector and the Government in a New Century Edited by Kathy L. Brock and Keith G. Banting Part of the Public Policy and Third Sector Series, published by The School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001, pp. 256, paper, Cdn. $27.95; cloth, $55.00. Improving Connections Between Governments and Nonprofit and…