3 thoughts on “Spinning wheels: Why the sector’s lobbying has come up empty

    Your article makes no mention of the very successful lobbying and reform initiative of the Voluntary Sector Initiative in 2000. Initiated by a broad coalition of sector organization, the Voluntary Sector Roundtable, the Sector created a Blue Ribbon Panel to study and report on the state of the sector and make recommendations for reform and improvement within government and between government and the Sector. The report garnered much publicity and led to high level meetings with key Ministers of Cabinet. The Voluntary Sector Initiative which followed was made up of seven tables, all of them jointly chaired, which brought forward plans for action on several fronts. The best known was a foundational document called The Accord that set out committments for how Government and the Sector would deal with one another. A number of studies and reports followed. (It is worth noting that the Voluntary Sector Roundtable did not recommend a single home in government but proposed that the responsibility should continue to be a ‘whole of government’ one).

    Perhaps one of the reasons why the sector’s national lobbying efforts have come up empty is that they have been focused on the Federal government. Much of the important work of sector organizations are in areas of Provincial jurisdiction: housing, health and social services particularly. Indeed provincial and territorial financial support for the work of charities and other non-profits must surely exceed federal funding by 20x although the magnitude and mechanisms of support have seen very little study.

    So the federal government’s power to support the sector really lies in transfers to the provinces and territories. Such support is complex because it requires intergovernmental negotiations with multiple governments, something the current federal government seems to have largely ignored or done behind closed doors, despite its promises.

    So the sector is as much in need of a home in thirteen governments as in one.

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