Advocacy Working Group
The Advocacy Working Group (AWG) was one of two voluntary sector-only working groups. The AWG
worked to ensure that advocacy is fully recognized and supported, within the voluntary sector
and outside of it. Its focus was to create the legal, financial and regulatory framework necessary
to support the advocacy work of the voluntary sector.
Advocacy is one of the most vital contributions made by the voluntary sector to Canadian society
and globally. It is through its advocacy that the voluntary sector identifies and promotes ideas
and activities that have a public benefit and positively engages individuals in our society.
The question of advocacy and related issues within the voluntary sector and its treatment under
the current regulatory and legal system has been an ongoing, historical concern for the sector.
A survey by the Muttart Foundation in 2000 found that nearly 90 percent of Canadians support
charities engaging in advocacy. In 2001, Canadian Centre for Philanthropy found that 80 to 88
percent of Canadians expect charities to do advocacy work.
Under the second phase of the VSI the mandate of the AWG is being carried forward by the Voluntary
The Advocacy Working Group released two Papers:
"Regulation of Advocacy in the Voluntary Sector:
Current Challenges and Some Responses" provides detailed background and context on
the issue of advocacy from the perspective of the voluntary sector and establishes a framework
for further discussion.
"The Sound of Citizens' Voices" is a position
paper from the AWG that outlines current concerns and makes recommendations to enhance, support
and recognize the advocacy work of voluntary sector organizations.
Both papers were released in January 2002 to stimulate productive, creative and innovative discussion.
The position paper was revised and re-released in September 2002.
"Report to Participants: Winter 2002 Consultations
on Advocacy - The Sound of Citizens' Voices": The consultations focused on the AWG
position paper, Advocacy - The Sound of Citizens' Voices, and our purpose was to learn if it
reflects the voluntary sector's beliefs and experiences with advocacy.
The report was released in July 2002.