Goals of the VSI

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The Voluntary Sector Initiative (VSI) was a five-year joint initiative between the Government of Canada and the voluntary sector that was launched in June 2000. The overall goal of the initiative was to improve the quality of life in Canada. Specifically, the VSI focused on strengthening the relationship between the sector and the government and enhancing the capacity of the voluntary sector. The work of the VSI took place in two phases, as described below.

The VSI was based on the recognition that the voluntary sector is one of the three pillars of Canadian society, equal in importance to the public and private sectors (click here for more detail on the sector and its contributions to Canadian society).

VSI Phase I – June 2000 to October 2002

In its first two years, the VSI brought together equal numbers of representatives from the voluntary sector and the federal government to work at seven joint tables. Each table was co-chaired by a representative from the sector and one from government. The seven tables were:

  • Joint Accord Table which focused on developing a framework agreement between the sector and the government to articulate the vision and principles underlying their working relationship;
  • Capacity Joint Table which focused on building the voluntary sector’s capacity (i.e., knowledge, skills and means) to respond to Canadians’ needs and enhancing the knowledge about the sector, its scope, nature and operations;
  • Joint Regulatory Table which examined the regulatory environment affecting the sector and worked to streamline reporting requirements and regulations;
  • Awareness Joint Table, which focused on increasing recognition of the sector’s role and its contribution to Canadian society;
  • National Volunteerism Initiative Joint Table, which focused on promoting and supporting volunteerism;
  • Information Management/Information Technology Joint Table, which investigated and proposed responses to the technology needs of the voluntary sector;
  • Joint Coordinating Committee, which provided oversight and coordination for the work of the initiative.

VSI Phase II – November 2002 to March 2005

In the second phase the VSI followed up on and implemented the recommendations, new research, actions and achievements produced during phase one. (Click here for a detailed list of Products and Programs. The Government of Canada and the voluntary sector continued to work together to ensure that the findings of the VSI Phase I were fully and meaningfully implemented. Phase II resulted in the provision of new information and tools that are practical, realistic and accessible to all voluntary sector organizations, especially those that are small and medium-sized.