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Jan 17, 2019

Breaking the Inertia

January 17, 2019

Repositioning the Government-Sector Partnership

The social sector is a key strategic partner to Canadian governments as they seek to address big challenges like poverty or climate change. But the ways that the federal government works with, regulates, and supports the sector have not kept up. The latest report in Mowat NFP’s Enabling Environment series tackles this reality.

The report argues for a more integrated, transformative approach – one that focuses on both the regulating and enabling roles of the federal government. These roles, the report finds, should be situated in separate organizational units.

Drawing on international case studies, academic and non-academic literature, and input from both sector leaders and policymakers, the report concludes that the most promising approach is to establish a Social Sector Office as a permanent unit within a key central agency such as the Privy Council. The Office would focus on enabling functions and work in tandem with the existing regulator, the Charities Directorate, and the newly-proposed Social Innovation Council, with roles and mandates embedded in legislation.

Finding the best institutional model for enabling the social sector should be accompanied with other achievable reforms, also outlined in the paper. Overall, the recommendations in this paper describe how the federal government can work better with the social sector to attain the best outcomes for Canadians. This would complete a built-to-last transformation of the government-sector partnership that recognizes and deepens the roles each plays in achieving needed social change.

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Joanne Cave
Lisa Lalande

Release Date

January 17, 2019



Mowat Research

No. 181


This research series from Mowat NFP explores different dimensions of an enabling environment in the relationship between the charitable and non-profit sector and government. The series is intended to help the federal government and the charitable and NFP sector develop a modern federal policy framework that enables the sector and strengthens its ability to improve the quality of life of Canadians and people around the world.
To the Enabling Environment page

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