Unravelling the Threads of Democracy
This paper describes the activities of the voluntary sector and its three key roles: service delivery, innovation and ethical leadership. The voluntary sector operates, at least in theory, outside of government. But it has been hampered seriously in recent years by government actions, particularly in Ontario. The report explains how the government has used three key levers to control the voluntary sector: funding, mandate and governance structure. Substantial funding cuts have come at a time when the need and demand for health and social services delivered by the voluntary sector are growing. The government also controls the voluntary sector by limiting its activities and associated type of funding. The third set of actions involves control of the governance structure of voluntary organizations through the appointment of their Board members or changes to their governing bylaws. Yet another strategy involves the creation of new public/private hybrid organizations whose work has profound implications for the public good but whose governance and methods of operation are partly privately controlled.
ISBN – 1-894159-55-1