Voluntary Sector Organizations and the State

Building New Relations

Rachel Laforest

  • $35.95s paperback (9780774821452) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: July 2012
  • Subject Listing: Political Science, Volunteerism
  • Bibliographic information: 192 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: U.S. rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

In the early 1990s, voluntary organizations garnered little attention in Canadian policy circles, even though the federal government was simultaneously offloading its responsibility for essential services to the sector and cutting back their funding. Two decades later, the voluntary sector is a key public policy player in federal, provincial, and municipal politics. Rachel Laforest tells the story of how and why the federal government’s relationship with voluntary organizations changed at the end of the twentieth century. Drawing on interviews and insights from governance theory, social movement theory, and urban studies, she shows why the turnaround represented a significant shift in the way citizens and policy makers view the place of voluntary organizations in public policy. Members of voluntary organizations have struggled for a stronger voice in policy making and redefined their relationship to the federal government through key collaborations such as the Voluntary Sector Initiative and the National Children’s Initiative. This deft account of how a loose coalition of voluntary organizations was transformed into a distinct sector offers a new conceptual framework for explaining dynamic state - voluntary sector relations at all levels of government.

Rachel Laforest is an associate professor and head of the Public Policy and Third Sector Initiative in the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University.