The VOICE in health policy project is funded through the Government of Canada – Voluntary Sector Initiative (VSI) launched in 2000. As part of this initiative projects were created to improve the voluntary sector’s participation in policy development.
The VOICE in health policy project has two objectives:
1. to increase the policy capacity of Voluntary Organizations Working in Health (VOWH) and Health Canada
2. to enhance individual and collective collaboration by VOWHs in Health Canada’s policy development process.
Three interrelated phases of this project will provide many opportunities at a local, provincial, regional and national level for organizations to become involved. These opportunities may include participating in Roundtables or attending a national summit.
All Voluntary Organizations Working in Health are encouraged to participate in this project regardless of size or resources.
Risk and Opportunity Assessment: Engaging in the Health Policy Process Tool Now Available
The VOICE in health policy project team is pleased to provide voluntary organizations working in health (VOWHs) with a tool to assess the risks and opportunities in becoming involved in the public policy development process. For more information, click here.
We chose the name VOICE in health policy, Voluntary Organizations Involved in Collaborative Engagement, because it reflects our project in a variety of ways. In the most basic sense, this project is about voluntary organizations working together to build their capacity to affect change in public health policy.
From the project’s inception, voluntary organizations working in health have been involved in the objective and design of VOICE in health policy. Almost every aspect of this initiative involves voluntary organizations being heard and having a “VOICE” about what this project should look like.
The word “VOICE” is also reflective of what this project is about. Being heard and becoming involved in health policy, collaborating with your peers about how to make your message strong; VOICE reflects a sense that organizations can work together to deliver a unified message.
As for “collaborative engagement”, these words were chosen to accurately reflect the process of building policy capacity. Essentially, this is a process of gathering knowledge and building networks (often with other voluntary organizations) to create processes that ensure sound policy development in both the sector and the government.
Engaging the voluntary sector in policy development works to improve the quality of policy and allows our government to tap wider sources of information, perceptions and potential. At a broader level, this process is a sign of good governance within a democratic society.
The entire life of this project involves voluntary organizations working together, involved in collaborative efforts to learn from each other, work on existing policy models and define, apply and sustain policy development processes that result in policy change.