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Imagine Canada Accreditation

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New Standards Program for Canada’s Charitable and Nonprofit Sector – National Accreditation Program is one of the first-of-its-kind globally

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 – Imagine Canada launches its new Standards Program today. Designed to strengthen public confidence in the charitable and nonprofit sector, the program is one of the first-of-its-kind globally at a national level. It offers accreditation to charities and nonprofits that can demonstrate excellence in five key areas:

  • board governance;
  • financial accountability and transparency;
  • ethical fundraising;
  • staff management; and,
  • volunteer involvement.

“Now, more than ever before, it is important for charities and nonprofits to keep the hard-earned confidence and trust of the public,” says Marcel Lauzière, President and CEO of Imagine Canada. “An organization that has been accredited through this program has demonstrated that it has put in place the policies, procedures and practices to make it a truly effective organization.”

The program focuses on foundational standards that are relevant for all charities and nonprofits. It does not include program or service standards that many organizations have already developed in areas specific to their work.

Imagine Canada is pleased to announce the first organizations accredited by the new Standards Program:

  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada
  • Daily Bread Food Bank
  • Food Banks Canada
  • Frontier College
  • Frontier College Foundation
  • Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides
  • Niagara Community Foundation
  • Plan Canada
  • Sarnia Lambton Rebound: A Program for Youth
  • SickKids Foundation
  • Tides Canada
  • United Way of Burlington & Greater Hamilton
  • United Way of Winnipeg
  • United Way Toronto
  • Vancouver Foundation
  • Victoria Foundation
  • World Vision

These organizations were part of a pilot group that helped to test and validate the accreditation process. Participants reported numerous benefits of going through the process including the opportunity to update critical policies and compare their procedures against leading practices.

Stronger Charities and Nonprofits

Accreditation is only one part of the Program. The Standards Program is equally designed to be a capacity builder by providing resources and opportunities to provide continuous learning and development for all of our country’s charities and nonprofits.

Marcel Lauzière further notes, “The information about how to comply with the standards as well as the tools and resources to help organizations continue to strengthen their governance practices is available free-of-charge. Our philosophy is one of open access, so that even if an organization does not wish to go through the formal accreditation process, it can still make full use of the program information to improve its practices in these key areas.”

Official Trustmark

Organizations that achieve accreditation will sign a licence agreement allowing them to use the program trustmark for five years. When Canadians see this trustmark on a charity or nonprofit’s website or fundraising and promotional materials, they can be confident that the accredited organization has successfully demonstrated compliance with the standards.

Compliance Process

For accredited organizations, compliance with the standards will be monitored via both spot audits and complaints-based investigations. Accredited organizations will have the right to use the Standards Program trustmark as a symbol that they have achieved accreditation.

Imagine Canada wishes to acknowledge the work of the Standards Council, Peer Review Panel and the many sector volunteers that helped shape the program. Further thanks go to our partner organizations Volunteer Canada and the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector for their contributions to the development of the Standards Program.

The Standards Program is made possible with the financial contributions from founding and presenting sponsor Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life; funded by BMO Financial Group and The Printing House; supported by futureInnovate.net; and, friends KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.). 

Media release provided by Imagine Canada.