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The relationships between governments and the voluntary sector in Canada are long-standing and complex. Beginning with an historical overview of developments in voluntary sector-government relations from 1600 to 1930, High Ideals and Noble Intentions goes on to explore more recent events and to bring present day policy and practice into focus.

Peter R. Elson examines critical historical events in the relationship between the federal government and the voluntary sector which continue to exert their influence. He demonstrates through in-depth case studies that these events are critical to understanding contemporary voluntary sector-government relations. Elson explores the impact of the regulation of charities based on amendments to the 1930 Income War Tax Act; the shift from citizen-based program funding to service-based contract funding in the mid-1990s; and advocacy regulation changes in the 1980s. Elson's case is strengthened by an important and timely comparison between voluntary sector and central government relations in Canada and England. This historically informed comparative analysis provides the basis for practical recommendations meant to improve the future of voluntary sector-government relations across Canada.

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