Canada’s non-profit sector has passed the vital $100 billion mark – measuring the overall contribution to GDP. The full non-profit sector (including hospitals and universities) amount to 7% of the overall economy. The latest numbers from Statistics Canada confirm that non-profits play a vital role in our country’s economy, in addition to providing critical services to people and strengthening communities. The non-profit sector is ten times larger in the Canadian economy than motor vehicle manufacturing, and bigger than retail trade or the mining/oil/gas extraction sectors. Within the overall non-profit sector, the social services, health and housing components alone make an $18 billion contribution to the GDP.
Other major findings from the latest StatsCanada info:
- most of the non-profit sector’s economic activity is poured into paid work – $86.9 billion in 2007.
- earned income is the single biggest source of revenues for non-profits (other than hospitals and universities), accounting for almost half of all revenues. Grants from governments adds up to less than 20% of non-profit income.
New this year, StatsCanada has started to track the portion of the non-profit sector that serves individuals (the portion of the non-profit sector that is also of vital interest to the Wellesley Institute in our social innovation practice). This adds up to $22.1 billion in 2007 – or about 22% of the overall non-profit sector. Statisticians call these “non-profit institutions serving households” – or NPISH – and this includes social services, housing, health, education, culture and religious non-profits that provide supports and services to people and neighbourhoods. This part of the non-profit sector employs 488,000 paid workers. NPISH rely on earned income for 38% of their revenues, followed by 24% from government grants, and 21% from donations.
The Wellesley Institute is working with our partners to strengthen the non-profit sector in its vital role of delivering supports and services to people – work that is even more important after the recession washed over Canada. Our research and policy work, including We Can’t Afford to do Business This Way, has confirmed that non-profits are facing big financial and administrative burdens that are hindering their ability to deliver effective and efficient services. Non-profits are continuing to pioneer new and innovative ways to work together – including innovative collaborations and co-locations – but our research and policy work shows that collaborations hold promise, but need to be carefully supported.