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The (Slightly Less) Invisible Sector


March 13, 2019

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The (Slightly Less) Invisible Sector

In a 2018 blog post, I lamented the lack of recent statistics on the charitable and non-profit sector.

It looked like Statistics Canada, which had been collecting new data on the sector every year, had given up some of its good habits. In 2008, that golden age became a thing of the past, and we were left with decade-old figures to gauge the health of our chunk of the economy.

In conditions like these, it’s hard to anticipate the challenges that might potentially work against us. It’s also difficult (although perhaps convenient, for some parties) to demonstrate the value of our sector in terms of its contribution to the Canadian economy, for instance, or in terms of the scope and range of the services we provide. In short, the sector might as well be invisible …

On March 5, however, Statistics Canada published an update on these data for our industry! Finally!

So what do the data show? They confirm that our sector is growing. Ten years down the road, its contribution to our GDP has risen by 1%. The number of jobs at charitable and non-profit organizations has also climbed since 2007.

Interestingly, volunteering would have accounted for more than a fifth of activity in the sector if it had been included in these numbers. Another interesting fact is that the sector’s relative weight in Québec is higher than the national average.

Just a few days later, we learned that another of our long-standing demands had been met: the creation of a designated space in the federal government where issues affecting the sector could be discussed.

In a nutshell, the sector now has its own “home” within the federal government, just like every other important sector of the economy. It was high time!

When you consider that our sector contributes more to the Canadian economy than the retail and automotive industries combined, it becomes clear that there is still a lot to do before the sector’s value is fully recognized, by the general public but especially by our elected representatives.

And the next federal election is, what, six months away?

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Photo: Match Sùmàyà via Unsplash