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Satellite Account of Nonprofit Institutions and Volunteering

October 18, 200518 October 2005

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Developed as part of the Voluntary Sector Initiative, the Satellite Account of Nonprofit Institutions and Volunteering is a new and permanent feature of Canada’s standard economic accounts, providing information on the economic size and scope, revenue sources, expenditures, volunteer activity, and paid labour in the nonprofit sector. Reports based on the Satellite Account will be prepared annually, with the initial report containing data primarily from 1999.

In 1999, the nonprofit sector’s GDP was “more than eleven times that of the motor vehicle manufacturing industry, over four times larger than agriculture, and over twice the value of the mining, oil and gas extraction industry. It is more than 50% larger than Canada’s entire retail trade industry.” The largest share of economic contribution in the nonprofit sector came from hospitals, universities and colleges, which combined for 63% of the sector’s economic activity. The broad culture and recreation sub-sector, including arts, culture, recreation and sports organizations, accounted for about 5.9% of the nonprofit sector’s economic activity by the measure used in this report, which differs substantially from the methodology used to prepare estimates of the culture sector’s economic impact (to be reviewed in a subsequent Arts Research Monitor).

Of all government transfers to the sector, more than 80% “went to hospitals, universities and colleges, with almost 60% going to hospitals alone.” Organizations other than hospitals, universities and colleges were particularly active in generating non-government revenues: 79% of their revenues come from non-government sources.

This report places a value of $14.1 billion on volunteer contributions, which far exceeds the value of donations from households ($5.7 billion) but is significantly less than the $48.9 billion paid in labour compensation. For arts, culture, recreation and sport organizations, the value of volunteer contributions is less than the value of paid labour compensation. Environmental and religious organizations also relied more heavily on volunteers than on paid labour.

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