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Satellite Account of Nonprofit Institutions and Volunteering

October 21, 200821 October 2008

Economic impact / Government funding

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The full report is available at:

Statistics Canada’s Satellite Account of Nonprofit Institutions and Volunteering provides information on the economic size and scope of the non-profit sector. Overall, the non-profit sector’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $83 billion in 2004, or about 7% of Canada’s total GDP. (The measure of economic activity in this report differs substantially from the methodology used in estimates of the cultural sector’s economic impact. There are many differences, including the fact that for-profit cultural industries are obviously excluded from the non-profit sector estimates. In addition, no estimates of indirect or induced impacts are provided.)

The largest share of the non-profit sector’s economic activity comes from hospitals, universities and colleges, which combine for 65% of the sector’s GDP ($54 billion). The economic activity in the “core” non-profit sector (excluding hospitals, universities and colleges) was $30 billion, or 2.5% of Canada’s GDP. “This was almost three times the contribution of the motor vehicle manufacturing industry, 50% more than the agriculture industry, and about the same as the accommodation and food services industry.”

Of all government transfers to the non-profit sector, more than 80% went to hospitals, universities and colleges. Organizations other than hospitals, universities and colleges were particularly active in generating non-government revenues: 80% of their revenues come from non-government sources.

The broad culture and recreation sub-sector, including arts, culture, recreation and sports organizations, accounts for 6.7% of total revenues in the non-profit sector. Volunteer hours in arts, culture, recreation and sport organizations represent 64% of total work in these organizations (much higher than the overall average of 20% for the non-profit sector). The replacement cost value of volunteer work in arts, culture, recreation and sport organizations is estimated at $3.6 billion. Organizations involved in law, advocacy and politics, the environment and religion also rely more heavily on volunteers than on paid labour.

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