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Satellite Account of Nonprofit Institutions and Volunteering (2005)

July 16, 200916 July 2009

Volunteers, donors and non-profit resources

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Statistics Canada’s Satellite Account of Nonprofit Institutions and Volunteering provides information on the economic size and scope of the non-profit sector in 2005. Overall, the non-profit sector’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $87 billion in 2005, or 6.8% of Canada’s total GDP. The non-profit sector “exceeded the value added of the entire retail trade industry, and came close to the value added of the mining, oil and gas extraction industry”. The largest share of the non-profit sector’s economic activity comes from hospitals, universities and colleges, which combine for 64% of the sector’s GDP ($56 billion).

The economic activity in the “core” non-profit sector (which excludes hospitals, universities and colleges) was $31 billion, or 2.4% of Canada’s GDP. The report notes that “the core non-profit sector generated slightly more value added than the entire accommodation and food services industry, more than twice that of agriculture, and generated more than three times as much value added as the motor vehicle manufacturing industry.”

The broad culture and recreation sub-sector, including arts, culture, recreation and sports organizations, generated $3.6 billion in value added, or 4.1% of the GDP of the overall non-profit sector. (Readers should be aware that the measure of economic activity in this report differs substantially from the methodologies used in other estimates of the cultural sector’s economic impact.)

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. Other types of organizations that rely more heavily on volunteers than on paid labour include those involved in law, advocacy and politics, the environment, religion, as well as international development, relief and human rights. The replacement cost value of volunteer work in arts, culture, recreation and sport organizations is estimated at $3.6 billion.

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