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Volunteers in Arts and Culture Organizations in Canada (November 2003)

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November 25, 200325 November 2003

This report shows that 351,000 Canadians 15 years of age or older volunteered for arts and culture organizations in Canada in 2000. This figure represents 5.4% of all volunteers in Canada and 1.4% of the Canadian population 15 years of age or older. The 351,000 arts and culture volunteers in 2000 represent a 22% increase over the estimated 288,000 volunteers in 1987. However, the 2000 figure is a 22% decrease from the high of 452,000 arts and culture volunteers estimated based on a 1997 survey.

Canadians who volunteered with arts and culture organizations provided about 51.9 million volunteer hours in 2000 – a 43% increase from 1987. The 51.9 million volunteer hours is equivalent to about 27,000 full-time, full-year jobs (at 40 hours per week and 48 weeks per year). Using the average hourly wage in Canadian arts, entertainment and recreation industries in September 2000 ($13.24), this volunteer contribution can be valued at $690 million.

Clearly, Canadian arts and culture organizations rely on volunteers to fulfill many roles. Without volunteer support, many arts and culture organizations would be unable to achieve their mandates. The report finds that the sustainability of this volunteer workforce may be in question, due to the relatively high time commitment involved in arts and culture volunteer positions and the aging of arts and culture volunteers. The report raises questions regarding the possibility of volunteer burnout.

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