Canada’s non-profit sector adds nearly $170 billion to economy

Volunteer activities would have added a further $41.8 billion to the economy: StatsCan

Economic activity in the non-profit sector totalled $169.2 billion in 2017, representing 8.5 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product, according to Statistics Canada.

Community non-profit institutions accounted for 16.4 per cent of the overall sector, while business non-profit institutions accounted for 10.4 per cent. The most significant portion of non-profit activity (73.2 per cent) came from government non-profit institutions, such as hospitals and universities, said the federal agency.

“If included, volunteer activities – which are important for the non-profit sector but not included in standard macroeconomic measures – would have added a further $41.8 billion to the economy in 2013 (the most recent year of available data), representing 22.3 per cent of non-profit GDP that year,” said StatsCan.

It said real gross domestic product in the non-profit sector was up 1.0 per cent in 2017, following a 1.8 per cent increase in 2016. By comparison, real GDP for the total economy grew three per cent in 2017.

The increase in 2017 was attributable to government non-profit institutions, which grew 1.9 per cent. In contrast, community and business non-profit institutions declined 1.3 per cent, added the federal agency.

“Employment in the total non-profit sector increased by 1.1 per cent in 2017 on the strength of government (+1.9 per cent) and business (+1.5 per cent) non-profit institutions. Employment in community non-profit institutions (-1.0 per cent) declined by approximately 6,000 jobs in 2017,” said Statistics Canada.

“Average compensation per job was $57,000 in the non-profit sector in 2017. Employees in the government non-profit subsector received approximately $63,000, followed by employees in the business ($54,400) and community non-profit ($42,500) subsectors. By way of comparison, average compensation for the entire economy was approximately $59,800 in 2017.”

The economic contribution of the non-profit sector varied by province and territory. In 2017, the non-profit sector accounted for 12.3 per cent of the economy of Nova Scotia, well above the national average of 8.5 per cent and the highest share of any province or territory. Alberta’s non-profit sector contributed 6.8 per cent of the province’s economy.

Mario Toneguzzi is a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary. He writes for Calgary’s Business.

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