Imagine Canada

Strong Charities. Strong Communities.

Sector-wide Data Strategy

We know that the charitable and nonprofit sector is a vital part of our economy, one that contributes to inclusive growth and innovation. Currently we don’t have up-to-date data to accurately describe the extent of the sector’s contribution.

What is sector-wide data?

Sector-wide data is any information that pertains to the collective health and make-up of the entire charitable and nonprofit sector. This includes data about the size, scope, financing, and human resources. of the sector. The sector uses this information to better understand its their contribution to Canadian society and as well as to advocate for a better operating environment. In turn, government uses this information to craft public policy that affects the sector.

Why is sector-wide data important?

Charities and nonprofits make enormous economic and social contributions to Canada. They employ more than two million people in every community across the country and harness the energy, talent, and commitment of some 13 million volunteers every year. The sector represents $106 billion or 8.1% of the GDP, which is larger than the automotive or manufacturing industries, and is growing faster than the overall economy.

Or at least we think so. This information is more than a decade old (and it’s the best we have!).

What if we were making policy decisions about the automotive sector using data from before the 2008 economic crisis!? Right now we can determine how many eggs are produced or how many asphalt roofing tiles are manufactured each month, but we know very little about the economic contributions of charities in Canada.

Despite the size and importance of the nonprofit sector, we know little about it as a whole.

This means that policy decisions are being made with limited understanding of their impacts on a large and vibrant part of Canada’s social fabric and economy.

How can policy makers, regulators, charities and nonprofits, and communities make good decisions without current data?

While we know that the charitable and nonprofit sector is a vital part of our economy, one that contributes to inclusive growth and innovation, we don’t have the current data to accurately describe the extent of the sector’s contribution. This means that policy decisions are being made with limited understanding of their impacts on a large and vibrant part of Canada’s social fabric and economy.’

Imagine making policy decisions about the automotive sector using data from before the 2008 economic crisis! We can determine how many eggs are produced each month or how many asphalt roofing tiles are manufactured, but despite the size and importance of the nonprofit sector, we know little about it as a whole.

Statistics Canada has historically collected data about the charitable and nonprofit sector, but. Now, much of this data is no longer collected. The data products that were previously produced include:

How can policy makers, regulators, charities and nonprofits, and communities make good decisions without current data? Imagine making policy decisions about the automotive sector using data from before the 2008 economic crisis! We can determine how many eggs are produced each month or how many asphalt roofing tiles are manufactured, but despite the size and importance of the nonprofit sector, we know little about it as a whole.

Imagine Canada has convened a working group of leaders in the charitable and nonprofit sector with the mandate of improving the availability and accessibility of data about sector.

Get involved! Learn more the Data Working Group.

Our National Partners

  • great west life
  • Lawson Foundation
  • Muttart Foundation
  • RBC Foundation
  • Suncor
  • TD Bank
  • investors group

Learn more about our National Partners and other supporters.

Charitable Registration Number: 119218790 RR0001