Policy Priority: Data for effective decision making
Policy priority: Data is needed for effective decision making for and by our sector
A lack of economic, organizational and employment data on the nonprofit sector means that public policy, funding and organizational decision making is done without basic information.
Why it matters
Good policy is informed by strong evidence. The lack of data on the nonprofit sector collected by the federal government hinders the ability of policymakers at all levels of government to make sound policy decisions about our sector. The nonprofit sector itself also lacks comprehensive data on who we are as organizations, critical human resources data on nonprofits and charities, and essential macroeconomic sector data.
Did you know?
There is currently no publicly available list of all nonprofit organizations in Canada, and no comprehensive source of information about how many organizations there are, where they are located, who they serve, or what they do.
The sector lacks critical labour market data on both charities and nonprofits, leading to an inability to conduct labour force planning and understand basic facts related to workforce composition, skills and compensation.
Statistics Canada does not have a mandate to collect data about the nonprofit sector, unlike for many other industries of similar or smaller size.
That Statistics Canada be funded to create a nonprofit advisory committee with a mandate to improve data collection, analysis and release practices related to the sector. This committee must include meaningful representation of organizations from equity-seeking and rural, remote and Northern communities.
That the federal government provide Statistics Canada with a mandate to carry out a follow-up to the 2003 National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations.
That the federal government provide Statistics Canada with a clear mandate for data collection on the nonprofit sector. We further ask that Statistics Canada modify ongoing programs to better highlight the role of the nonprofit sector.
The creation of a Nonprofit Sector Data Lab.
Please see the 2023 pre-budget submission of the Nonprofit Federal Data Working Group for more details.
Federal Data Working Group
In late 2021, we worked with various sector allies to relaunch the Federal Data Working Group, which was active in previous years but went on hiatus during the pandemic. This group focuses on advancing the nonprofit sector's priorities in terms of data collected and shared by the federal government. In 2022, the group will be working to identify challenges and advance opportunities in seven areas: census data, labour market information, measuring diversity on nonprofit boards, the Disaggregated Data Action Plan, the Linked File Environment, the Satellite Account of Nonprofit Institutions and Volunteering,and the Canada Survey of Business Conditions. The group currently includes representatives of 30+ organizations and institutions. If you’re interested in learning more about the Federal Data Working Group, please get in touch at email@example.com.
Federal Data Working Group, 2022
Federal Data Working Group, 2022
Alberta Nonprofit Data Strategy and Statistics Canada, 2022
The Philanthropist, May 2021
Imagine Canada, May 2021
Statistics Canada, April 2021
Imagine Canada, February 2021
Statistics Canada, January 2021
Statistics Canada, 2003
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