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Imagine Canada

Strong Charities. Strong Communities.

Canada faces looming social deficit of up to $23 billion in 2026

Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Chief Economist for Canada’s Charitable & Nonprofit Sector forecasts unmet social needs, decreased quality of life

Imagine Canada today released Charities, Sustainable Funding and Smart Growth, a discussion paper by Brian Emmett, Chief Economist for Canada’s Charitable and Nonprofit Sector. Through a series of scenarios that project the state of the charitable and nonprofit sector in 2026, Emmett outlines Canada’s looming social deficit. The forecasted social deficit will manifest itself over time in unmet needs, longer waiting lists, reduced social services and the general erosion of the quality of life in Canada.

“The Canada of 10 years from now will deal with substantial challenges unless we undertake major structural reforms in the way we think about the role of charities and nonprofits in the economy,” says Bruce MacDonald, President and CEO of Imagine Canada. “Mr. Emmett’s projections highlight serious implications for Canadians, especially at-risk populations. Social good organizations along with governments and other sectors have an opportunity to work together now to offset and minimize a future social deficit to ensure a healthy and vibrant country.”

Discussed in Charities, Sustainable Funding and Smart Growth:

  • The nature and evolution of the charitable and nonprofit sector
  • Why the charitable and nonprofit sector has grown so rapidly
  • Performance of the economy and how it has supported revenue growth of benefit to the sector
  • State of the sector in 2026 based on eight scenarios considering:
    • the status quo
    • demographic and social changes increase demand on sector services
    • slower economic growth
    • potential government policies to stimulate growth
    • negative consequences of economic growth
    • decline in individual household donations
    • effects of increased regulations on charity revenue sources
    • increasing demands on the sector and lower economic growth
  • How smart growth initiatives (ones that are equitable, inclusive and environmentally responsible) can mitigate a social deficit

To read more, download the discussion paper at imaginecanada.ca/chief-economist

For further reading, see Brian Emmett’s blog post The Social Deficit: How much faster will charities have to run to stay in the same place?

About the Chief Economist

In 2013, Brian Emmett joined Imagine Canada in the unique role of the Chief Economist for Canada’s Charitable and Nonprofit Sector. As Chief Economist, Brian is tasked with measuring the impact of the sector and bringing economic issues facing charities and nonprofits to the forefront of public policy decision makers.

The position of the Chief Economist for Canada’s Charitable and Nonprofit Sector is made possible through funding received by the Bank of Montreal, The Counselling Foundation of Canada, The Muttart Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

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Additional information about the Chief Economist: imaginecanada.ca/chief-economist

Imagine Canada is a national charitable organization whose cause is Canada’s charities. Our three broad goals are to strengthen the sector’s collective voice, create opportunities to connect and learn from each other, and build the sector’s capacity to succeed.

imaginecanada.ca | Twitter: @ImagineCanada | Facebook: facebook.com/ImagineCanada


For further information:

Marnie Grona
Director, Marketing & Communications
416-597-2293, ext. 244

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