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About the Sector

collage of charitable work
About the nonprofit sector

Canada’s 170,000 nonprofits and charities address many of the country’s most pressing social and environmental issues while also creating employment for millions and contributing to the economy.

At the heart of our communities

From community summer camps to animal shelters and mental health supports, nonprofits are present in your community, helping you and your neighbours thrive. Even if you haven’t directly accessed our programs and services, charities and nonprofits are working on issues you care about such as climate change, long-term care, education, economic and racial inequalities, food insecurity, poverty and homelessness, to name a few.

Our sector is an economic driver; charities and nonprofits contribute $192 billion dollars in economic activity to Canada annually, and account for 8.3% of our country’s GDP. Our sector employs 2.4 million people, which is more than the mining, oil and gas sector, or agriculture, transportation and retail. Women make up the majority of the sector’s workforce. 

Key highlights

  • employs 2.4 million people (1 in 10 Canadian workers)
  • contributes 8.3% of Canada's GDP – an estimated $192 billion
  • women represent 77% of workforce
  • 13 million volunteers give close to 2 billion hours per year


Download the infographic below for more info!

Canada's nonprofit sector in numbers

Everything you need to know about Canada's charities and nonprofits.

Want to learn more about what the charitable and nonprofit sector looks like in your corner of the country?

Click on the provinces and territories below to view the infographics with key data from Statistics Canada 


Sector Research

Since 2009, Imagine Canada’s Sector Monitor survey program has been tracking trends and issues affecting Canadian charities such  as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, social finance, evaluation practices, political activities and earned income.

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