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4 things you might not know about Canada’s nonprofit sector

DH Vancouver Staff Nov 02, 2015 6:30 am

Did you know that Canada has the second largest nonprofit sector in the world?

Yes, gone are the days when we were only recognised for our hockey-loving, cold-baring, “aboot” saying, apologetic citizens. Instead, Canada has made its mark on the global stage as a charitable, innovative leader in the global nonprofit community.

To celebrate our country’s growing reputation as a leader in the field, here are four things you might not know about Canada’s nonprofit sector:

It’s big business

The Canadian nonprofit sector represents over 8% of our GDP (about $106 billion dollars). More than 2 million people are also employed by organizations within the nonprofit sector, a number that’s grown steadily since the end of the Second World War.

It’s the biggest in North America

Canada’s nonprofit sector outpaces the United States, and is quickly gaining on both our automotive and manufacturing industries.

B.C. is leading the way

In 2015, according to a report from the Globe and Mail, five of Canada’s top ten nonprofit organizations were located in BC. The list includes the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Fraser Health Authority, BC Provincial Health Services Authority, the University of British Columbia, and Vancouver Island Health Authority.

Canada is on board

Statistics Canada estimates there are over 161,000 charitable and non-for-profit organizations across the country, and that 50% of Canadians contribute their time to volunteer. In fact, in 2013, Canada racked up an impressive 9 billion volunteer hours; that’s the equivalent of 1 million full-time jobs.


Would you like to know more about Canada’s nonprofit sector? Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is helping students to enter the growing field with the innovative certificate in nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations. The program includes courses in marketing, professional communication, business fundamentals, and financial accounting. More information about the program is available here, or by emailing ngostudies[at]



DH Vancouver Staff
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