uwcore logo

[Report] National Insights into Non-profit Organizations, Canadian Survey on Business Conditions, 2023

resource image

Released: 2024-03-20

See full resource here

Canada's non-profit sector encompasses a wide array of organizations, contributing to areas such as social welfare, community development and advocacy. This sector is an essential component of the Canadian economy and bridges service gaps by facilitating access to housing, health care and education along with a variety of other goods and services. Overall, non-profit institutions in 2022 contributed $216.5 billion in economic activity, equivalent to 8.2% of the gross domestic product.

During the first quarter of 2024, the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions dedicated a special module to non-profit organizations, including community, business, and government non-profit organizations. The results highlight the profound impact that non-profit organizations have on Canadians' lives as well as the ongoing significance of these organizations as vital players in a diverse society and a dynamic economy.

Composition of boards of non-profit organizations

Diversity within non-profit boards broadens perspectives, experiences, and expertise, strengthening the ability of non-profit organizations to make impactful decisions, advance initiatives for civic improvement, social welfare and public benefit. Almost all (92.6%) organizations have boards of directors.

In 2023, less than half of board of director positions in non-profit organizations were filled by women (47.3%). Organizations related to social services (70.4%) and environment (56.0%) had the greatest proportion of positions filled by women. Conversely, organizations related to business and professional associations and unions (36.4%) had the lowest proportion of positions filled by women on their board of directors, followed by organizations related to religion (37.1%).

Around one-tenth (9.8%) of all board of director positions are filled by members of racialized groups. This varied by type of organization, as it was higher for religious organizations (15.7%), followed by business and professional associations and unions (13.1%). Organizations with the lowest proportion of members of racialized groups filling board of director positions were related to environment (2.9%), followed by organizations related to development and housing (4.7%).

Among all non-profit organizations, more than two-fifths primarily serve the general public

Non-profit organizations seek to meet the needs of and provide services to a wide range of diverse groups. In 2023, the general public (42.1%) made up the largest percentage of the groups that non-profits primarily serve, followed by children and youth (14.2%), religious or spiritual groups (9.1%), people in particular occupations and union groups (4.7%).

Other population groups were the primary focus of a lower proportion of non-profit organizations, but still received services from a significant number of them. Low-income households or individuals in this group, for example, were primarily targeted by 3.4% of non-profit organizations but received services from 26.8% of all non-profit organizations.

  • By

    Statistics Canada

  • Published

    Apr 04, 2024

  • Subject Area
    • Age-friendly Communities
    • Funding Development
    • Non-profit / Charitable sector
    • Seniors’ Planning & Action Tables/Committees
    • Organizational Development
    • Volunteer Management
  • Audience
    • Academics
    • Funders
    • Government (Politicians, Policy Makers) and Health Authorities
    • Service Providers (Non-profits, Community Organizations, Local government)
    • Caregivers, Seniors & Volunteers
    • Government
    • Health Authorities
  • Category
    • Organizational development
    • Leadership & Development
    • Fundraising, Sponsorship, & Other Sources of Income
    • Research & Reports
    • Research & Evidence


Sign up for the Healthy Aging CORE Alberta e-news to keep up-to-date with activity from the platform and the Community-Based Seniors Services (CBSS) sector across the province.

Learn More
First Name *
Last Name *
E-mail *
Organization *