About the Nonprofit Sector

The work of the nonprofit sector is work our society simply can’t do without. For that reason, the cultivation of a strong and resilient labour force for our sector — one that attracts the best and brightest young people and newcomers, and helps its current members to thrive in their work — is vital.

There is tremendous diversity of both missions and methods in the nonprofit sector; so much so that we sometimes have trouble seeing ourselves as a sector. But when we pull back from the geographic, organizational and program boundaries that separate us, we find that the 1.2 million paid staff who drive our sector are united by a commitment to some of the most important work in our society:

Promoting the health and well-being of all Canadians. Through activities ranging from sports and recreation programs to social services and community-based health initiatives, our sector promotes the mental, physical and social wellbeing of individuals and communities across the country.


Strengthening the fabric of one of the most diverse societies on earth. From immigrant settlement programs and aboriginal friendship centres to youth groups and religious charities, our sector helps people find a sense of identity and belonging in a country where nearly a quarter-million newcomers arrive annually and where one in five residents was born abroad.

Fostering strong communities. In a country of big cities and vast spaces, our sector helps communities of all kinds work. Nonprofits provide essential supports like food banks and shelters; run violence-prevention programs; ensure that people with disabilities can participate fully in communities; and strengthen the connective tissue of our neighbourhoods with hubs like drop-in centres for young parents and community kitchens and gardens.


Promoting innovation to help our society and economy adapt to new realities. Our sector is leading the way on a range of environmental innovations, from sustainable energy ideas and urban design adaptations to food security and carbon-reduction initiatives. Nonprofits are also demonstrating that social innovations can be as transformative as technological advances.


Preparing Canadians to enter and re-enter the labour force. Our sector helps thousands of Canadians transition into the labour force each year, through employment training programs, job-search and employment counselling centres, and accreditation programs for newcomers.