Ontario is proud to present new research that offers valuable insight into the thousands of organizations and agencies that make up Ontario’s not-for-profit sector.

The State of the Sector: Profile of Ontario Not-for-Profit and Charitable Organizations (SOSR) provides a foundation for a better understanding of the core not-for-profit (NFP) sector in Ontario that will allow for further collaboration between the government and the sector, and will help to build a foundation for a future research agenda and research network.

The NFP sector creates jobs and helps attract new investment to Ontario’s communities by providing strong recreational, cultural and social infrastructure. It includes a wide variety of organizations, such as day-care centres, sports clubs, arts organizations, food banks, environmental groups, places of worship, advocates for social justice, business associations, and groups that raise funds to cure diseases.

Volunteerism is essential to the NFP sector. Most NFPs are formally incorporated or registered under specific legislation. All benefit from voluntary contributions of time or money and use any surplus revenues they generate to achieve their goals rather than distributing them as profit or dividends to owners or directors. They are institutionally separate from governments and able to regulate their own activities.

The SOSR focuses on registered not-for-profit and charitable organizations (including those that are both). It excludes universities and colleges, public and Catholic schools and their boards, public libraries and hospitals. Those types of organizations differ substantially from core NFPs in terms of their organizational mandates as well as revenues, sources of government revenue, and staffing levels.

The SOSR analyzes survey responses with a methodology consistent with past research to generate a current statistical picture of the core NFP sector’s size, scope of activities, sources of revenues, staff and volunteer engagement, and top organizational concerns.

While this new data builds a more current statistical profile of the not-for-profit sector, it also sheds light on the degree of diversity within the sector. There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ NFP. They have specialized missions and objectives (Figure 1). Their services and programs comprise a broad range of activities that serve unique communities and groups of people, from young to old, newcomer to locals.

Yet, this research shows together they have much in common that can help guide government, sector leaders and researchers to better understand issues and trends in this important sector. The findings of this research echo those of the National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations (NSNVO) conducted more than a decade earlier:

They share their pursuit of goals to serve the public or their members, as well as an institutional form that does not allow the profits to be distributed to owners or directors. … a majority of participants in this study report having problems in securing adequate funding to fulfill their missions and meet their day-to-day organizational needs. These findings suggest that many NFPs may be struggling to provide the public with all the benefits they have the potential to offer. (Cornerstones of Community: Highlights of the National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations in Canada, 2003)

Cornerstones of Community: Highlights of the National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations in Canada, 2003)

This overview integrates highlights of feedback from SOSR respondents in the core NFP sector, as well as in key subsectors, about their size, structure, goals, concerns and revenues. The subsectors reflect a cross-section of 13 categories of primary activity in the core NFP sector. They correspond with the International Classification of Non-Profit Organizations (INCPO), the international standard system for classifying not-for-profit and charitable organizations, recommended by the United Nations.

The SOSR was conducted in 2013 as part of a commitment made in the 2011 Partnership Project Report to help strengthen the NFP sector. This research marks the first survey in 10 years since the NSNVO in 2003. While it does not provide a comprehensive census of the sector, the SOSR captures data over the three years 2009-2012, a critical window following the 2008 financial crisis and global recession.

The SOSR findings provide a significant starting point for revitalizing research about the NFP sector, valuing its contribution, and discussing the broader research agenda for the sector.

The SOSR also demonstrates progress made on the 2011 Partnership Project recommendations to undertake research on Ontario’s not-for-profit sector.

The detailed survey responses, with individual agency identifiers removed, will be made available, as part of the Ontario government’s commitment to Open Government, to enable interested parties to examine its findings in greater depth.

Research process


The SOSR focused on gathering new data about the size, scope, and state of Ontario’s core NFP sector, including registered charities, incorporated not-for-profits and unincorporated community organizations operating on a not-for-profit basis which are not public or Catholic schools or boards, public libraries, hospitals, universities or colleges.


This research had three goals:

  1. to provide reliable baseline data about Ontario’s core NFP their numbers and geographic distribution, areas of activity, the populations they serve, their economic impact, in terms of revenues, paid staff and volunteer activity, the problems they report about their capacity to fulfill their missions, and how they feel the provincial government could best help the sector.
  2. to help monitor trends, identify current concerns and emerging issues.
  3. to support and promote further research.


The government selected Pollara Strategic Insights, a national public opinion research team, in a competitive process to choose the best research team for this project.

Sample surveyed:

Respondents included more than 3,500 core voluntary organizations operating as a not-for-profit (33%) and/or as a registered charity (65%) in Ontario. They represent a statistically significant sample: approximately 6.4% of the more than 55,000 not-for-profit organizations registered in this province.

Pollara pulled names together, eliminated duplication and verified contact information was current based on four main sources:

  • T3010 Information Returns for registered charities, accurate as of February 2010
  • Contact information provided by grant applicants to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, dating back three years
  • Businesses with Standard Industry Classification codes indicating a Not-for-Profit operation (independently sourced by Pollara)
  • a register of Incorporated Not-for-Profit organizations provided by the Ontario Ministry of Government Services.

Respondents reflect a statistically representative sample of the sector, in terms of primary activities (subsectors) and geographic distribution: Northern Ontario (10%), Southwestern Ontario (22%), Eastern Ontario (21%), Central Ontario (26%), and Toronto (21%).


Pollara researchers conducted preliminary qualitative work, reviewing the relevant literature and reports of available findings in the sector, including the NSNVO, to design a largely quantitative survey conducted by phone and online between October 26, 2012 and February 15, 2013. They also analysed T3010 Information Returns for registered charities for fiscal year 2009—the most recent data Revenue Canada made available for review.

It is important to remember that all research results are estimates, even when based on the most sophisticated statistical calculations from truly random samples.  (For more details about the survey methodology and survey strengths and limitations, see Appendix I.)

Top findings

Responses to the survey reflect some characteristics of the sector as a whole:

  • The core NFP sector is vital to Ontario—It includes over 55,000 organizations which together generate some $67 billion in revenues and serve multiple missions that contribute to communities across Ontario.
  • The core NFP sector is diverse—Responses from large corporately structured charities to ‘kitchen-table’ not-for-profits show they provide a rich range of programs and activities—such as arts and culture, sport and recreation, social services, fundraising, etc.--to different groups of people in communities across the province.
  • The core NFP sector is locally focused—61% of respondents say they serve primarily a local area such as a neighbourhood, city, town, county or rural municipality, while 20% say they operate in a region and 6% provincially. Nonetheless, they clearly serve a spectrum of communities: most say they are active both in urban areas (71%) and rural areas (57%), and more than a third also serve suburban areas (38%).
  • The core NFP sector is resilient— Securing sufficient funds to continue to meet organizational and operational goals is an ongoing concern for most organizations participating in this survey. Three quarters of respondents find it challenging to generate enough revenue to meet their missions and objectives and two-thirds find it challenging to meet their day-to-day needs. Yet data gathered on economic activity in the core NFP sector from 2009-2012 show respondents are relatively resilient and growing modestly in challenging economic times. For two thirds of them, revenue has increased or stayed the same over the three years 2009-2012. Only two in five say they receive government funding. Of those, more than half say it has been stable or increased over the three years 2009-2012.
  • The core NFP sector is resourceful— in delivering wide-ranging services through a mix of volunteers, some supported by paid staff.

    Volunteers are essential: All not-for-profits have volunteers serving on their boards. Only 2% of respondents say they do not engage volunteers in other non-board ways. 40% of organizations participating in this survey say they are completely volunteer-run. Respondents engage about 111 volunteers on average (mean). For half of these organizations, the number of volunteers remained stable from 2009-2012, while nearly a third report an increase over those three years.

    Mix of paid staff: 60% of responding organizations have paid staff. They average 17 employees who may be full- or part-time permanent or contract staff, including seasonal staff. More than two thirds say the number of staff they employ has not changed substantially from 2009-2012.

  • The core NFP sector is enduring—Most organizations surveyed in the SOSR have been operating for more than 20 years. Registered charities tend to have been serving much longer than NFPs on average. Respondents say 29% of non-government revenues come from individual donations, which suggests communities value and continue to support these organizations.
  • Respondents’ top priorities for government are consistent with findings of the Partnership Project Report, and are reflected in current Ontario priorities and initiatives. Most respondents are saying the government should provide more assistance with the funding process (44%). Another 37% want more support for capacity building. Three in ten (31%) want the government to raise awareness and support for the sector as a whole. Another 30% recommend the government strengthen connections, by brokering relationships with the business sector (16%) and encouraging partnerships (14%).

Sector-wide highlights

The SOSR provides a good picture of the core not-for-profit sector in our province. Survey responses give an idea of the numbers of organizations involved and their regional distribution, the areas in which they work, the different populations they serve, the range of services they provide, the financial resources they rely on, their role as employers, and the volunteers they engage. The data also identifies some of the specific challenges they report with respect to their capacity to achieve their missions.

This information will help inform the development of public policy pertaining to our core not-for-profit organizations operating in Ontario, and provides valuable information for future studies of this important sector.

Vital statistics

  • 98% incorporated or registered:

    Most organizations surveyed are incorporated: a third as not-for-profits (33%), and two-thirds as registered charities (27% as both). Only 2% say they are not incorporated in some fashion. Religious organizations are the exception. Only half of those surveyed (55%) say they are incorporated; 27% are not and 18% said they did not know. Respondents range from recent entrants to organizations that have been operating for more than 85 years. Thus, looking at the mean years of operation gives more insight into the age range of organizations in each subsector. Among the youngest are those focused on Law, Advocacy and Politics and on International Activities— the midrange among them for years of operation is 7 and 5 respectively.

  • 61% locally based:

    Almost two-thirds of organizations responding consider themselves local operations, serving either a neighbourhood (11%), or a city, town, county or rural municipality (50%). Seven in ten survey participants operate in urban areas, six in ten in rural areas, and more than a third in suburban areas, which means most also serve adjoining communities.

  • Diversified scope:

    Among respondents, organizations that focus on Social Services (18%), Sports & Recreation (13%), and Religion (20%) are the leading types of not-for-profits in most regions across the province. Upwards of one-in-four participants say they also undertake activities that fall into a second or third category—most often education, social services and/or grant-making. For example, 25% of Health organizations participating in this survey say they also undertake activities in the social services sphere.

  • 90% focused on serving people:

    Respondents say they primarily serve people, chief among them the general public (29%), children and young people (23%), and in equal proportion (15%) adults, families and older Ontarians. A third of those surveyed also serve organizations, which builds sector capacity. As might be expected, more than half of respondents in International and Grant-Making organizations (58% and 62% respectively) say their primary focus is helping other organizations.


  • $67B total revenues: Annual revenues from all sources reported by respondents for fiscal 2012 range widely across Ontario’s core not-for-profit organizations (Figure 2). 3% of participants say they had no revenues; 20% said they earned less than $25,000; 16% indicated revenues were between $100-250K, and 13% were more than $1million. This suggests a sector-wide estimate of some $67 billion in annual revenues in 2012. Over the period 2009-2012, about two thirds of participating organizations reported revenues increased (32%) or remained the same (34%).
  • Multiple revenue streams:

    Most organizations responding report using multiple revenue sources (Figure 3). While responses vary considerably by subsector and region, total revenues reported come from three principal streams:

    Nongovernment revenues of which:

    Donations represent 38%, including individual (29%), foundations (2%), and corporate sponsorships, donations or grants (7%); and

    Earned revenues represent 44%, including payments or fees for products, services and events (28%), followed by membership fees or dues (14%). Fewer identified emerging streams such as social enterprise (2%).

    Government revenues, of which those who receive government funding say half comes from the province and the rest roughly equally from federal and municipal levels of government. 48% of organizations surveyed say they receive no government funding at all, and three in ten say they received less than $25,000 from government sources in the 2012 fiscal year. More than half of respondents say government revenues remained stable (42%) or increased (13%) from 2009-2012.

Human Resources

  • Employment:

    Estimates based on SOSR responses suggest the core not-for-profit sector in Ontario employs paid staff equivalent to almost 300,000 full-time positions. However, a significant 40% of respondents say they have no employees at all. The respondents who have paid staff employ on average 17 staff (10 full-time permanent and 6 full-time contract). Two-thirds of respondents say that number has not changed substantially from 2009-2012

  • Volunteerism:

    All not-for-profits have volunteers serving on their boards, and 87% of respondents say they engage volunteers in other ways than board activities. It is, however, challenging to quantify the number of volunteers involved because they contribute in different ways, over different times, often to more than one organization, and in different subsectors—arts & culture, sports & recreation, social services, etc. For example, respondents say 31% of volunteers contributed at least once a week, and 28% at least once or twice a year.

    Based on responses to this survey, an estimated total of 3.4 million volunteers contributed province wide in the core NFP sector in 2012 outside of serving on NFP boards (Figure 4). One-in-three participating organizations say the number of volunteers they count on has increased in the three years from 2009-2012 – an organizational average now of 111 volunteers, contributing an average of 345 hours each annually, which suggests a sector-wide total contribution of some 8 million hours per year.

Organizational Challenges

Service and stability are, almost by definition, the top goals reported by responding NFP organizations (35% and 32% respectively). Service is the raison d’être of every NFP. For respondents, this outward-facing goal comprises two prongs: Meeting the needs of our communities (19%), and expanding current programs to reach more people (16%). Stability is essential for NFPs to be able to serve, and is more an internal operational goal. For most respondents, the leading impetus is finding more revenue sources (17%).

Funding issues are their top challenges in meeting those goals: Six in ten organizations surveyed identify a funding issue as their greatest challenge, most often citing insufficient operating funds (25%), competition for limited funds (13%) and operating costs (12%) which contribute to a lack of human resources (14%).

  • Three quarters of respondents say it is a struggle to secure enough funding to fulfil their organizational mission and objectives.
  • Two-thirds of respondents find it very (34%) or somewhat (32%) challenging to generate sufficient revenues to meet their immediate day-to-day needs.
  • Concern with respect to meeting immediate needs is highest among respondents in Development & Housing organizations (81%) and lowest among those involved in International Activities (45%).

SOSR & National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations

On the whole, responses to the SOSR remained largely consistent with data reported by Ontario organizations participating in the 2003 National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations (NSNVO).

  • Compared to the NSNVO, similar proportions of organizations responding operate at the local level (60%, down 5 points from 2003), while 20% of participating organizations operate in a region of a province (+2) and 6% operate provincially (no change).
  • SOSR respondents in eight of 13 subsectors reported marginal or no change in share of paid staff from the NSNVO.
  • Funding remains the top-ranked issue for NFPs in Ontario, though SOSR respondents in 9 out of 13 subsectors said they experienced marginal or no change in their share of revenues across the total NFP sector from 2009-2012.

Role for Government

Overall, respondents say the top four ways the provincial government can best help the core NFP sector are to assist with the funding process (44%), support capacity-building (37%), increase public awareness and support for the sector (31%), and build connections (30%) by brokering relationships with the business sector (16%) and encouraging partnerships (14%).

Responses vary by subsector in terms of the options they propose and how they rank them.

Directions for Further Research

The State of the Sector research provides an important update on baseline statistics for the not-for-profit sector in Ontario, as requested by our stakeholders. But we know this is only one piece of the research puzzle and that much more research detail is required to fully understand sector trends and to identify policy priorities. The Ontario government is committed to collaborating in finding ways to fill in the research gaps and to ongoing dialogue in understanding the new knowledge produced.

Preliminary analysis suggests that some important themes for future research include the following:

  • Social financing: While few organizations responding to this survey report using newer funding sources, including social finance and social enterprise, it may be that respondents don’t identify some of their current activities as social finance or social enterprise. Further research could clarify this and document its evolution.
  • Attitudes: More formal, broad attitudinal research into the core sector’s priorities and challenges could complement feedback from  leaders and help the sector learn more about its specific needs, such as staffing gaps and issues affecting future human resource needs.
  • Sector research capability: What research capability does the core NFP sector have? Who is currently conducting or planning to conduct research?
  • Research Advisory Panel:Recognizing communities create new NFPs to respond to emerging social needs, explore forming an ongoing panel of core NFPs and academics researching the sector to review current research, strengthen connections between NFP community and academe, identify emerging issues and insights, help set research priorities and provide ongoing feedback to inform government, sector leaders and researchers.
  • Common Terminology and Metrics:
    • Capacity building: Define the scope of capacity building, and identify and survey benchmarks and best practices for achievement.
    • Public awareness:Establish base metrics for evaluating awareness of the core NFP sector overall and individual subsectors on specific measures, and track changes over targeted timeline.
    • Funding reform: Track changes and evaluate impact over targeted timeline.

Government response

The Ontario government remains committed to strengthening its relationship with the diverse organizations and agencies that make up Ontario’s not-for-profit sector, while recognizing and supporting their valuable contribution to a fair society and strong economy. Strengthening the not-for-profit sector supports the government’s economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow. The comprehensive plan and its six priorities focus on Ontario’s greatest strengths – its people and strategic partnerships.

The core NFP sector’s top priorities for governmentare consistent with findings of the Partnership Project Report, and are reflected in current Ontario priorities and initiatives.

  • For example, most respondents (44%) are saying the government should provide more assistance with the funding process.

    This aligns with the government’s current initiative on funding reform. In June 2012, as part of the Open for Business process, representatives of government and of the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN), representing stakeholders, committed to collaborating on ways to simplify and standardize the transfer payment process with community service organizations.

  • More than a third of respondents (37%) want the government to support capacity building.

    Ontario is building a dedicated online channel through to provide a one-stop-shop for government information of particular interest to not-for-profit organizations.

  • Three in ten respondents (31%) want the government to raise awareness and support for the sector as a whole.

    This is a key aim of the Partnership Project Report (released in 2011, updated in 2013). It is also furthered by Ontario’s Social Enterprise office, opened in 2013 to support new and emerging social ventures. In addition, the government is also working with MaRS to explore social innovation and develop a Solutions Lab where multidisciplinary teams try to solve complex social problems.

  • Building connections is a priority for 30% of SOSR respondents, who recommend the government broker relationships with the business sector (16%) and encourage partnerships (14%). These goals are served by the Partnership Forum, established in 2012, which acts as a venue for discussing issues related to enhancing the relationship between the Ontario government and the NFP sector. The Partnership Forum brings together private, public and not-for-profit sector representatives to provide advice and support to the government.

We are pleased to contribute these baseline statistics to the growing body of research concerning the not-for-profit sector in Ontario. Current information is vital for documenting the sector’s contributions and understanding developing trends. We look forward to continuing a dialogue with sector leaders and interested researchers on the priorities that arise from reviewing this research.

Appendix I


Pollara created a database of organizations from which to sample, using the best available sources. Data was merged and verified from the records of the Ontario Ministry of Government Services, Canada Revenue Agency, Ontario Trillium Foundation and other sources.

For the telephone survey, Pollara employed a loose quota structure based on the proportions of subsectors shown in the 2003 NSNVO Ontario results. This aimed to ensure sufficient representation among the 13 subsectors to analyze and compare results. (Pollara monitored results to see if they diverged from the NSNVO, but did not find they suggested a change in the organizational landscape.)

For the online survey, Pollara reached out by email to every organization in the sample file for which they had a current email address, and by telephone to those for which they only had a telephone number (an approach described as an attempted census). They did not restrict the number of respondents in a given subsector or demographic segment, within the limits of the project’s scope.

The topics covered in the survey questionnaire included:

  • The scope of organizational activities: who or what the organization’s target audience was, in which geographic areas they operated, primary activities of the organization, and organizational classifications (e.g. sub-sector, such as “Environment” or “Health”);
  • The types and amount of revenues: overall revenues, revenues by type (e.g. “Donations” versus “Government revenues”), and an assessment of whether revenues were increasing or decreasing;
  • The human resources of organizations: the number of paid staff and type of staff (part-time, full-time, contract), the number of volunteers (excluding board members) and their average age, annual contribution (in hours), and whether human resources were increasing or decreasing; and,
  • (Online only) An assessment of the priorities and top concerns of NFP and charitable organizations (e.g. top concerns and priorities overall, top priorities for government).

Survey Strengths and Limitations

This research is based on a statistically valid sample rather than a comprehensive census of all NFPs in Ontario. Pollara analyzed and tabulated 3,567 responses: 1,939 telephone responses and 1,628 online responses, yielding an overall response rate of 12% for the phone survey and 16% for the online survey. This rate ensures overall responses can be expected to accurately reflect the opinions of the whole sector to within +/- 1.59 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

Margins of error will be higher the more the data is subdivided. Thus, for example, in a few subsectors, breaking the results down into regions for analysis yields a sample size of less than 30 organizations. In such cases, results can be interpreted only as general trends (directional) rather than measurable variances.

At the government’s request, Pollara extrapolated the data to generalize the survey results to the broader not-for-profit and charitable sector in Ontario and to render province-wide sums or averages. Extrapolations mean that while the data is impartial, current and credible, it should be treated as rough estimates only. Margins of error temper extrapolated totals.

The researchers did not employ a weighting strategy since they lacked current and accurate information about the total landscape for the core NFP sector. Given the NSNVO data was 10 years old, they could not rely on it to accurately describe the current landscape. Yet despite some differences in methodological approach, the SOSR yielded sufficient similarities with the NSNVO across key identifying variables (geography, scope of operations) to allow the results of both surveys to be reviewed, at least side by side.

Appendix II



In the context of this report, this term refers to the total sector, including incorporated and unincorporated not-for-profit organizations, charities, and community organizations.


An incorporated organization has a separate legal personality distinct from its members.


An unincorporated organization or voluntary organization is defined as a group of individuals who voluntary agree to form an association or body to accomplish an objective

Charitable Organizations:

A corporation or trust that is constituted and operated exclusively for charitable purposes, no part of the income of which is payable to, or is otherwise available for, the personal benefit of any proprietor, member, shareholder, trustee or settlor thereof.

Core Sector:

This refers to organizations in the not-for-profit and charitable sector which fall outside the public sector (for example, they are not public schools or boards; public libraries; hospitals, universities or colleges). In this second phase of research the “core sector” comprises the total sample surveyed.


The National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations was conducted in 2003 by a consortium including Imagine Canada, Statistics Canada, and the Canadian Council on Social Development. This national survey sought the responses of organizations similar to this study, but also included public-sector organizations such as hospitals and universities and colleges. The NSNVO also served as the primary framework for the questionnaire used in this study, and accordingly some questions will feature comparison tracking from the 2003 survey.


International Classification of Non-Profit Organizations; the international standard system for classifying not-for-profit and charitable organizations, applied here.


Classification system of organizations based on primary activity, according to ICNPO and NSNVO descriptions.



The midpoint in a range. Differs from an average, which is the arithmetic midpoint in a total.

Trimmed Mean:

An averaging method designed to reduce the effects of statistical outliers. This is done by removing a small percentage of the largest and smallest values among a set of numbers, before calculating the average of those numbers. For this study, average values (mean amounts) were trimmed of values that exceeded or were lower than two Standard Deviations away from the original mean average.


Extrapolations are based on an estimated total number and should be considered rough estimates and treated as the general midpoint of a range based on the applicable group’s margin of error. In this study, extrapolations are based on an estimated total number of Not-for-Profit/Charitable organizations in Ontario, as determined by:

  • Total number of valid sample cases loaded/invited, plus
  • Total number of sample cases with no call/email information, but which appeared in the validated sample file, and were determined to be existing and active Not-for-Profit organizations in the core sector.

Margin of Error:

Refers to the reliability or amount of random sampling error in a survey’s results. Specifically, it is the statistical measure of confidence that a given result occurs within a total population, within a given range, if the research was to be repeated in a similar context and set of circumstances.


When the sample size for a subdivision of a particular subsector is 30 or less, the margin of error rises such that results can be interpreted to suggest the direction of trends, not the specific value or percentage weighting.

Subsector Classification

The SOSR provides data for 13 principal subsectors, defined by their primary activity:

  • Religion—This category represents 20% of SOSR respondents and includes religious congregations, or organizations supporting a religious congregation, but not religiously inspired groups that focus on some other type of activity, such as international development.
  • Social Services—This subsector represents 18% of respondents and includes family and child services such as parenting courses, day-care, and young children programs such as Scouts or the YMCA and YWCA. It also includes emergency and relief organizations, such as volunteer fire-fighters and temporary shelters, but does not include health services, nursing homes, community development and job training.
  • Sports and Recreation (“Sports & Rec”)—These organizations represent 13% of SOSR respondents and includes organizations providing opportunities for sports and recreation, and tourism, and service clubs such as the Rotary, Kinsmen or Lions.
  • Arts and Culture— This subsector represents 13% of sector and includes the visual or performing arts, media and communications, as well as historic or literary societies, museums, zoos, and aquariums.
  • Education and Research (“Education”)—This category represents 8% of SOSR respondents and includes providing formal educational programs or conducting medical and scientific research, but not providing day care or health promotion and wellness education.
  • Grant-making, Fundraising or Promoting Voluntarism (“Grant-making”)—These organizations represent 8% of SOSR respondents and include making grants to other organizations, fund-raising on behalf of other organizations and promoting and supporting volunteering for other organizations.
  • Health—This subsector represents 5% of SOSR respondents in the core NFP sector and includes providing health care, including nursing home care, health promotion and wellness education, but does not include medical research or hospitals.
  • Development and Housing (“Development”)—Representing 4% of respondents in the core NFP sector, these organizations include economic and community development, housing, employment training, vocational counselling, and operating community or neighbourhood organizations.
  • Environment—These organizations represent 3% of SOSR respondents in the core NFP sector and comprise protection and beautification of the natural environment, animal protection and veterinary services.
  • Law, Advocacy and Politics (“Law & Advocacy”)—This category represents 2% of SOSR respondents and includes advocacy on behalf of a specific cause or group, the law or legal services, crime prevention, victim services, offender rehabilitation, and politics. This does not include organizations that are engaged in advocacy as a secondary activity.
  • Business Associations, Professional Associations or Unions (“Business Assoc’ns”)— Representing 2% of SOSR respondents are organizations that operate as a business or professional association or union, including regulating and promoting the interests of specific professions, branches of business, or groups of employees.
  • International activities— Comprising 1% of survey respondents in the core NFP sector, these organizations provide programs or services outside of Canada, such as development, education, housing, infrastructure, or other services delivered outside of Canada; or fostering international relations.
  • Other Organizations— Representing 3% of the core NFP sector, Other organizations comprise respondents that do not fit into the categories above, but which nonetheless operate on a not-for-profit basis and/or operate as a registered charity in Ontario.