Satellite account of non-profit institutions and volunteering

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1997 to 2008 (Previous release)

Gross domestic product (GDP) in the core non-profit sector grew 6.0% to $35.4 billion in 2008. This accounted for 2.4% of Canada's GDP in 2008, up from 2.3% in 2007, a share that has remained stable since 2002.

The rate of growth in the core non-profit sector was faster than the 5.2% increase in GDP for the nation as a whole. In addition, GDP for hospitals, universities and colleges increased 8.8%. However, all sectors recorded slower growth in 2008 compared with 2007.

Growth of gross domestic product

Economic output for the non-profit sector as a whole reached $106.4 billion in 2008, accounting for 7.1% of the nation's economic activity.

Since 1997, when the data series began, hospitals, universities and colleges have accounted for the bulk of economic activity in the non-profit sector. In 2008, their GDP totalled $71.0 billion.

During this 12-year period, hospitals, universities and colleges represented an average of 66.2% of total GDP in the non-profit sector. Non-profit institutions serving households accounted for 21.2% on average, while non-profit institutions classified in the corporate sector accounted for 12.6%.

Income expands in the core non-profit sector

The core non-profit sector received $80.0 billion in revenues in 2008, either earned from market activity or received as transfers from governments, businesses or households.

Core non-profit institutions rely on diverse sources of revenue, whereas hospitals, universities and colleges receive the majority of their revenue (74%) from government transfers. Sales of goods and services are, by far, the most important source of revenue for the core non-profit group.

In 2008, sales of goods and services accounted for 45% of total income of the core non-profit group. Government transfers were also significant at 21%.

Other important sources of revenue in 2008 for the core non-profit sector were membership fees (17.1%) and donations from households (11.2%). When combined, these two additional sources accounted for over one-quarter of the revenue of the core non-profit sector.

Note to readers

For the purposes of the satellite account of non-profit institutions and volunteering, the overall non-profit sector is split into two groups. The first consists of a group of organizations, known as the "core non-profit sector". This group includes non-profit organizations providing goods and services to households as well as non-profit organizations classified in the corporate sector. They operate in many fields, ranging from religious organizations and social service providers to sports clubs, and business and professional associations.

The second group consists of health and education organizations classified in the government sector in the Canadian System of National Accounts. These are hospitals (including residential care facilities), universities and colleges. These four types of organizations account for the bulk of non-profit economic activity.

Together, the "core non-profit sector" and hospitals, universities and colleges represent the overall non-profit sector.

Separate estimates are available for the overall non-profit sector and the core non-profit sector.

Gross domestic product is shown by primary area of industrial activity according to the International Classification of Non-profit Organizations.

Transfers from households include revised data on charitable donations from the Canada Revenue Agency.

Estimates are presented in nominal terms. All growth rates are calculated using nominal (current) values, that is, not adjusted for inflation.

Investment income (3.6%) and donations from businesses (2.1%) made up the remaining sources of revenue in 2008.

Revenue distribution by source: Core non-profit sector

Income in the core non-profit sector rose 4.7% in 2008, compared with a 6.5% increase in 2007. The slowing in growth in 2008 stemmed from a decline in donations from households, principally charitable donations.

In 2008, donations from households to the core non-profit sector declined 2.6%, after averaging 11% growth in the previous four years. Furthermore, investment income fell 20.5%, after five years of consecutive increases.

Nevertheless, all other sources of income increased in 2008.

Total outlays of the core non-profit sector increased 7.5% to $70.1 billion in 2008. Expenditures on current goods and services increased 8.1%, up from 4.6% in 2007. Wages and salaries and supplementary labour income, the largest expenditure category, rose 5.8% in 2008.

As growth in outlays outpaced income growth, saving in the core non-profit sector decreased by $1.3 billion to $9.8 billion in 2008.

Social services organizations and development and housing have the largest shares of core non-profit sector GDP

Social services organizations accounted for 21.4% of core non-profit GDP in 2008, followed by development and housing activities (17.3%). Culture and recreation and education and research combined made up another 20.8%.

Organizations in social services, development and housing, culture and recreation, education and research, religion, and business and professional groups together made up more than three quarters of core non-profit economic activity in each of the 12 years.

However, the share of philanthropic services, social services, and development and housing rose between 1997 and 2008, while the share of religion, other health, business and professional associations, and culture and recreation declined.

Available on CANSIM: tables 388-0001 and 388-0002.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 1901.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact the information officer (613-951-3640;, Income and Expenditure Accounts Division.