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Non-Profit Organizations and Volunteering Satellite Account: Human Resources Module, 2010 to 2019

Released: 2021-04-30

In 2019, non-profit organizations (NPOs)—serving households, businesses and governments—employed 2.5 million people, representing 12.8% of all jobs in Canada. The employment share ranged between 12.4% and 12.8%, increasing during the 2010-to-2019 period.

While the economic and social landscape of Canada is very different at the time of this release than it was in 2019, these data provide a valuable baseline to better understand the potential impacts of COVID-19 in later reference years.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Number of jobs, non-profit organizations, by province and territory, 2019
Number of jobs, non-profit organizations, by province and territory, 2019

Increasing share of non-profit organization employees in Alberta and British Columbia

Each of the 10 provinces recorded a higher number of employees in NPOs from 2010 to 2019, with the greatest number of jobs being added in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia. While Ontario and Quebec recorded the highest number of jobs added, British Columbia (+19.7%) and Alberta (+19.5%) recorded the greatest relative percentage increases, from 2010 to 2019.

Two-thirds of non-profit employees work in organizations serving governments

In 2019, NPOs serving governments employed nearly two-thirds of total non-profit workers, followed by NPOs serving households, at 26.6%, and NPOs serving businesses, at 8.4%. The shares of each have remained relatively stable throughout the decade, with the shares of NPOs serving households and NPOs serving businesses slightly increasing over time.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Average hourly pay gap between men and women, non-profit organizations, Canada, 2010 to 2019
Average hourly pay gap between men and women, non-profit organizations, Canada, 2010 to 2019

Women hold three-quarters of non-profit jobs as gender pay gap lessens

Women held around 77% of jobs in NPOs in 2019, a relatively stable level since 2010. By sub-sector, women accounted for around 80% of jobs in both NPOs serving governments and NPOs serving households, and close to 60% of jobs in NPOs serving businesses.

Wages grew over time for both women and men, with women recording a higher growth over the past decade, up 20.7% since 2010, compared with men, who gained 11.5% from 2010 to 2019. The gender pay gap between men and women has slowly declined in NPOs, from an average difference of $7.59 an hour in 2010, to $6.14 in 2019. The pay gap in NPOs serving governments accounted for the largest difference in 2019, as men, on average, earned eight dollars more per hour than women.

Rising Indigenous, immigrant and visible minority representation in non-profits

The share of Indigenous employees in NPOs rose from 4.2% in 2010 to 5.1% in 2019, with the majority of the higher share attributable to an increase in Indigenous workers for NPOs serving governments. The number of Indigenous workers employed in NPOs serving governments was up 35.9% in 2019, compared with 2010. Indigenous wages increased 14.9% over the past decade, compared with an 18.0% increase for non-Indigenous employees.

Similar to the trend of Indigenous employees, the share of immigrant employment in NPOs increased since 2010, from 41.8% in 2010 to 47.9% in 2019. Wages have grown at a quicker pace for non-immigrant employees than immigrant employees over the same time period, with non-immigrant hourly wages increasing 18.1%, compared with 16.9% for immigrant workers.

The share of the number of jobs held by individuals who identified as visible minorities was 22.5% in 2010 and expanded to 28.6% in 2019. Hiring of visible minorities in NPOs serving governments has accounted for a significant portion of this increase, as the number of visible minorities employed in this sub-sector rose 46.2% since 2010, compared with a 1.6% increase for non–visible minorities. Growth of wages for non–visible minorities has outpaced wage growth for visible minorities, having increased by 18.6% and 15.7%, respectively. In 2019, wages of visible minorities, on average, were 2.9% higher than those of non–visible minorities for NPOs serving governments, but were 13.8% lower for NPOs serving businesses and 9.4% lower for NPOs serving households.

Majority of non-profit organization workers are college and university graduates

In 2019, 34.4% of NPOs positions were held by individuals with a college degree, a slightly higher share than those held by individuals with a university degree (33.8%). Individuals with a high school diploma represented a lower share than in previous years, with 24.7% of jobs. By comparison, high school graduates represented 25.9% of total employees in 2010.

The wage gap between university graduates and college and high school graduates has widened over the last decade. University graduates earned $8.07 more per hour than college graduates in 2019, compared with $7.21 in 2010. For university graduates compared with high school graduates, the gap has widened from $11.99 an hour in 2010 to $12.88 in 2019.

Higher percentage of workers aged 55 and older

Over time, the composition of the workforce has aged, with workers aged 55 and older representing 22.7% of total workers in NPOs in 2019, compared with 19.5% in 2010. Specifically, the number of workers aged 65 and older rose 80.2% from 2010 to 2019, as seniors contributed significantly to employment growth.

Wages increased for each age group since 2010, with the largest increases for workers aged 35 to 44 (+20.0%) and workers aged 45 to 54 (+18.4%).

  Note to readers

The aim of the Human Resource Module (HRM) is to provide timely and reliable statistics on the human resource dimension of the production of non-profit organizations in Canada.

The Non-Profit Organizations and Volunteering Satellite Account already provides some information on the number of jobs generated by the sector at the national level. The HRM complements and enhances the analytical capacity provided by this product, allowing for a broader insight into the role of non-profit organizations in the economy by providing more detailed human resource information.

The HRM provides annual estimates for the years 2010 to 2019, including provincial and territorial estimates. These estimates are based on data from the Canadian Productivity Accounts, which are a key input to the HRM, and Labour Force Survey data. Census data for 2005 and 2015 as well as data from the 2011 National Household Survey, are also incorporated.

The wages and salaries presented here do not include supplementary labour income and self-employed jobs.

Data tables are accessible on request.


The Economic accounts statistics portal, accessible from the Subjects module of our website, features an up-to-date portrait of national and provincial economies and their structure.

The Latest Developments in the Canadian Economic Accounts (Catalogue number13-605-X) is available.

The User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-606-G) is available.

The Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-607-X) is available.

Contact information

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