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Non-profit institutions and volunteering: Economic contribution, first quarter 2021

Released: 2021-06-28

Real gross domestic product rises for third straight quarter

Real gross domestic product (GDP) of non-profit institutions edged up 0.2% in the first quarter of 2021, after rising 2.4% in the third quarter of 2020 and 1.3% in the fourth quarter of 2020. With this increase, the sector recorded its' highest level of GDP ever recorded since the quarterly series began in the first quarter of 2009, as non-profit institutions serving governments continued to increase throughout the pandemic. The growth of the economy-wide GDP (+1.4%) outpaced that of non-profit institutions.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Real gross domestic product, non-profit institutions
Real gross domestic product, non-profit institutions

Excluding non-profit institutions serving governments, GDP declined 1.3% in the first quarter of 2021, following a 7.1% increase in the third quarter of 2020 and a 2.5% increase in the fourth quarter of 2020. Year over year, GDP was down 3.8% compared with the first quarter of 2020, as non-profit institutions serving households and businesses continued to be impacted by in-person restrictions and lockdowns.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Real gross domestic product, non-profit institutions, by subsector
Real gross domestic product, non-profit institutions, by subsector

Non-profit institutions serving governments lead increase

Non-profit institutions serving governments recorded the lone increase of the three subsectors, up 0.7% in the first quarter of 2021, a seventeenth consecutive quarterly increase. Transitioning hospital services to help in combating COVID-19 were behind the growth throughout the past year.

The real GDP of non-profit institutions serving households declined 1.4% in the first quarter of 2021, following a 3.2% increase in the fourth quarter of 2020. Year over year, real GDP was down 2.3%, as in-person services remained either closed or limited in capacity throughout the country.

Non-profit institutions serving businesses recorded a real GDP decline of 1.0% in the first quarter of 2021, following two consecutive increases. The lockdown measures throughout the country significantly impacted this subsector, as many of these businesses were unable to operate in-person at full capacity throughout the duration of the pandemic.

Employment down across subsectors

Employment declined 0.5% in the first quarter of 2021, with fewer jobs in education and research, and culture and recreation. Excluding non-profit institutions serving governments, employment decreased 1.1%, as businesses were mandated to temporarily suspend in-person services throughout the country, following temporary openings in the fourth quarter of 2020 in several provinces. This compares to a 1.0% increase for the overall economy.

Employment in education and research declined 2.0% following a recovery in the third and fourth quarters of 2020. Employment in post-secondary education remained lower than the first quarter of 2020, as education shifted online throughout Canada.

The number of jobs in culture and recreation declined 4.1% in the first quarter of 2021, attributable to mandatory closures impacting the arts, entertainment and recreation. Year over year, employment in the culture and recreation activity was down 7.8% compared to the first quarter of 2020.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Nominal gross domestic product, non-profit institutions, by activity
Nominal gross domestic product, non-profit institutions, by activity

Nominal gross domestic product edges down

Non-profit nominal GDP increased in the first quarter of 2021, up 0.5%, a third consecutive quarterly increase. Activities in health care led the higher GDP levels, up 2.5%, as the pandemic continued to impact Canadians.

For non-profit institutions excluding governments, nominal GDP declined 1.4%, following two consecutive increases. Overall, non-profit institutions represented 8.4% of economy-wide nominal GDP in the first quarter of 2021, down from an 8.7% share in the fourth quarter.

  Note to readers

The non-profit indicators are quarterly indicators for the main aggregates in the Satellite Account of Non-profit Institutions and Volunteering, namely, gross domestic product, output and employment. The estimates from this account are directly comparable to the estimates in the Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts.

For the purposes of these estimates, the definition of the non-profit sector adheres to international standards published in the United Nations Handbook of Satellite Accounts on Non-profit and Related Institutions and Volunteer Work. Canada's overall non-profit sector is divided into three broad categories as follows:

Community non-profits institutions include organizations engaged, for example, in social services, advocacy or sports and recreation. These make up the "non-profit institutions serving households" sector in standard macroeconomic measures.

Business non-profits institutions include, for example, business associations, chambers of commerce and condominium associations. These are classified to the business sector in standard measures.

Government non-profits institutions include hospitals, some residential care facilities, universities and colleges. These are classified to the government sector in standard measures.

Products

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

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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