Satellite Account of Non-profit Institutions and Volunteering
    1997 to 2007

    The scope of the satellite account

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    For the Canadian satellite account, a number of organizations classified to the government sector in national accounts statistics are considered non-profit institutions. These include hospitals, residential care facilities, universities and colleges. All other entities classified to general government in the Canadian system of national accounts (SNA) have been excluded, irrespective of whether they are registered as charities or are designated as legal non-profit institutions.1 This is because these organizations are not considered to have sufficient organizational autonomy to meet the "institutionally separate from government" and "self-governing" criteria of the international definition. An important example is public elementary and secondary schools and school boards, which frequently register as charities but are excluded from the satellite account because they fail to meet these criteria. These organizations are considered to be under the effective control of governments in many respects, for example, in terms of their budgets, curricula and personnel practices.

    The inclusion of Canadian hospitals in the non-profit sector warrants further elaboration. Consultations with stakeholders prior to developing satellite account estimates clearly indicated that hospitals be retained in scope for the sector because they compete for, and receive charitable donations, as well as mobilize significant volunteer resources. They have, therefore, been included despite the fact that they would not be considered to have sufficient autonomy to meet the "institutionally separate from government" and "self-governing" criteria of the international definition. Hospitals are typically large organizations and represent significant financial weight in satellite account estimates, more than one-third of the overall non-profit sector in terms of revenue, and over 40% in terms of gross domestic product (GDP). Throughout this publication, all references to hospitals include residential care facilities.

    Universities and colleges2, are also shown together. These non-profit institutions classified to the government sector are separated from the core segment in the satellite account.

    Estimates are available for (1) the overall non-profit sector including hospitals, universities and colleges and (2) the core non-profit sector. Wherever possible, analysis is presented for the non-profit sector as a whole, and for the core sector.


    1. For more information on entities classified to the public sector, see Guide to the Public Sector of Canada, Catalogue 12-589-XWE, Statistics Canada (2008).
    2. Whether universities and colleges meet the international definition is still a matter of debate.
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