Last August 9, Imagine Canada, a national organization whose mission is to promote Canada’s charitable sector, appealed to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development for better data for this significant sector of the Canadian economy.
In a letter co-signed by more than 160 organizations and figures from the plural sector, Imagine Canada stated that:
“Canada’s 167,000 charities and nonprofits employ more than two million people in communities across the country and contribute more than 8% to the national GDP. That is more than both the automotive and retail sectors. However, comprehensive data about the sector is more than a decade old. This means the Government of Canada is making policy decisions about the sector using data generated before the 2008 economic crisis.”
Previously, organizations could count on Statistics Canada as a “trusted source for timely, accurate, and relevant data,” both to guide their actions (in fighting poverty, promoting inclusion and education, and so on) and to represent the “size, scope, health and well-being of the charitable and nonprofit sector.” However, the agency has since ended this recurring component of its statistical information collection program.
The signatories believe that it would be unacceptable in any other industry for important economic decisions to be made on the basis of 10-year-old data. In light of the sector’s importance for the Canadian economy and Canadians’ quality of life, they ask the government to give Statistics Canada the resources it needs to resume this necessary component of their program.
“We are asking you to take action to ensure that statistical information about the charitable and nonprofit sector is prioritized and funded by the Government of Canada and that it becomes a regular and permanent part of Statistic Canada’s data program.”