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Canada's not-for-profit sector, or non-profit sector, represents around 8.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), with more than two million workers making a living with non-profit organisations. Some of those workers working non-profit jobs in Canada are immigrants.

Sure, many newcomers to Canada dream of making a splash with a big company and watching extra zeros appear in their bank account – and nobody should give up their dream – but, Canada’s non-profit sector is another way to fulfil your ambitions and have a good standard of living, all while making a meaningful social impact.

So, if you’re moving to Canada and considering taking a job with a non-profit institutions or volunteering, there are a few things you should know.

What types of non-profit jobs are there in Canada?

A non-profit organisation, or NPO, is a club, society, or association that’s organized and operated solely for social welfare, civic improvement, pleasure or recreation, or any other purpose except profit.

In 2017, the most significant portion of non-profit activity (73.2%) in Canada came from government non-profit institutions, such as hospitals, some residential care facilities, universities and colleges.

Community non-profit institutions accounted for 16.4% of Canada’s overall non-profit sector. These include organisations 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 accounted for the remaining 10.4% of non-profit jobs in Canada. These include business associations, chambers of commerce, and condominium associations.

Overall, health and education dominate Canada’s non-profit sector.

This slicing and dicing of Canada’s non-profit sector does not include volunteer activities, which, despite their importance, are generally not included in standard macroeconomic measures. If volunteering activities are considered non-profit, it would represent around a quarter of all non-profit GDP.


Read more: Social care jobs in Canada

How much do non-profit workers earn in Canada?

In 2017, the latest year for which we have complete data, average compensation per job was $57,000 in the non-profit sector. This was slightly below average compensation for the entire economy, which was approximately $59,800 (inclusive of non-profit and for-profit jobs).

Employees in the government non-profit sub-sector, the largest sub-sector within the overall non-profit sector, received approximately $63,000 annually, followed by employees in the business ($54,400) and community non-profit ($42,500) sub-sectors.

Which province has the most non-profit jobs in Canada?

You might think that Ontario has the most non-profit jobs in Canada, and you’d be right, but as a share of the overall jobs market it is actually Nova Scotia that has more of its labour market working for non-profit organisations, with the other Maritime provinces of PEI and New Brunswick also above the national average.

So, though Ontario, BC, and Alberta contain some of Canada’s largest cities, these provinces have a lower share of workers working in the non-profit sector. The national average in 2017 was 8.5 percent.

Non-profit jobs in Canada
Source: StatsCan

Volunteering in Canada

We have some great resources on volunteering in Canada elsewhere on our site:

How do I find a non-profit job in Canada?

We highly recommend using Charity Village, a large site for finding non-profit work in Canada.

Go Volunteer is another great resource for volunteer jobs in Canada.

As for more general job-hunting information and advice, start by revamping your resume to meet Canadian employers’ expectations. Then make sure you explore all the other great resources in our employment section.

About the author

Hugo O'Doherty profile picture

Hugo O'Doherty

Canadian Immigration & Integration Specialist
Hugo O’Doherty has over a decade of experience and research in Canadian immigration, establishing him as a recognized authority on immigrant integration and adaptation. His personal and professional experiences with immigration have made him an expert on the practical aspects of successfully moving to and settling in Canada.
Read more about Hugo O'Doherty
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