Strengthening Ontario’s Social Economy

The resilience of the social economy in Ontario is dependent on a strong foundation. Building a movement, a supportive and enabling policy environment and increasing the capacity of sector actors are essential elements to strengthening the social economy in Ontario.

To meet the demands of this rapidly developing field of practice, organizations and individuals from across Ontario have begun working together on issues of province-wide importance. This work is grounded in the belief that the social economy has the potential to have a considerable, lasting and positive impact on intractable social issues. In order for the sector to fully realize this potential, collaboration is vital.

Organically, collaboration has occurred on an ad-hoc basis, with organizations or individuals coming together around issues of mutual interest. Growing out of this loose collaboration, some networks and organizations have organized more cohesively under the banner of the Ontario Social Economy Roundtable (OSER) to work on provincial landscape-spanning issues in a more coordinated fashion.

OSER aims to be a focal point for social economy stakeholders, who intend to put resources together in order to improve the general quality of life and the well-being of our society as a whole. Based upon the principles of democratic governance, equity, equality, solidarity, inclusion, sustainability and cross-collaboration, OSER is a space for dialogue, exchanges and collaboration to promote the growth of social economy.

OSER, through its actions, aims at achieving the following goals:

  • Be a unified voice for the social economy sector within the Province of Ontario.
  • Facilitate connections among organizations working in the social economy sector.
  • Share common resources to actively heighten the social well-being of communities.
  • Improve understanding of the social economy sector, its needs and its opportunities among Ontarians and among decision makers.
  • Promote the utilization of alternative solutions.
  • Increase financial and other resources available to the social economy sector.
  • Encourage an enabling regulatory environment to facilitate the work of the social economy sector

Ontario Social Economy Charter

On May 15, 2017, at OCE Discovery held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the Ontario Social Economy Roundtable (OSER) launched its official charter.

Download the OSER Charter here

Read the press release here

Connect with OSER

Are you part of a network or organization that has a stake in Ontario’s social economy? If so, join the OSER mailing list to connect with other networks and organizations working to strengthen the sector. OSER is a way to connect – it comes alive through the contributions of stakeholders in the social economy sharing their work and providing their input. We invite you to join the discussion, ask questions and contribute to our work.

More about the Ontario Social Economy Roundtable

The Ontario Social Economy Roundtable was developed out of a need to connect, understand the common interests among social purpose organizations in Ontario, and where appropriate, collaborate actively to strengthen the sector. It is a growing collaboration of independent, connected organizations and individuals working within the social economy sector.

How the group works:

Individual organizations and networks are able to strengthen initiatives by presenting them to OSER for support. Members are able to contribute resources or expertise to the work, thus creating a stronger collective initiative and maximizing impact.

OSER is not representative, nor does it claim a single voice for the sector. Instead, OSER is a way to coordinate multiple voices when interests are shared. For practical purposes, the coordination is handled through the mailing list and facilitated through the Secretariat which includes:

Ontario’s Social Enterprise Strategy 2016-2021 Webinar with Social Enterprise Branch Director Katie Gibson – Q & A

The webinar included a presentation on the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth’s Social Enterprise Strategy 2016-2021, its development and plans moving forward. This was followed by responses to questions submitted ahead of time and finally a period of open questions from participants.

Watch the Webinar Recording here (Recorded on August 3rd, 2016)

Download the Slides here

This OSER event was co-sponsored by the Canadian CED Network and Conseil de la coopération de l’Ontario

Organizations involved in OSER include:

Canadian Centre for Community Renewal / Centre canadien pour le renouveau communautaire

Canadian Community Economic Development Network

Cathy Lang Consulting

Centre for Learning, Social Economy & Work (CLSEW),University of Toronto

Centre for Social Innovation

Community Forward Fund

Community Innovation

Community Opportunity & Innovation Network

Conseil de la coopération de l’Ontario


Georgian College, Centre for Social Entrepreneurship

Huron Business Development Centre

Impact Counsel Professional Corporation

Learning Enrichment Foundation

MaRS Centre for Impact Investing


Niagara Peninsula Homes

Ontario Co-operative Association

Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres

Ontario Network of Skills Training and Employment Programs

Ontario Nonprofit Network

Ottawa Community Loan Fund

PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise

Pathway to Potential

Perth Community Futures Development Corporation

Pillar Nonprofit Network / VERGE Capital

Purpose Capital

Ryerson University School for Social Entrepreneurs Ontario

Social Delta

Social Enterprise Rural Alliance – Community Ventures

Social Enterprise Toronto


Toronto Enterprise Fund

United Way Chatham Kent

WeTech Alliance

Working for Change

Youth Employment Services, Thunder Bay