An overview of the development of social enterprise within the context of the Social Economy and a summary of key supports for social enterprise in the province

Understanding the Social Economy

What is the Social Economy?

Canada’s economy is made up of three distinct, yet overlapping, spheres: the private sector, the public sector including all levels of government, and civil society organizations.7 The latter grouping, alternatively called the charitable, nonprofit, community benefit, or voluntary sector, has been increasingly referred to as the ‘social economy’.

There is no overarching consensus on what comprises the social economy in Canada; the movement is in development and the language reflects this. The relevant description as it relates to this report describes the social economy as comprised of “cooperatives, nonprofit societies, civil society associations, credit unions, and social enterprises that are working to combine social objectives with economic ones”.8 This highlights that the social economy contains for-profit and nonprofit organizations, which seek to incorporate both economic and social values in their work.9

At the national level, the term social economy became officially recognized in 2004 during a Speech from the Throne.10 Shortly thereafter, Prime Minister Paul Martin stated in an address, “we intend to make the social economy a key part of Canada’s social policy toolkit”, a phrase that would be used repeatedly by Martin and his Cabinet over the following months of his short-lived government.11

This Venn diagram explains the social economy in Ontario, Canada. Public Sector [PUS.], Private sector [PVS], and Civil Society Organizations [CSO] are the three main circles. Public Sector nonprofits are where PUS and CSO overlap. Social Economy Businesses are where PVS and CSO overlap. Community Economic Development are where all three sections overlap. The social economy is found within Public sector Nonprofits, CSO, Community Economic Development, and Social Economy Businesses.
Understanding the Social Economy Diagram. Adapted from “An Interactive View of the
Social Economy,” by Jack Quarter and Laurie Mook, 2010, ANSERJ Canadian Journal of
Nonprofit and Social Economy Research, vol. 1, no. 1. Quarter and Mook 2010.
The attention toward and recognition of the social economy was followed by an influx of funding from the federal government. The 2004 federal budget speech drew attention to the importance of supporting the development of Canada’s social economy by announcing $132 million in funding over five years across the country.12 While the government was not able to make good on the full amount of this commitment before losing the 2006 election, the $15 million earmarked for research resulted in the birth of the Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships (CSERP) projects.13 The CSERP projects take a collaborative approach and have engaged social economy researchers and practitioners across the country.14 The CSERP initiative has led to a rich body of research outputs including a collection of almost 400 research reports, published journal articles, conference presentations, slide show presentations, fact sheets, student theses, and popular press media articles produced from 2005-2011.15

The relationship between Ontario’s provincial government and the social economy is complex in nature. The provincial government is strongly tied to Ontario’s social economy through a variety of networks, collaborations, partnerships, and programming and funding arrangements.16 Despite the interconnected nature of Ontario’s government and the social economy, currently no overarching framework agreement or structure exists to guide this relationship.17 In the absence of an appropriate framework, several important initiatives over the past few years have begun to address these issues.18

A Brief History of Ontario’s Social Economy

To understand social enterprise in Ontario it is important to draw attention to the broader context and historical influences on the province’s social economy. While the social enterprise sector is included in this sphere, the social economy also encompasses cooperatives, nonprofit societies, civil society associations, credit unions, and other organizations that have helped to forge an environment that is supportive of current social enterprises.

Labour Movements:

500,000 Lost days. Between 1994-2005, social economy organizations engaged in 196 work stoppages, losing a total of almost 500,000 person days over issues such as wages, conditions of service, quality of client care, and safety concerns.[21]Unions and civil society organizations are in part responsible for laying the groundwork for the environment that has enabled social enterprise development. Historically, labour movements in Ontario have played an important role in advocating for equitable employment conditions including better wages and hours of work, appropriate compensation for overtime hours, and safe working environments. Unions and civil society organizations have been active in the province since the beginning of the 19th century.19

While most of these early examples of unionism have dissolved, many of the original aims of labour movements remain today. Ontario’s workers have played an important role in advocating for an equitable society through actions such as collective bargaining, strikes, and pressure for legislative action. Their actions have led to many significant breakthroughs in the province.20


Cooperatives are a mechanism for people to help themselves and take new forms of responsibility. This is created through governance models that shift the balance of power within an organization. In Ontario, people have been participating in co-ops for over 140 years, with over 1,300 co-ops, credit unions, and caisses populaires in the province, and nearly 1.4 million members.22

Many Ontarians are able to meet their housing, childcare, and healthcare needs through nonprofit co-ops. These social and community enterprises focus on meeting basic needs in a democratic and cost effective ways. The social enterprise movement and the co-operative sector have very complimentary missions. Co-ops keep dollars circulating within the local economy, provide secure employment, and aim to revitalize and sustain healthy communities.23

Credit Unions:

Credit unions apply cooperative principles to banking and have historically played an important role in providing access to capital for social economy organizations. As a financial intermediary, credit unions offer the same services as traditional financial institutions such as mobilizing savings, managing risk, evaluating projects, and enabling transactions.24 Credit unions offer financing options that cater to the diverse needs of nonprofit and cooperative organizations, which are often excluded from traditional financing institutions.25/26 Credit unions have been an integral financial and community building resource, especially in rural areas in Ontario.

Social Enterprise as a Component of the Social Economy

The term social enterprise is relatively new, having only emerged within the last two decades.28 As it continues to gain prominence, the term represents a changing philosophy that seeks to merge traditional business frameworks with social objectives. While social enterprise places emphasis on social value creation through marketplace endeavors, there remains great variation in the degree to which social enterprises are market-driven, client-driven, self-sufficient, commercial, and business like.29 Across the globe, there are multiple streams of political and economic discourse related to social enterprise. None, however, have resulted in a unanimous definition of the concept.

The emergence of the social enterprise movement has been accompanied by a reconceptualization of the traditional frameworks under which the for-profit and nonprofit sectors operate. Many nonprofit organizations are engaging in revenue generating activities that also incorporate social benefits and have done so for many years; challenging the conception of traditional market players. While this phenomenon is not new, the terminology and mobilization around the concept has experienced a recent surge in interest in Ontario and beyond. This has led to a tremendous growth in the number of nonprofits who see ownership or operation of a social enterprise as an effective mechanism to enhance organizational capacity and meet client needs.

Importance of the Nonprofit Sector

Nonprofit organizations are fundamental in tackling the challenges and needs facing diverse and distinct communities across the country. Nonprofits exist with a variety of focus areas ranging from “environment, arts and culture, sports and recreation, newcomer settlement, housing, social services, community development, education research, faith groups, and more”.30 While often addressing the needs of some of Canada’s most vulnerable populations, the nonprofit sector affects the well-being and livelihood of all Canadians.

The nonprofit sector plays an integral role in promoting economic growth, job creation, social service, and program delivery, policy advocacy, public engagement, and innovative solutions for the problems facing communities across the country. Canada has the second largest nonprofit sector globally. In 2007, the gross domestic product of the core nonprofit sector amounted to $35.6 billion, accounting for 2.5 percent of Canada’s total economy.31/32 While the nonprofit sector has considerable impact at the national level, it is also incredibly significant at the provincial level in Ontario. There are currently over 46,000 nonprofits and registered charities in Ontario and the sector represents 7.1 percent of Ontario’s gross domestic product.33

Challenges and Trends in the Nonprofit Sector

The nonprofit sector has become an increasingly vital part of Canada’s economy and a crucial instrument for program and service delivery. Along with this growing role, however, the sector is facing many challenges. In 2009, the nonprofit sector was responsible for delivering over three billion dollars in federal programming at the local, national, and international level.34 Yet findings from the 2012 Sector Monitor highlight that despite increasing demand for nonprofit products and services in 2011 and 2012, about half of charity leaders believe that current economic conditions are making it difficult to carry out their missions.35/36

The nonprofit sector has traditionally relied on three main sources of revenue: government funding, philanthropic donations, and earned income. In recent years, government and philanthropic contributions have become progressively unstable, reflecting an eroding support landscape. During the period of 1994-2007, “of the three sources of revenue, the only source that has grown as a percentage of total sector revenue is earned income.”37 This growth in earned income may also be explained by the uptake of social enterprise as a revenue stream for charities and nonprofit organizations.

6 million working in the nonprofit industry with graphic of multiple stick figure people, intended to represent the many people employed within the nonprofit sector.
The nonprofit sector mobilizes over 5 million provincial volunteers and over 1 million Ontarians are employed. 33

The growth in social enterprise is arguably a direct result of the financial pressure created through the decline from the two other sources of revenue and the increased burden placed on the nonprofit sector to deliver services traditionally delivered by government. In Ontario, this changing trend coincides with the economic crisis of the 1990s; a balancing of the federal budget that included massive spending cuts and similar spending cuts at the provincial level through the Common Sense Revolution. In response to reduced transfers from the federal government and rising social costs, “provincial governments reduced payments to local governments and many social organizations, while encouraging them to assume greater responsibilities for services.”38

Rather than reversing the trend, subsequent governments have tended to continue it.39 Former Prime Minister Paul Martin, perhaps the biggest political proponent for social enterprise in recent Canadian history, made it clear in a speech in 2007 as part of the Munk Centre’s Distinguished Speakers series that the wave of the future for social innovation is not through government funding but through the private sector. Martin speaks to a large supply of capital available to be invested in projects with both a financial and social return, provided that the right incentives are in place, further stating that, “What we have to do, is make it possible for social entrepreneurs to tap capital markets the same way their business counterparts can.”40

Supports for Social Enterprise in Ontario

Government Support for Social Enterprise in Ontario

The following section will draw attention to provincial governmental engagement within Ontario’s social economy, particularly in relation to social enterprise supports.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), as a grant-making agency of the provincial government, has for over a decade been the primary vehicle for government related support of social enterprise. OTF has provided substantial financial support to organizations developing and growing social enterprises in all areas of Ontario as well as to several of the province-wide projects described in the community supports section below.

Historically, outside of OTF, little government funding has been specifically designated to supporting social enterprise and researchers have been clear that this has held back the growth of the sector.41 The Ontario government has been criticized in the past for lacking a proper “on-going high-level political or policy relationship” with the voluntary, or nonprofit, sector.42 Significant steps have been taken recently to address policy issues related to social enterprise that will hopefully create an action oriented relationship between the sector and the Ontario government.

On December 4, 2008 the provincial government announced Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. The Strategy made several significant commitments to enhance the opportunity and impact of social enterprise in Ontario, including examining the feasibility of a Social Venture Exchange (SVX) and a Community Interest Company (CIC) model based on experiences in the United Kingdom. The strategy also promised investment in a Social Venture Capital Fund, a Sustainable Procurement Strategy, and a website to profile social businesses. These latter three initiatives have yet to be developed but may have the potential to help enable social enterprise growth in the province.

In 2010, the Ontario government responded to issues raised by the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) by rolling out the Partnership Project in order to strengthen the relationship between the Ontario government and the Supports for Social Enterprise in Ontario nonprofit sector. The project report recognized the need to invest in social innovation by supporting social enterprise and social finance development. It recommended that Ontario “work with the Government of Canada and Canadian financial institutions to address regulatory and legal barriers to social innovation, and make a range of social financing tools available to Ontario’s not-for-profit sector.”43

Another notable contribution to the social enterprise environment in Ontario is the government’s ongoing initiative to modernize the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA), Bill 65. Following ONN’s active involvement in the process, this act will now specifically recognize a nonprofit corporation’s right to earn revenues to support its mission.44 While the modernization of the ONCA reflects a step in the right direction, jurisdictional issues continue to present challenges for social enterprise development.

The Social Innovation Summit in May 2011, organized by MaRS in partnership with three Ontario ministries, reflects another step towards the creation of a robust and adaptive social enterprise policy environment. The summit created an innovative open policy development process and contributed to the drafting of Ontario’s Social Innovation Policy Paper in October 2012.45 These policy directions have the potential to create significant beneficial impacts for the sector, particularly if they continue to be co-produced through a truly inclusive community-based process.

In 2012, the government created a Special Advisor, Social Enterprise position, and an Office for Social Enterprise within the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation (now called the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade, and Employment), supported by the Open for Business and Policy and Strategy Divisions of the Ontario Government, to assist in building capacity and understanding of social enterprise.46 The Office for Social Enterprise is designed to provide a unified perspective on social enterprise for the government, to leverage existing capacity to respond to the needs of social entrepreneurs and to look at the potential role of government to begin to address any gaps that exist.47

The province’s funding climate for social enterprise has in the past been described as “a game of snakes and ladders” creating undue challenges for the sector.48 While steps towards relevant policy changes have been made, much remains to be done. A “formal horizontal coordination of current policy work”49 is a significant prerequisite to enable social enterprise in Ontario.

Ontario’s Special Advisor recently stated that governments need to work with communities to create “an integrated, co-ordinated and collaborative social enterprise strategy that supports innovative organisations”.50 This view is aligned with the approaches recommended by community-based social enterprise networks and sets a positive direction for the future of social enterprise development.

Community Support for Social Enterprise in Ontario

Ontario has a wealth of community organizations and networks working to build the capacity of nonprofit social enterprises. Supports provided by these organizations include information, resources, advice, mentorship, training, networking, research and/or financial assistance. This section cannot present an all-encompassing review of the community supports available for social enterprise in Ontario. Rather, it highlights some that have been significant in building the movement and advancing the sector.

Many of the organizations committed to social enterprise development have been working together through the Ontario Social Economy Roundtable (OSER), established in 2008 and now a constellation of ONN.51 OSER is a group of independent and connected anglophone and francophone organizations and networks interested in working to strengthen the social economy sector by providing a vehicle for collaboration, information sharing, education, and coordinated work.52

Two notable initiatives in Ontario’s rural communities are the Rural Social Enterprise Constellation (RSEC) project and the Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs). RSEC, created in 2012 under the stewardship of ONN, with funding from OTF, builds on important work to grow the social enterprise field that has developed over several years in rural regions.53 RSEC is providing support in the areas of capacity building, mentorship, as well as community and regional social enterprise development. The federally funded CFDCs and their Ontario Association of CFDCs have been pivotal for 25 years in the provision of programs and services to support community economic development and small business growth, some of which has supported the development of social enterprise in rural communities.

Initiated in 2012, LIAISOn (Linking Infrastructure And Investment for Ontario), is designed to work collaboratively with OSER to bring together information and resources for social enterprise development in Ontario. Led by the Canadian CED Network’s Ontario office (CCEDNet-Ontario), this OTF funded project conducted the 2012 Social Enterprise Survey (the basis of this report) to profile the nonprofit social enterprise sector.54

The Ontario Co-operative Association (On Co-op) and le Conseil de la Coopération de l’Ontario (CCO), along with their national counterparts, have provided extensive support to co-operative development in the province for over 100 years. Nonprofit social enterprises that incorporate as co-operatives are usually eligible for co-op development support.

In addition to province-wide organizations and networks, there are several organizations whose work primarily focuses at the local or regional levels. In Ottawa, the Centre for Innovation and Social Enterprise Development (CISED) has brought several agencies together to help individuals and organizations at every stage of their social enterprise development. In London, Pillar Nonprofit Network has a Social Enterprise Program that works with other local partners to provide similar supports. In some communities there are single agencies that operate as centres for social enterprise activity in the broader area, such as the Community Opportunity and Innovation Network (COIN) in Peterborough and PARO Centre For Women’s Enterprise in northwestern Ontario.

The Toronto Enterprise Fund (TEF), a program of the United Way, has a 10-year history of providing financial and development supports to Toronto based social enterprises that hire or train people facing barriers to employment. The United Way of Greater Toronto has also more recently taken on enp-Toronto. Originally started in Vancouver, Enterprising Non-Profits (enp) provides matching grants to nonprofit organizations that are exploring the development of social enterprises. This organization now has a national reach with programs in five provinces.

Social Enterprise Toronto (SET), formerly known as SPEN Toronto, is a local network focusing on social enterprises operating with an employment and training mandate. SET has been working since 2006 to provide a voice and strategies to managers of social enterprise in the GTA, with the overall aim to help support the growth of social enterprise in the city.

SiG@MaRS, as part of the Social Innovation Generation collaborative, is national in scope and has had a major impact on social enterprise in Ontario through policy advocacy with government and funding reports such as the Strategic Enquiry into Social Enterprise and the feasibility study that led to the creation of the School for Social Entrepreneurs. Through the Centre for Impact Investing, SiG@MaRS provides resources related to entrepreneurship to compliment their focus on social finance.

Shared space and community hubs are unique models that support social innovation and social enterprise, in both the for-profit and nonprofit space within Ontario. The Toronto-based Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) founded in 2004, now has three local hubs, acting as a strong leader and disseminator of knowledge in this field. London, Kitchener, and Ottawa have launched similar hubs, while centres are also being developed in Peterborough and Thunder Bay.

Beyond the area of direct support, organizations with a strong policy focus are working to create an enabling environment for social enterprise, individually or collaboratively through organizations like OSER and ONN. Policy focused organizations like the Caledon Institute of Social Policy and the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation also include social enterprise in their broader purview.

University-based business schools are increasingly including social enterprise in their thinking. Several university-based centres in Ontario have also had a significant impact on social enterprise. For 10 years, until 2007, Carleton Centre for Community Innovation (3Ci) ran the Community Economic Development Technical Assistance Program (CEDTAP) National in scope, this bilingual program served all of Canada, providing grants to over 400 nonprofit organizations to help them develop social enterprises in disadvantaged communities. 3Ci now focuses on knowledge mobilization, particularly around social finance.

The Social Economy Centre (SEC) of the University of Toronto was established in 2005 as a unit of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). The Social Economy Centre is engaged in research and policy analysis related to issues in the social economy, helping to foster academic and community-based partnerships.

Launched in 2012, the School for Social Entrepreneurs – Ontario (SSE-O) nurtures community-based social entrepreneurs by providing action-based and practical self-directed learning. SSE-O is affiliated with an international network of SSE schools located across the UK and Australia.55 SSE-O contributes to transformational social change and more equitable economic prosperity by helping people of all ages, educational backgrounds, and walks of life launch a non-profit, cooperative, ethical business, or social venture to benefit their community.

Social enterprise has increasingly become a significant tool to create wealth and support the vitality of Ontario’s Francophone communities. Organizations such as CCO and Canadian Centre for Community Renewal (CCCR) have mandates to support social enterprise development. Many capacity building initiatives, like the Development Wheel and the PopUp Labs, have trained hundreds of francophones interested in socioeconomic development. CCO is leading the creation of a new partnership with CCRC, the youth-based Fédération de la jeunessefranco-ontarienne (FESFO), Association francophone des municipalités de l’Ontario (AFMO), Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO), and Le Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité – Ontario (RDÉE), to promote and support business succession planning with social enterprise.

Given the summative nature of this overview, many of the community organizations supporting social enterprise development at the local level have not been mentioned here. There are also a number of individual consultants that are essential players in the network of support for social enterprise. All together, these organizations, each with differing and complimentary mandates, reflect a rich and vibrant landscape of community support for social enterprise in Ontario. Despite the number of organizations involved, the demand for resource support at all levels is increasing as community needs and the interest in social enterprise continue to grow.


  1. Some respondents were unable to provide an estimate of the Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) positions in their organization. In calculating Estimated FTEs, if the respondent provided an FTE count, this was accepted. Otherwise an estimate based on 1 FTE per full-time employee, 0.5 per part-time employee and 0.25 per seasonal employee was calculated. Missing data were represented as zero in the database for this calculation.
  2. Alberta and British Columbia have recently completed their second round of the Social Enterprise Study.
  3. Of the Social Enterprise Studies conducted across Canada to date, Ontario and New Brunswick are the only provinces to have distributed their questionnaires in French and English. Best efforts were made on the part of the research team to include French-speaking organizations. This resulted in a population of 128 confirmed Francophone social enterprises, of which 38 responded and were included in the final data analysis.
  4. While a significant number of farmers markets were eliminated due to municipal ownership and operation, many were also discovered to have no incorporation status, which subsequently voided them from the study.
  5. One responded on behalf of 2, two had 3, one had 4, two had 9, and one had 21.
  6. Although it may be misrepresentative to speak of social enterprises exclusively in terms of profitability, we used this calculation as one of the key metrics for capturing the size and scope of the sector.
  7. Sarah Amyot, Rupert Downing, and Crystal Tremblay, Public Policy for the Social Economy: Building a People-centred Economy in Canada, Public Policy Paper Series no. 3 (Victoria: Canadian Social Economy Hub at the University of Victoria, 2010): 9.
  8. Marilyn Struthers. “Of Starlings and Social Change: Funding the Nonprofit Sector in Canada,” The Philanthropist 24, no. 1 (2012): 266-267.
  9. Sarah Amyot, Rupert Downing, and Crystal Tremblay, Public Policy for the Social Economy: Building a People-centred Economy in Canada, Public Policy Paper Series no. 3 (Victoria: Canadian Social Economy Hub at the University of Victoria, 2010): 9.
  10. Sean Markey, Stacey Corriveau, Michael Cody, and Brendan Bonfield, Social Enterprise Legal Structure: Options and Prospects for a ‘Made in Canada’ Solution (British Columbia: SFU Centre for Sustainable Community Development with the BC Centre for Social Enterprise, 2011): 7.
  11. Yves Vaillancourt and Luc Theriault, Social economy, social policy, and federalism in Canada, Occasional Paper Series no. 4 (Victoria: Canadian Social Economy Hub at the University of Victoria. Occasional Paper Series, 2008):21.
  12. Ibid, 22.
  13. Matthew Thompson and Joy Emmanuel, Assembling Understandings: Findings from the Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships, 2005-2011” (Canada: University of Victoria, 2012), 8.
  14. In Southern Ontario, CSERP research was coordinated through University of Toronto’s Social Economy Centre, while northern Ontario research, although linked with the Prairie provinces research hub, was centred at Algoma University’s Community Economic and Social Development Department (CESD) and their NORDIK Institute.
  15. Matthew Thompson and Joy Emmanuel, Assembling Understandings: Findings from the Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships, 2005-2011 (Canada: University of Victoria, 2012), 8.
  16. Kathy L. Brock and Cheryl Bullpit, Encouraging the Social Economy through Public Policy: The Relationship between the Ontario Government and Social Economy Organizations, Paper Series Canadian Political Science Association (Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan, 2007): 9-11.
  17. Please refer to section 4.6 and 4.7 of this report for a discussion on community and government based supports related to Ontario’s social economy and social enterprise sector.
  18. Eugene A. Forsey, The Canadian Labour Movement 1812-1902, The Canadian Historical Association Booklets, no.27 (Ottawa: The Canadian Historical Association,1974): 3.
  19. Ibid, 16-17.
  20. Kunle Akingbola, Labour Relations in the Social Economy: Key Trends, Social Economy Research Alliance Fact Sheet no. 26 (Toronto: Southern Ontario Social Economy Research Alliance, 2009): 2.
  21. “Coops in Ontario”, Ontario Co-operative Association, accessed February 20, 2013,
  22. “What is a Co-op?”, Ontario Co-operative Association, accessed February 20, 2013,
  23. Karim Harji and Tessa Hebb, The Quest for Blended Value Returns: Investor Perspectives on Social Finance in Canada (Ottawa: Carleton Centre for Community Innovation, 2009): 7.
  24. Fortunate Mavenga, Economic Impact of Credit Unions on Rural Communities, Linking, Learning, Leveraging Social Enterprises, Knowledgable Economies, and Sustainable Communities (Saskatchewan: The Northern Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan Regional Node of the Social Economy Suite, 2010): 2.
  25. Ontario’s first credit union was established in 1908.
  26. “Canadian Credit Unions”, Bob Leshchyshen, Analysis of Canada’s Largest Credit Unions: Financial Results, Accessed March 19, 2013,
  27. Freya Kristensen, Stewart Perry, and Sean Markey, Credit Unions and the Social Economy: Being Competitive and Building Capacity, prepared on behalf of the BC-Alberta Social Economy Research Alliance (British Columbia: Canadian Centre for Community Renewal, 2010): 4.
  28. Raymond Dart. “The Legitimacy of Social Enterprise”. Nonprofit Management and Leadership 14, no. 4 (2004): 414.
  29. Ontario Nonprofit Network, The Ontario Nonprofit Network’s Recommendations to the Jobs and Prosperity Council (ONN, 2012): 1-2.
  30. The core nonprofit sector excludes colleges, hospitals, and universities.
  31. Cynthia Haggar-Guenette, Malika Hamdad, Denise Laronde-Jones, Tasmin Pan, and Mingyu Yu, Satellite Account of Non-profit Institutions and Volunteering (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2009): 9.
  32. Ontario Nonprofit Network, The Ontario Nonprofit Network’s Recommendations to the Jobs and Prosperity Council (ONN, 2012): 1-2.
  33. Elizabeth Mulholland, Matthew Mendelsohn, and Negin Shamshiri, Strengthening the Third Pillar of the Canadian Union: An Intergovernmental Agenda for Canada’s Charities and Non-Profits (Toronto: Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation, 2011): 3.
  34. David Lasby and Cathy Barr. “Imagine Canada’s Sector Monitor,” Sector Monitor 3, no. 1(2012): 4.
  35. 36 This tension was recently identified in their 2012 study, Sector Monitor, in which, David Lasby and Cathy Barr surveyed 2,194 charity leaders across Canada to gauge the state of the nonprofit sector. Their study examined the experience of carrying out organizational missions, operating conditions, and predictions for the future.
  36. Lynne Eakin and Heather Graham, Canada’s non-profit maze: A scan of legislation and regulation impacting revenue generation in the non-profit sector (Wellesley Institute, 2009):8.
  37. Kathy L. Brock, Public Policy and the Nonprofit Sector – New Paths, Continuing Challenges (Strategy Mix and Labour-Market Integration. A. Zimmer and C. Stecker. Munster, Germany, Centre for Active Citizenship, 2002): 2.
  38. Hugh McKenzie, Completing the job started by Mike Harris (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, March 27, 2012).
  39. Paul Martin, Unleashing the Power of Social Enterprise (The Philanthropist, Volume 21, No. 3, 2008): 239.
  40. Peter R. Elson, Andres Gouldsborough, and Robert Jones, Building Capital, Building Community: A comparative analysis of access to capital for social enterprises and nonprofits in Ontario and Quebec (Toronto: University of Toronto Social Economy Centre, 2009): 11-12.
  41. Government of Ontario, The Partnership Project: An Ontario Government Strategy to Create a Stronger Partnership with the Not-for Profit Sector (Government of Ontario, 2011): 32.
  42. The proclamation of the ONCA has been delayed until January 2014.
  43. The paper highlights a number of innovative strategies to address challenges in funding, measuring outcomes, and the regulatory environment that relate to social enterprise.
  44. Appointed to the position of Special Advisor, Social Enterprise is Helen Burstyn is former Co-Chair and Executive Lead of The Partnership Project, former Chair of the Ontario Trillium Foundation and a Co-Founder and Director of The Pecaut Centre for Social Impact.
  45. Ryan Lock (Director of Social Enterprise), interview by Joanna Flatt, February 2013.
  46. Peter R. Elson, Andres Gouldsborough, and Robert Jones, Building Capital, Building Community: A comparative analysis of access to capital for social enterprises and nonprofits in Ontario and Quebec (Toronto: University of Toronto Social Economy Centre, 2009): 17.
  47. Mulholland Consulting, Social Enterprise: Ontario Strategic Inquiry, prepared for and funded by SiG@MaRs (Toronto: Mulholland Consulting, 2008): 11.
  48. Helen Burstyn, “Lessons from Ontario: How government can help social enterprise,’ The Guardian, April 10 2013,
  49. A constellation is an activity based group of organizations that have chosen to work together on a particular issue (for more information see
  50. In addition to supporting a range of province-wide and regional consultations and educational events, OSER has produced four social finance policy papers on tax incentives for social enterprise, Infrastructure Ontario’s eligibility criteria, community bonds, and RRSP eligibility for social enterprise tax credits and community bonds. One of the outcomes of SER has been increased collaboration in support of social enterprise. An example of this work is the series of Social Innovation PopUp Labs currently being offered across the province. The Rural Ontario Institute (ROI), the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal (CCCR), ONN, and CSI have collaborated to provide workshops designed to help nonprofits respond to the changing needs of their communities through social innovation and social enterprise.
  51. This initial project of RSEC is designed to connect, support, and grow social enterprise work in rural Ontario, with a focus on four regions: Huron-Perth, Greater Simcoe County, Peterborough-Kawarthas-Durham, and Thunder Bay region.
  52. LIAISOn is currently working to develop several online resources including a database and marketplace of Ontario social enterprises, and a ‘Window on Social Enterprise’ – a tool that organizations can put on their own websites to link to a compendium of accessible resources and viable social enterprise models.
  53. “Ontario: About SSE-O”, The School for Social Enrepreneurs, accessed February 15, 2013,