The Social Economy Centre (SEC) of the University of Toronto promotes and disseminates multidisciplinary research and policy analysis on issues affecting the social economy.

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TorontotheBetter serves the excluded (aka marginalized)

 In an online survey, 65% of responding Toronto the Better businesses report they provide services targeted to the marginalized, in whole or in part, and 38% of these earn a substantial (30%+) part of their income from such services.

Social Enterprises: Significant Employment Creator and Economic Generator

 New research shows that social enterprises, businesses operated by non-profit organizations for the dual purpose of generating income and creating a social, environmental, and cultural value, are significant contributors to both employment creation and economic generators.

The report, Strength, Size, Scope: A Survey of Social Enterprises in Alberta and British Columbia profiles data from 140 of 295 social enterprises in both provinces gathered in the spring and summer of 2010. These social enterprises are engaged in a wide variety of social, cultural, environmental and revenue raising market activities.

Of the total of 4,500 employees, 60 percent or 2,700 employees were members of a designated target group such as persons with a mental or physical handicap or a member of a marginalized population. In addition, the social enterprises that responded to the survey engaged 6,780 full- and part-time volunteers and 27,870 people as members. These social enterprises were responsible for training 11,670 people and providing services to an additional 678,000 people.

The sale of goods and services in the market generated $78 million in revenue across the two provinces and an aggregate net profit of $7.9 million, in the 2009 financial year.  Like other nonprofit organizations, social enterprises solicit non-market funds from a variety of funders, including foundations, government and individual donors.

New Book Published Based on Southern Ontario Social Economy Node Research


Edited by Laurie Mook, Jack Quarter, and Sherida Ryan

While the term ‘social economy’ is used widely in Western Europe and Quebec, it has had minimal currency in English Canada, where the differences between the public and private sectors and among nonprofits, co-operatives, social enterprises, and community economic development organizations have been emphasized.  Researching the Social Economy addresses these limitations by presenting a collection of original essays on the burgeoning bodies of research on the social economy across Canada. 

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