News Release

Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector

New Senate committee to consider ways to bolster charitable sector

May 9, 2018

Ottawa – A new special Senate committee plans to examine the growing importance the charitable sector plays in Canadian society and recommend ways to tailor government policies at all levels to help them do their valuable work.

There are approximately 170,000 registered charities and non-profit organizations in Canada. While the size, purpose and activities of these organizations vary greatly, the overall impact of the charitable sector on Canada’s economy and society cannot be ignored.

The Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector was established in January 2018 to examine the impact of federal, provincial, and territorial laws and policies governing charities and their effect on the charitable sector in Canada.

Committee members will study how Canada can improve the regulation of charities and non-profit organizations, and help them overcome challenges that include, among others, funding gaps, staff and volunteer retention challenges and changing demographics and technologies, through innovation and other best practices, among other important themes.

Since the committee was formed, senators have heard from experts on the charitable sector as well as from Canada Revenue Agency and Department of Finance officials who presented overviews of the sector and the policies and laws that regulate it, as well as various challenges that charitable sector currently faces.

As the committee’s study continues, senators will meet with a diverse selection of witnesses, including government officials, professional fundraisers, private-sector philanthropists, sector specialists and employees and volunteers from charities and non-profit organizations from across Canada. The committee is expected to release a report with recommendations at the conclusion of its study.

Quick Facts

  • Canada’s charitable and non-profit sector is the second largest in the world.
  • Governments account for more than 40% of revenues in the charitable sector.
  • More than 24 million Canadians donated to a charity in 2013.
  • Canadian volunteers devoted about 1.96 billion volunteer hours in 2013, the equivalent of 1 million full-time jobs.
  • It is estimated that the charitable sector is the eighth largest employer in this country, employing over 2 million people.  


“Millions of Canadians rely on the countless services charities provide across the country. The more that governments can do to help the charitable sector overcome challenges, the more effective these important organizations can be.”

- Senator Terry Mercer, Chair of the committee

“Canada’s charities and not-for-profits occupy a growing space in Canadian society. We must empower and enable them to better meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

- Senator Ratna Omidvar, Deputy Chair of the committee

Associated Links

  • Follow the committee on social media using the hashtag #CSSB

For more information, please contact:
Sonia Noreau
Public Relations Officer
Senate of Canada
613-614-1180 |