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The Shifting Demand for Social Services

with particular reference to the charitable sector

February 16, 2010

Ray Pennings

Spirited Citizenship

Research Report

Every day Canadians rely on an extensive infrastructure provided by the charitable and not-for-profit sector to deliver the sorts of everyday social services often taken for granted.

In October 2009, a study by Cardus entitled A Canadian Culture of Generosity pondered the implications of Canada’s impending “social deficit”: how our institutions are going to suffer from the steady decline in charitable giving, volunteering and civic engagement. The study showed how a relatively small proportion of the population—dubbed the “civic core”—provides the vast majority of the needed resources in the charitable sector. A major concern is that this civic core is declining by 1-2% per year, raising obvious concerns regarding what this social infrastructure will look like a decade from now.

This paper, The Shifting Demand for Social Services, has crunched the numbers from StatsCan to identify the segments of our population most at risk in the growing gap. While the data is complex and not given to simple summary, the conclusion is clear. Demographics, immigration, and urbanization will combine to put upward pressure on what is expected from charitable organizations.

Download this research in PDF form by clicking here.