SERNNoCa Research Report Series

The objective of the SERNNoCa Research Report Series is to publish useful new primary research findings related to the social economy in Northern Canada. The series is peer-reviewed and the evaluation of the manuscripts will be based on:

  1. General quality of the presentation
  2. Originality of the research being described
  3. Relevance to the objectives of SERNNoCa
  4. Quality of the research

For complete details see the guidelines for research reports and the evaluation form at: Guidelines and Evaluation form

Coming soon - new research report: "Social Capital an the Social Economy in the Canadian North: A Preliminary Analysis" by Danielle McLean, Chris Southcott and Jianye Liu. Currently under review - to be posted when completed.

Research Reports

Research Report RR#1 - 2010

The Social Economy and Nunavut: Barriers and Opportunities

Chris Southcott, Valoree Walker, Jennifer Wilman, Carrie Spavor, Karen MacKenzie

Executive Summary

Nunavut and the rest of the Canada's North has undergone tremendous social, cultural, and economic change over the past 60 years. Northern communities have gone through processes of development quite different from most other communities in Canada. These processes have resulted in many unique challenges. These challenges now require new approaches that serve to assist these communities ensure healthier and sustainable futures.

One of these new approaches is that of the social economy. It is an approach which seeks to empower communities by developing social capital and human capital capacity through assisting non-profit, voluntary, and co-operative organizations work more effectively in the interests of their communities. This report is part of an initial evaluation of the potential of the social economy to assist Northern communities deal with changes these communities are experiencing. Before a proper evaluation starts we need to first find out what the current state of these organizations are. What are the current conditions of the social economy in Northern Canada? Are there particularities that make the social economy approach to economic and social development more or less viable in Northern communities?

This report is an initial attempt to provide a portrait of the social economy in Nunavut and to outline the barriers and opportunities. It starts with a brief introduction to the social economy research project that is currently underway in the region and the key unique aspects of the social economy in the north that is guiding this research.

This is followed by an analysis of the 2003 nation-wide survey of non-profit and voluntary organization. This survey showed that there are more social economy organizations in the Canadian North than in other regions of Canada. Other research, commissioned by the Nunavut Economic Forum, on non-profits in Nunvavut showed that these organizations are facing funding and human resource difficulties.

Finally the report outlines initial results from an on-going census of social economy organizations currently being administered by SERNNoCa researchers. This survey, undertaken during 2008, has confirmed the findings of these earlier studies and given us a better understanding of some of the characteristics of these organizations. When compared to the other Northern territories Nunavut has a much higher percentage of social economy organizations engaged in activities that elsewhere are provided by profit-oriented private sector organizations.  Social economy organizations in Nunavut tend to be younger then those elsewhere in Canada. Nunavut has a much smaller percentage of organizations that are legally registered as charitable organizations. Membership numbers for social economy organization show healthy growth with a relatively high level of activity although fewer of these organizations use volunteers than in the other territories.


Research Report RR#2 - 2011

Yellowknife's Voluntary and Nonprofit Sector: A Portrait of a Northern Social Economy

Jerald Sabin

This research report makes three overlapping arguments.

  1. Yellowknife's voluntary and nonprofit sector is part of a larger social economy. It contributes to the NWT's social and economic health, and promotes a robust democracy and civil society.
  2. Yellowknife's voluntary and nonprofit sector must have a coordinated and cohesive voice to promote and secure good public policy, and overcome current challenges. The sector's challenges stem from economic recession, government cutbacks, and ever-increasing needs for programs and services.
  3.  Federal, territorial, and municipal governments need to renew their commitment to the voluntary and nonprofit sector. For example, the GNWT must honour its promises under the Declaration on Volunteering and the NWT Voluntary Support Initiative. All levels of government must recognize that a strong, well resourced social economy is a catalyst for economic recovery and ongoing economic health.

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