A recent report by the Canadian Policy
Research Network, Passion and Commitment Under Stress: Human Resource Issues
in Canada's Non-profit Sector, could be of interest to many literacy
workers. Written by Ron Saunders, the report summarizes the experiences of the
900,000 paid workers in the non-profit sector who make up about 8 per cent of
all employees in Canada.
Workers in non-profit organizations are predominantly (74 per cent) female,
older than the for-profit workforce and more likely to be highly educated.
In many respects, working conditions in
the non-profit sector are above average: the percentage of employees with
access to benefits, flexible work hours and training is higher than in the
for-profit sector. However, there is more temporary work in the non-profit
sector (which means reduced job security), there are more concerns about the
adequacy of training and fewer opportunities for advancement. Managers and
professionals are paid less, especially compared to the quasi-government sector
(schools, hospitals, universities, colleges).
The temporary employment and lower pay
reflect the difficult challenges facing many non-profit organizations:
increased responsibilities with less funding and a shift in the nature of funding
from long-term support for core services to a focus on short-term funding for
Passion and Commitment Under Stress includes several recommendations. One is that funders consider a
mix of long-term financial support and grants. Non-profit organizations, in
turn, should articulate the roles they play and the funding mechanisms required
to sustain those roles. They should also demonstrate the benefits of stable
For more information, contact the
Canadian Policy Research Network. To read the report online, go to www.cprn.org.