Decent Work

Decent Work

Decent work in our sector

In Ontario, the nonprofit sector consists of over 55,000 organizations, employs 1 million people, and engages millions of volunteers. The decisions that individual nonprofit organizations make about employment have a dramatic and immediate impact on the labour market and on the sector’s ability to deliver on its community benefits objectives. Let’s grab the opportunity to be champions of decent work.

There are many issues that impede decent work for employees in the sector, including employment instability; low levels of pension plan and benefits coverage; high rates of part-time and contract employment; underinvestment in training and development; and poor work-life balance. Championing and creating a decent work environment, including by ensuring decent work for women, implementing pensions and influencing workplace legislation, will improve employees’ work lives, employment relationships, the work environment, organizational performance, and sector effectiveness.

What does decent work look like?

A decent work environment provides opportunities to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. We’ve identified seven areas regarding decent work in the nonprofit context (read our checklist or the Change Work report for more information):

  • Employment opportunities
  • Fair income
  • Health and retirement benefits
  • Stable employment
  • Opportunities for development and advancement
  • Equality and rights at work
  • Culture and leadership

Get involved

We envision the nonprofit sector in Ontario as a champion for decent work, leading by example. But a decent work vision can only be realized within a broader movement. It required systems change and governments, funders, and different sectors working together. The nonprofit sector can help by working together to build a movement around the cause. And also at an individual organizational level, nonprofits can review promising practices, adopt a decent work charter and assess their workplace using the decent work checklist.

Join the decent work conversation on social media using the hashtag #DecentWork and share your stories with us via email.


The ONN Decent Work initiative is supported by: