Labour Force

Shaping a Labour Force Strategy for Ontario’s Nonprofit Sector

The nonprofit sector employs over 1 million people and represents 2.6% of Ontario’s GDP, making nonprofits a major contributor to the province’s economic growth. Paid workers, like volunteers, drive community-building work. A key part of strengthening Ontario’s nonprofit sector is strengthening its labour force – and now, building on years of sector collaboration, comprehensive labour force planning is in the works.

Labour force planning in the sector is multi-faceted. We’ve identified a key cross-cutting issue which nonprofits can best work together on: leadership. We want to help develop a culture of labour market planning in the sector. That’s why ONN has embarked on the next phase of our project to create a collaborative labour force plan with the nonprofit sector.

Workplace Diversity and Inclusion

ONN is pleased to be working with the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) on a project to help nonprofit staff activate a diversity plan. We have completed our pilot project and are now moving on to the next phase. Subscribe here for updates and resources available to the sector.

This program is for you if you’re someone:

  • who is currently working in a senior position at an Ontario non-profit
  • who is responsible for strategy within their organization (e.g., Executive Director, HR Manager, etc.)
  • who is looking to increase diversity in your workplace; for example, exploring, developing or implementing diversity strategies

Watch the video to learn more.  Read more about why it’s important for nonprofits to be inclusive. 

Labour Force Strategy Video Series

The most recent phase of the Labour Force project explored existing tools and resources, potential partners and initiatives to develop a better understanding of how we can move the themes from the research phase of our work into practice.

As part of this pilot project initiative, ONN and our partners created a video series to highlight the key learnings of the pilot projects, as a way to continue building momentum for a sector-wide approach to labour force development:

  1. A Labour Force Strategy for Ontario’s Nonprofit Sector
  2. Creating a culture of diversity & inclusion in Ontario’s nonprofit sector
  3. Enhancing Community Impact: New Leadership Collaboration for Nonprofits and Municipalities
  4. Building a Decent Work Movement in Ontario’s Nonprofit Sector

Share the Videos & Join the Discussion

We encourage you to share these videos with your network and use them in your work. Join the discussion! Reach out to us on social media and let us know how a Labour Force strategy will be  helpful to your organization and your work: #nfplabourforce  #strongertogether

Related Resources

Logo Connect
ONN’s new job site for paid positions at nonprofits and charities showcases the sector as a proud employer, connects job seekers and organizations and will capture valuable labour market data.

May 2013 — You’re It! Reflections on Leadership and the Nonprofit SectorBlog post by Rob Howarth
June 2013 — Human Capital Renewal in the Nonprofit Sector- Framing the Strategy, Prepared by Mowat NFP on behalf of ONN
October 2012 — ONN’s Human Capital Renewal Strategy
May 2012 — ONN’s Vision paper, A Human Capital Renewal Strategy for Ontario’s Nonprofit Sector
March 2012 — ONN-Notes-to-a-Human-Capital-Renewal-Strategy-Spring-2012-FV – Rob Howarth speaking at Ontario Trillium Foundation’s 2012 “impact.innovation.inspiration” Conference
May 2011 – Study commissioned by the Toronto Workforce Innovation Group and ONN, Not-Working-For-Profit-ONN-TWIG-Report-May-2011
October 2010 – ONN’s submission to the Partnership Project, LabourForceStrategy_ONN-Submission-to-Partnership-Project-prepared-by-Novita
What’s happening elsewhere?
The HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector has many useful resources on labour force initiatives across Canada. Click here to learn more.

Labour Force Strategy Reports

ONN released two reports on the first phase of work. Guided by the Partners’ Advisory Council and working with our research partner Mowat NFP on Phase 1, data was collected from our province-wide survey and focus groups.

Report Cover

Read the Report Read the Executive Summary

A New Phase of Labour Force Planning

In the first phase of ONN’s work, we conducted a province-wide survey to gather vital data on the state of the sector. What did we learn? There are five critical issues for nonprofit leadership- and we can do something about them together:

1. Competing to find and keep talent
2. Rethinking the current model of leadership
3. Leadership skills and competencies
4. Where future leadership will come from
5. Diversity in the nonprofit sector

In this current phase, guided by a Leadership Council, ONN is building on research to broaden our understanding of who is working collaboratively on labour force initiatives in the sector, and beyond. We’re identifying showcase examples that:

  • Involves more than one organization;
  • Relates specifically to human resource challenges, such as recruitment, retention, leadership and staff development, succession planning, and culturally inclusive workplaces

We’re also looking at collective labour force work happening in other sectors that would be valuable to identify and catalogue for the nonprofit sector.

Get Involved

It takes a province to raise a labour force strategy! As a sector-driven initiative, ONN is encouraging organizations across Ontario to get actively involved. So join in and get connected!

Working on a labour force initiative at your nonprofit? We want to hear from you! We’re gathering good ideas and examples of great labour force planning to share across the province. Let us know what you’re working on by contacting us at

Subscribe to Labour Force News Flash

Get the latest news, data, policy work, showcase examples and more, specifically on collaborative labour force work.

Thank You To Our Partner

With thanks to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, this Employment Ontario project is funded by the Ontario Government.