Our Policy Priorities: The Future of Work in the Nonprofit Sector

ONN Policy Priorities 2020-2021


Advocate for policies and undertake initiatives to strengthen Ontario’s nonprofit workforce in the rapidly changing world of work


In an age of disruption, the nonprofit sector offers meaningful work opportunities, but our collective approach to workforce strategizing and development is fragmented and reactive.

As new technologies (including automation and artificial intelligence) disrupt the labour market, major policy debates are taking place about the future of work– often without considering the role of the nonprofit sector.

To attract and retain the best people, Ontario’s nonprofit sector must position itself as a “sector of choice” for good career opportunities. Ontario’s nonprofit sector would be strengthened by better labour market information and coordinated labour force planning, including leadership development; diversity, equity & inclusion initiatives; intentional career paths; and succession planning.


To ensure that the future of work in the nonprofit sector is a “Decent Work” future, policy-makers must use a GBA+ lens to understand and mitigate the unequal effects of these disruptions on different groups of workers in terms of job quality, job availability, and the changing nature of work. ONN advocates for coordinated workforce planning across the nonprofit sector to support a growing, diverse, resilient, inclusive, and well supported workforce. ONN encourages the governments of Ontario and Canada to recognize the importance of the nonprofit sector to local economies and to support our sector’s integrated workforce planning through labour market studies.


Advocate for the Government of Ontario to:

  • Undertake or support labour market information studies and other research that would facilitate workforce planning in the nonprofit sector
  • Include nonprofit sector voices in policy-making processes concerning the future of work

Advocate for the Government of Canada (Statistics Canada) to:

  • Follow up its March 2019 release of the Satellite Account of Not-for-profit Institutions report with a regular release on the sector every two years
  • Consult regularly with the nonprofit sector on issues related to workforce data, for example, to ensure that industrial and occupational classifications can support nonprofit sector workforce planning

Work with the Ontario nonprofit sector to:  

  • Promote ONN’s Leading our Future report on emerging leadership competencies in the nonprofit sector to encourage take-up of critical skills training for the future of the sector
  • Inform Statistics Canada’s next general survey of the nonprofit sector in Canada so as to ensure data are useful
  • Convene nonprofits and develop a more complete picture of what the future of nonprofit work will look like, based on trends such as digitization, automation, collaboration at a distance, blockchain technology, data-sharing across programs, the growth of the care economy, and innovations in governance, to enable more responsive workforce planning in the sector
  • Foster widespread adoption of sector-wide solutions such as an employee health benefits plan and a pension plan for the sector.
  • Support emerging youth leaders in the sector to be Decent Work Leadership Voices.