Building a Decent Work Movement in the Nonprofit Sector


(Pamela Uppal) #1

The nonprofit sector consists of over 55,000 organizations, employs 1 million people, and engages millions of volunteers in Ontario alone. 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.

Using the International Labour Organization’s definition of decent work, The Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) had identified seven aspects of decent work in the nonprofit sector:

  • Employment opportunities
  • Fair income
  • Health and retirement benefits
  • Stable employment
  • Opportunities for development and advancement
  • Equality and rights at work
  • Culture and leadership (inclusive work cultures and effective leaders)

At ONN we’re working on building a movement for more decent work in the sector through multiple avenues. For instance, we are working on a sector wide pensions plan and are using a gender lens on decent work to understand women’s employment experiences in the nonprofit sector through our decent work for women project.

Here are some tools to start your decent work journey:
Decent Work Charter
Decent Work Checklist
Promising Practices
Bill 148 education
Decent Work for Women: A literature review of women working in Ontario’s nonprofit sector

We want to learn more from you! What does decent work look like in your organization?

(Tracey Robertson) #2

Thanks Pam !

I look forward to a discussion from others on what decent work looks like for them. I will also share a panel recording soon on the perspectives of decent work form Atkinson Foundation, ONN and Toronto Aboriginal Employment Council. Stay tuned!

(Trudi Collins) #3

Interesting blog from ONN on compensation for women in the non-profit sector . ONN’s research suggests that there is a “care penalty” - the low pay and strenuous workload of those in caregiving occupations - in non-profit jobs even though the workforce is highly educated. Women working in the not for profit sector in the Toronto area earned 79% of the average wage for Toronto area workers in 2006, while at the same time 73% of jobs in the not for profit sector required a post-secondary degree compared to just 34% of jobs in Ontario. Wondering how you see this care penalty playing out in your community or sector?

(Trudi Collins) #4

Interesting article on the impact of low pay in the arts and culture sector and the downstream impact on programming available to communities

(Liz Forsberg) #5

I just wrote a piece in the Inspired People hub about this new study :slight_smile:

(Pamela Uppal) #6

This is exactly the type of work and data we need to make the case for the nonprofit sector as not only a vital part of communities but also how decent work for employees is linked to the success of organizations.

We also wrote a couple of blog pieces on women’s compensation in the nonprofit sector in Ontario:
The Care Penalty
The Gender Wage Gap
Benefits – Pension Plan, Maternity Top-ups

(Pamela Uppal) #7

Influence Decent Work for Women

Here’s your chance to influence strategies to improve your and other women’s working conditions in Ontario’s nonprofit sector: come chat with us about your lived experiences and provide input on what strategies and solutions can help.

View the call here.

May - June 2018
5 regions in Ontario
Contact Pamela Uppal,, 416-642-5786 x504. More information can also be found here.

(Pamela Uppal) #8

Influence Decent Work for Women

Here’s your chance to influence strategies to improve your and other women’s working conditions in Ontario’s nonprofit sector: fill out this short survey to share your lived experiences and tell us what strategies and solutions can help.

You can participate in this survey if you:

  • Self-identify as a woman (we recognize and welcome trans women, queer women and non-binary people)

  • Are currently employed in the nonprofit sector in Ontario

  • Have not attended a learning circle this summer

Not eligible to participate? Please consider sharing the survey with women who are.

Survey link:

(Trudi Collins) #9

Thanks for posting the link to the survey @PUppal and for ONN’s great work on improving working conditions for women in the nfp sector. Looking forward to hearing about the survey results!