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          November 25, 2015                                                                                                                        

A Decent Work Movement For Our Sector

We are a sector working for public benefit. We work to create and sustain vibrant communities across the province. But when it comes to recognizing our sector as a major economic contributor, and as employers, we are falling behind the curve.

In Ontario, the nonprofit sector consists of over 55,000 organizations, and employs 600,000 full-time workers, 400,000 part-time workers, and engages millions of volunteers. This is a powerful sector of passionate people deeply invested in their work. As a sector, we are also a major employer in our province, and one of the fastest growing segments of Ontario's labour market.

The decisions that individual nonprofit organizations make about how their employment strategies are structured has a dramatic and immediate impact on our province's labour market. Yet there are also many symptoms of distress in our sector:

» Concerns of employment stability for both employers and employees

» Low levels of pension plan and benefits coverage

» High rates of part-time and contract employment

» Underinvestment in training and development by organizations

» Poor work/life balance for workers at all levels

It’s time we focus on the essential challenges to our own workforce sustainability that affect the one million employees in our sector provincially.

A New Report - ChangeWork: Valuing Decent Work in the Not-For-Profit Sector

ChangeWork is a collaborative project being carried out by ONN, Toronto Neighbourhood Centres (TNC), and Mowat NFP, with the support of the Atkinson Foundation’s Decent Work fund. Its goal is to generate a broad discussion about how our sector can promote decent work practices in our workplaces, our communities, our sector, and our society.

As the first phase of the project, the ChangeWork report identifies many ways that we can act together to help our sector thrive as a site of decent work, nurturing and sustaining our most valuable resource - the passion, motivation and creativity of the people who support and transform our communities, every day.

The report highlights the choices that our sector can make about how it collectively structures its organizations, community networks and policy systems. These choices can also improve working conditions for employees. It is up to the nonprofit sector to decide how it can best champion these efforts.

The health of the sector as an employer directly impacts our ability to meet our goals, missions and mandates. The report argues that a sector that champions decent work — both at a community level and through investing in its employees — will have an increased ability to make community impacts due to better engagement and effectiveness from its workers.

What is Decent Work?

The concept of decent work was developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and is defined as “opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity” (International Labour Organization, “Decent Work,” 2015).

What Does Decent Work Look Like?

We’ve identified 7 elements of decent work as a starting point for a discussion of what decent work means in the nonprofit context:

  • Employment opportunities

  • Fair income

  • Health and retirement benefits

  • Stable employment

  • Opportunities for development and advancement

  • Equality and rights at work

  • Culture and leadership

The decent work movement presents an opportunity for the sector to act as a champion of working conditions and social policies that not only ensure dignified and supportive work environments for employees, but also support the overall health and effectiveness of the nonprofit sector.

Share & Get Involved! Sample Tweets + Posts:

Ontario’s #nonprofit sector is an economic force w/ 1M employees. Let’s rally for #DecentWork in our sector! 

Are fair compensation & work-life balance important to you? Join  movement in the  sector! 

New work on  in  sector from , Toronto Neighbourhood Centres,  w/  


Find This News and Advocacy Helpful for Your Work?

Decent Work, along with policy analysis and advocacy, is what ONN proudly does with- and for- Ontario’s 55,000 nonprofits. Become an ONN member today!

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