The economic and social impact study of Victoria charities is the first study of its kind. (Keili Bartlett/News staff)

Study shows registered charities gave Victoria $4-billion boost

Civil sector now on par with tech and tourism sectors in Captial Regional District

In one year, registered charities helped others give back — and give a $4-billion boost to the economy in Victoria.

On GivingTuesday this Nov. 27, the Victoria Foundation and the University of Victoria released the findings of the social and economic impact registered charities had in 2016 in the capital city.

“For individuals or organizations who are part of the sector, I think it’s time to celebrate, to really showcase they’re part of something really big and really special,” said Dr. Crystal Tremblay, one of the researchers who conducted the study.

The study is the first of its kind to look at both social and economic impacts with the United Nations’s 17 sustainable development goals such as well-being, quality education and gender equality. Of the more than 1,000 registered charities in CRD, 80 completed a survey about their social impact. The economic data was gathered from the Canada Revenue Agency.

“It gives the sector a lot of credibility in addition to the big economic impact. We all know the impact is so big in our region, but I think linking it to these global development goals is a way to really showcase that these organizations are having local action and positive change while also being globally informed. I think that’s something to be really proud of,” Tremblay said.

READ MORE: Victoria Hospice hopes to raise $100,000 with help of GivingTuesday

Sandra Richardson, the CEO of the Victoria Foundation, said the impact of registered charities is on par with the tech and tourism sectors in the region and indicates 63,000 full-time equivalent jobs and more than $300 million every year in municipal taxes. Multiplier effects could be as high as $7 billion to the economy, with 122,000 jobs and $584 million of municipal taxes.

“The civil society sector is not secondary,” Richardson said. “It is not a feel-good afterthought to business and government. It’s a vibrant, thriving, integral, economic driver that is essential to the prosperity and well-being of our community. But until now we haven’t had the hard data to really back that up.”

Tremblay, an assistant professor and special advisor on community engaged scholarship at the University of Victoria, conducted a similar study of UVic’s impact in 2015. That study inspired the one requested by the Victoria Foundation of 2016. Even so, she said she was surprised and excited about the results from the partners’ study.

“I think [Victoria] has very civically-minded communities here. People are big givers and volunteers. I think it really reflects the philanthropic nature of our communities and that people take care of each other,” Tremblay said.

READ MORE: Victoria Sexual Assault Centre launches $55,000 in 55 days campaign on GivingTuesday


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