Québec has 11,200 social economy enterprises

Québec, April 29, 2019. – Québec has 11,200 social economy enterprises across every region and in many industry sectors. These enterprises and their subsidiaries generate $47.8 billion in revenues and provide 220,000 payroll jobs in Québec. This information comes from the study L’économie sociale au Québec - Portrait statistique 2016 published today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec. It is the first statistical profile on the social economy to cover the whole province.

The social economy: entrepreneurship with a social purpose

Social economy enterprises are democratically-run organizations that combine economic viability with social objectives, while responding to the needs of a community of members or users. Together, these enterprises have 13 million members, make 88% of their revenues from the sale of goods and services, and have a variety of social purposes broken down into 13 broad categories, as shown in the figure below.

Distribution of social economy entreprises by social purpose category, Québec, 2016

Graph: Titre de la figure.

Source: Institut de la statistique du Québec, Survey of Non-Profit Organizations, Cooperatives and Mutual Companies.

Characteristics of social economy enterprises

Among social economy enterprises, 75% are non-profit organizations (NPOs), 22% are non-financial cooperatives, and 3% are financial cooperatives or mutual insurance companies.

Most social economy enterprises are small businesses:

  • 65% have fewer than 10 payroll employees;
  • 64% have revenues below $500,000.

There are also large enterprises among them:

  • 2.3% have 100 or more payroll employees;
  • 3.5% have revenues of $10 million or more.

A relatively large proportion of social economy enterprises have existed for over 30 years (39%), while 15% have been in existence for less than 10 years, and 46%, for 10 to 30 years.

The first comprehensive picture of the Québec social economy

Many additional findings are provided in the publication L’économie sociale au Québec - Portrait statistique 2016, including statistics by region and by sector. These findings come from a survey of thousands of enterprises carried out in 2018. The survey was conducted thanks to the financial support of the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation and the cooperation of social economy associations and groups.


The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for conducting all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.

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