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Jack Quarter
How does social economy improve our
quality of life and address needs of
marginalized social groups?
Social economy: A bridging concept for organizations that have social objectives
central to their mission and their practice and either have explicit economic objectives or generate some economic value through the services they provide and purchases they undertake.
Jack Quarter’s research investigates the vital role of the social economy, in its many manifestations, within Canadian society and how the social economy contributes to our quality of life and addresses the needs of marginalized social groups.
How? He leads major research projects investigating issues that
affect Canada’s social economy organizations. These projects will
inform education policy and change how we value social economy
Social economy organizations include non-profits, cooperatives, and credit unions, for example: local hockey
teams; swimming clubs; arts organizations; local theatre
companies; fair trade distributors; and housing co-ops.
According to Statistics Canada research, these organizations encompass about 7% of Canada’s gross domestic
product, about $140 billion of revenues, a workforce of
more than 2 million, roughly 2 billion hours of volunteer time, plus an estimated 150 million memberships.
The social economy is vital to drive Canada’s economy forward and ensure the well-being of our
communities. To help tomorrow’s business leaders
learn about the value of social economy, Jack and
his colleagues recently published a book Understanding the Social Economy: A Canadian Perspective, with
lesson plans for business professors. They also developed open source software VolunteersCount to help non-profit
organizations develop social accounting statements
that place a dollar value on volunteer contributions.
Jack’s research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Canada
Foundation for Innovation. He is the author and
editor of 16 books, 25 book chapters, and 80 articles
in refereed journals.
Jack Quarter is a professor in the Department of
Adult Education and Counselling Psychology and is
co-director of the Social Economy Centre.