In December 2017, Toronto City Council adopted a policy framework, called "For Public Benefit" to guide how the City works with community-based nonprofit organizations.
The policy contains principles, commitments, and 13 actions to help City agencies, corporations, and divisions interact with Toronto’s nonprofit sector more consistently, with the guidance of a clear vision.
Co-created with a community advisory table, the policy is based on current good practices and looks ahead to an even better relationship in the future. It will create ongoing opportunities to learn from “what works” and to share best practices across City government and across the nonprofit sector.
The policy introduces a new concept, “public benefit” to convey the value of the nonprofit sector positively, in terms of what it is “for” rather than “not for.” This choice of language has been influenced by the Ontario Nonprofit Network. According to the ONN, public benefit organizations:
- operate for the public good, not private gain
- reinvest and retain assets in the public domain for the public good
- help drive the economic strength and stability of communities
- play an active role in public policy by channeling community voices to hold government and decision-makers accountable, and
- demonstrate the value of care and service to others as a core value of their work
The nonprofit sector in Toronto has a considerable impact on the city’s economic and social health. According to the City of Toronto, the nonprofit sector generates more than $14 billion in annual revenues, represents over 8% of Toronto’s GDP, and employs over 105,000 full-time workers. It is estimated that there are 14,000 organizations in the Greater Toronto Area that belong to this sector.
The collective contributions of Toronto’s nonprofit organizations have received limited recognition and attention, but in 2019, Mayor John Tory proclaimed October 2 as Toronto's first Not-for-Profit Recognition Day. Not-for-Profit Recognition Day was supported by a grant from the City of Toronto and part of the City's commitment to working with the nonprofit sector.