The Social Economy

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What is the Social Economy?

The Canadian CED Network has adopted the definition of Social Economy used by the Chantier de l'économie sociale in Quebec.  The Social Economy is made up of association-based economic activities founded on values of:

  • Service to members or the community rather than only generating profits and seeking financial returns;
  • Autonomous management (not government controlled);
  • Democratic decision making;
  • Primacy of persons and work over capital;
  • Based on principles of participation, empowerment and individual and collective responsibility.

The Social Economy includes: social assets (housing, childcare centres, etc.) of community organizations; social enterprises including co- operatives and revenue-generating programs of non profit groups; credit unions and social financing organizations like community loan funds; training and skills development enterprises; and sectoral and regional organizations e.g. renewal energy associations. 

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The Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships (CSERP)

The Canadian CED Network was a community partner in the research and knowledge mobilization of the Canadian Social Economy Hub (CSEHub), a national community-university research alliance (CURA) funded via a multi-year grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The research centres, along with CSEHub and various community partners, formed the basis of CSERP.

The goal of the Social Economy research was to better understand how approaches within the Social Economy can be effectively applied so that community organizations, civil society, community developers, and researchers can collaborate to empower groups and communities to meet their social and economic needs. 

Follow the links below to download 3 recent eBook publications by the Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships:


To download a powerpoint presentation outlining the structure and the work of the CSERP click here>>

To download a copy of the CSEHub brochure click here>>

To learn more about the co-construction of public policy in support of the social economy in Canada, click here>>