Understanding the Social Economy: A Canadian Perspective

Author +
Jack Quarter, Laurie Mook and Ann Armstrong

Year: 2009


In Understanding the Social Economy, Jack Quarter, Laurie Mook, and Ann Armstrong integrate a wide array of organizations founded upon a social mission – social enterprises, nonprofits, co-operatives, credit unions, and community development associations – under the rubric of the ‘social economy.’ This framework facilitates a comprehensive study of Canada’s social sector, an area often neglected in the business curricula despite the important role that these organizations play in Canada’s economy.

Invaluable for business programs that address issues such as community economic development, co-operatives, and nonprofit studies and management, Understanding the Social Economy presents a unique set of case studies as well as chapters on organizational design and governance, social finance and social accounting, and accountability. The examples provide much needed context for students and allow for an original and in-depth examination of the relationships between Canada’s social infrastructure and the public and private sectors. With this work, Quarter, Mook, and Armstrong illuminate a neglected facet of business studies to further our understanding of the Canadian economy.


Part I: An Overview of the Social Economy

1. An Introduction to Canada’s Social Economy

Part II:  The Components of the Social Economy

2. Social Economy Businesses

3. Community Economic Development

4. Social Enterprises

5. Public Sector Non-profits

6. Civil Society Organizations

Part III: Critical Issues

7. Organizational Design and Governance Strategies

8. Financing

9. Social Accounting and Accountability

About the Authors

Jack Quarter is a professor and co-director of  the Social Economy Centre at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of  Toronto.

Laurie Mook is the co-director of  the Social Economy Centre at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.

Ann Armstrong is the director of  the Social Enterprise Initiative at the Rotman School of  Management, University of  Toronto