The State of the Charitable Human Service Sector in New Brunswick : Resources and Challenges

Project Summary:

Relative to their vital contribution to our populations’ wellbeing, little is known about charitable organizations in the province of New Brunswick - their activities and challenges, the capacity of the sector, and its role in the economy, for example.  In 2004, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council provided funding to a team of social scientists at the University of New Brunswick and two other Canadian Universities to conduct a three year study of the province’s charitable human service sector.

The study, which draws data from nearly 300 organizations, is the first in-depth survey of its kind in New Brunswick, and adds to the growing research effort to better understand the contribution of human services by what is now commonly referred to as the “third sector.”    The research focus is specifically on charitable human service organizations, one of the fastest growing service providers in the non-profit sector. Therefore, organizations serving women, children, and families were among the respondents to the survey.  Some examples include women’s shelters, mothering support organizations, and organizations providing violence prevention outreach programs.  The research focus of the New Brunswick-based survey has been on: the types of activities and services organizations are providing, their governance structures, accountability practices, spatial distribution, financial resources, and gender trends. 


Early analysis of results has provided insight into the sector and its challenges.  For example, we know that the province’s organizations tend to be small (generally less than 10 staff), and that when it comes to human resources, the sector is overwhelmingly female (on average, 80% of organizations’ workforce are women). The study has also provided data to support the common sentiment that many organizations in the sector are in financial crisis (financial resources were the primary challenge and limitation in providing services for the majority of organizations).  Results also point to some potential geographical challenges in terms of service access and delivery in a province where roughly half of the population resides in a rural area.   More detailed results are available in the public report (Serving New Brunswick: a Provincial Survey of the Charitable Human Service Sector) and fact sheet below.

Report / Rapport

  • report coverReport released on "The State of the Charitable Human Service Sector in New Brunswick: Resources and Challenges" - Download the English Report.
  • Capacités et défis des organismes charitables du Nouveau-Brunswick offrant des services aux personnes. Télécharger le rapport en français.

The hope is that this information, coupled with the findings of the Premiers Community Nonprofit Task Force, will contribute to more informed decision-making and dialogue on the future of service provision by charitable organizations in New Brunswick.   

For more information on this project, please contact:

Luc Thériault, Associate Professor of Sociology, UNB

Team Members:

Luc Thériault, Professor, Sociology, UNB

Scott Bell, Professor, Geography, University of Saskatchewan

Heather McTiernan, MMFC/Sociology, UNB

Carmen Gill, Director, MMFC, UNB

Jim Randall, Arts, University of Northern British Columbia