March 2006


As part of the Halton Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Labour Force Study, a profile of the human services sector labour force has been developed. This issue of Community Dispatch highlights three socio-demographic characteristics (gender, education and employment income) of the labour force profile of the Halton human services sector. A full profile of the labour force is provided in Working Paper #2 of the study, available on the Community Development Halton (CDH) website (

The labour force profile helps us to understand better the workforce in this important but sometimes overlooked sector and also complements the findings of the Halton nonprofit human services survey (conducted in February/March 2006) which collects information on organization structure and status, human resources issues and challenges with both paid employees and volunteers, financial picture and pressures of the sector.

Data Source

The data used to develop the labour force profile are from the 2001 Census of the Population. The 2001 Census is not only the most detailed and reliable source of data on the socio-demographic characteristics of the population, it also enables a comparison to be made across time periods. CDH purchased custom tabulations of labour force statistics from Statistics Canada. The data file contains information on labour force by detailed industry classification cross-tabulated by selected labour force, demographic, cultural, education and income characteristics and by gender.

Defining the Human Services (HS) Sector

In order to determine which organizations/activities should be included in the human services sector, the Statistics Canada National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organization (2003, revised) is used as a guide. The National Survey adopts an international classification system for all nonprofit and voluntary sector organizations developed by the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project and modified for use in Canada. The search results identify eight industry groups within three sub sectors (social assistance; ambulatory health; and grant-making, social advocacy and civil organizations). These groupings include services such as:

  • out-patient care centres (e.g. outpatient mental health, community health centres, planned parenthood, birth control clinic),
  • individual and family services (e.g. Big Sister/Brother service, refugee services, rape crisis centres, family counselling),
  • community, food, housing emergency relief services (e.g. food banks, halfway group homes, meals on wheels, soup kitchens),
  • vocational rehabilitation services (e.g. employment training programs, sheltered workshops, rehabilitation counselling, handicapped workshops),
  • child day-care services (e.g. child care centres, nursery schools),
  • social advocacy organizations (e.g. community advocacy groups, neighbourhood development groups, social services advocacy),
  • grant-making and giving services (e.g. charitable trust, federated charitable organizations, voluntary health organization),
  • civic and social organizations (e.g. community associations, ethnic associations, scouting organizations)

See Working Paper #2 for a full description of the methodology and the selection of the eight industry categories.

HS Sector Labour Force Profile

This paper highlights three socio-demographic characteristics (gender, education and employment income) of Halton residents who work in the HS sector. It also compares the profile with that of lead industry sectors and geographically with Toronto, Peel and Hamilton.

About 70% of Halton residents who work in the HS sector worked in the social services sub sector, 18% in grant-making, social advocacy and civil organizations (part of religious, grant-making, civic and professional organization sub sector) and the remaining 12% in the out-patient services of the ambulatory health care sub sector.


At the provincial level, there was no significant gender difference in the entire labour force in 2001 (i.e. 51.5% - female workers, 48.5% - male workers). However, the HS sector presents a different picture. As an industry sector, it has a predominant female workforce. Female worker representation was about 85% in Ontario. Halton�s average was over 87% which was higher than in Peel, Hamilton and Toronto. As shown in Figure 1, Halton�s female participation in the HS sector was the highest among all industry sectors.

Figure 1. Industry Sectors with more than 50% female workers, Halton, 2001

Within the HS sector, the child day-care services had the highest representation (97%); almost all workers in the services were females (Figure 2). The percentage for the individual and family services was just below the sector average. Both the vocational rehabilitation services and civic and social organizations had the lowest percentages (71%) within the sector.

Figure 2. Female Workers by HS Sector Industry Groups, Halton, 2001

Post-secondary Education

Post-secondary education was used as a measure of the highest schooling of the labour force in the HS sector. For all workers in Ontario, about 65% of them had post-secondary education. Halton had a higher average of 71%.

As shown in Figure 3, in Halton, nine in ten workers in the education services had post-secondary education � the highest among all industry sectors. At the other end of the spectrum, less than half of the workers in the accommodation and food services had same level of education.

The provincial average for HS workers was about 76%. About eight in ten (79%) of the HS workers in Halton had post-secondary education. Halton's average was higher than Peel (75.6%) and Hamilton (74.9%) but slightly below Toronto (79.7%).

Figure 3. Post-secondary education by selected industry groups, Halton, 2001

Within the HS sector, workers in seven of the eight industry groups received above sector average post-secondary education (Figure 4). Almost all (93-97%) workers in the social advocacy organizations and outpatient care centres had post-secondary education. Although the child day-care centres services had below sector average, its percentage was still higher than that of Ontario for all workers.

Figure 4. Post-secondary education by HS sector Industry Groups, Halton, 2001

Employment Income

For the 2001 Census, which was taken on May 15, 2001, respondents were asked to provide information on income for the year ending December 31, 2000. As a result, the employment income data reported was for year 2000 instead of 2001. In Ontario, the average employment income for all workers in 2000 was about $35,200. Halton�s average was 30% above the provincial total at $46,200.

As shown in Figure 5, the 2000 average employment income for workers in the HS sector in Halton was about $26,400 which represented just over half (57%) of the average income for all workers. The HS sector ranks 18th among all 20 industry sectors. It was slightly below that of the retail trade sector. The average income for Halton was lower than Toronto ($26,979) but higher than Peel ($24,081) and Hamilton ($22,830).

Figure 5. Average Employment Income by Industry Sectors, Halton, 2000

All industry groups within the HS sector had employment incomes below the all sectors average; the magnitude of the income "gap" for the child day-care services was most significant (Figure 6). The average employment income for the child day-care workers was 62% below the average for all workers and 35% below the average for HS sector workers. In other words, the child day-care workers earned 38 cents for every dollar an average worker in Halton made.

Figure 6. Average Employment Income by HS Sector Industry Groups, Halton, 2000

Income-Gender Differential

Income-gender differential measures the difference in employment income by gender. Since female worker income still falls behind male worker income, the income-gender differential is expressed as a percent of male worker income. A higher percentage means a narrower income gap.

In Ontario, the income-gender differential was 63% which means that on average, female workers earned 63 cents for every dollar the male workers made. As shown in Figure 7, the income-gender gap for all workers was wider in Halton at 54%. Workers in the construction sector and mining, oil and gas extraction sectors had the narrowest and widest income gaps respectively.

The income-gender differential for HS sector workers in Halton was about 60% which was similar to that of the manufacturing and real estate, rental and leasing sectors. Geographically, it was wider than those of Hamilton (75%), Toronto (74%) and Peel (69%).

As shown in Figure 8, within the HS sector, the out-patient care services had the narrowest income gap (88%) and the child day-care services the widest at 52%. Female child day-care workers made about half of what their male counterparts made.

Figure 7. Income-gender Differentials by Industry Sectors, Halton, 2000

Figure 8. Income-gender Differentials by HS Industry Groups, Halton, 2000


In summary, the human services sector labour force in Halton can be described as:

  • Dominated by female workers � 87.5% (higher than all sectors average, Ontario, Toronto, Peel and Hamilton), 97% of workers in child day-care services were females
  • Higher educated � over � (79%) with post-secondary education (higher than Ontario and Halton all sector averages), only child day-care services workers below HS sector average
  • Poorly paid � average employment income below Ontario and Halton all sectors average, rank 18th among 20 sectors (below retail trade average), child day-care worked received lowest pay (38% of all sectors average), female HS sector workers earned about 60 cents for every dollar made by the male HS workers, female HS workers earned less than their counterparts in Toronto, Peel and Hamilton.

Community Development Halton, in conjunction with the Regional Chair's Roundtable on the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector, is conducting a labour force study of this sector in Halton. Please assist us in gathering the information essential to understanding and representing our sector as we move to make productive Peter Drucker's words.

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Produced by Community Development Halton
860 Harrington Court
Burlington, Ontario L7N 3N4
(905) 632-1975, (905) 878-0955; Fax: (905) 632-0778; E-mail:


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