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the Centre for Learning, Social Economy and Work at OISE, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto
 

Southern Ontario Social Economy Node (SOSEN; 2005-2011)


About

The Social Economy Centre of the University of Toronto, Imagine Canada, and the Ontario Co-operative Association partnered together to launch a research alliance that aimed at enhancing capacity for ongoing research and development for the social economy of Southern Ontario. The overall objective was to enhance the capacity of the social economy of Southern Ontario.

This project — a Community-University Research Alliance for Southern Ontario’s Social Economy — consisted of a network of leading scholars from:

  • 11 universities in Southern Ontario,
  • 24 partner organizations, and
  • Scholars from seven universities external to the node whose research was beneficial.

During the project timeframe from 2005 to 2011, 35 sub-projects emerged which were grouped into five Research and Practice Clusters:

  • Mapping the size and scope of the social economy in this region,
  • Understanding the impact of the social economy,
  • Improving the capacity of social economy organizations (SEOs) to demonstrate the value of their activities,
  • Developing public policy, and
  • Extending theory.

This Alliance generated synergy between:

  • Researchers and practitioners working in isolation,
  • Similar networks in other regions, and
  • The social economy internationally.

This research initiative built a future generation of researchers, created a presence for social economy in higher education institutions, and focused heavily on knowledge dissemination. Training of students was a key feature of this Alliance, and for each project graduate students formed part of the team. The initiative led to the creation of:

  • The Association for Nonprofit and Social Economy Research (ANSER),
  • The Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research
  • The Social Economy Centre at the University of Toronto (which is now the Centre for Learning, Social Economy and Work, CLSEW), and
  • Several books listed in our website’s Publications page, fact sheets and backgrounders on the sector as well as a number of journal articles including the following:

 

Research

The Community-University Research Alliance for Southern Ontario’s Social Economy was one of seven Canadian research alliances funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to study the social economy. The Canadian Social Economy Hub acted as a facilitator promoting collaboration among the seven regional research alliances: Québec; Atlantic; Southern Ontario; Manitoba, Saskatchewan & Northern Ontario; BC/Alberta; the North.

RESEARCH AND PRACTICE CLUSTERS

The overall project had 35 sub-projects. These sub-projects were organized into five Research and Practice Clusters, which were:

  • mapping the size and scope of the social economy in this region,
  • understanding the impact of the social economy,
  • improving the capacity of social economy organizations (SEOs) to demonstrate the value of their activities,
  • developing public policy, and
  • extending theory.

SOUTHERN ONTARIO SOCIAL ECONOMY COMMUNITY-UNIVERSITY RESEARCH ALLIANCE SYMPOSIUM

In May 2008, the project hosted a symposium at the University of Toronto. The presentations featured at the symposium included:

 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT IS THE SOCIAL ECONOMY?

We present the social economy as an overarching framework addressing the entire array of organizations with a social mission ranging from market-based co-operatives, community economic development corporations, and other social enterprises to nonprofits in public service to the many nonprofit mutual associations. Our initial working definition is of organizations with a social mission that either have explicit economic objectives, as is the case of market-based organizations, or that create economic value through employing people and through providing services. Our approach also emphasizes the interaction between the social economy and the private and public sectors.

 

WHO ARE THE PARTNERS IN THIS ALLIANCE?

Imagine Canada is a national charitable organization that supports Canada’s charities, nonprofit organizations, and socially conscious businesses, and champions the work they do in our communities. Imagine Canada is one of the largest nonprofit umbrella organizations in the country with a membership of over 1,200. With a staff of twenty research professionals, it is recognized as Canada’s leading source of research on the charitable and nonprofit sector.

Ontario Co-operative Association represents co-operatives, credit unions, and caisses populaires in Ontario in such diverse services as agriculture, finance, insurance, food retailing and wholesaling, farm supply, renewable energy, culture, social service such as daycare, health and homecare. “On Co-op”, as it is known, has a mandate to support and promote co-operatives across Ontario.

The Social Economy Centre of the University of Toronto was a research centre that promote and disseminated multidisciplinary research and policy analysis on issues affecting the social economy. The Centre was established in 2005 as a unit of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Since 2014, the Social Economy Centre has been part of the Centre for Learning, Social Economy and Work (CLSEW).

 


sshrc

 
This project was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
 
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