The Limits of Nonprofit Sector Resilience: Evidence from Canadian Nonprofit Sector Surveys During the Pandemic




COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofit sector, resilience, precarity, neoliberalism


The pandemic has illustrated the need to examine the vital role of the community nonprofit sector. While the nonprofit sector is known for innovatively responding to societal needs—to be resilient—it is also underresourced and precariously situated. The hollowing out of social welfare under neoliberalism shifted service responsibility onto nonprofit providers, justified through the framing that precarity drives resilience. With the magnification of need during the pandemic, the “response resilience” of the sector was put to the test. This article studies Canadian reports on surveys of the community nonprofit sector during the pandemic to assess the state of the sector and to examine tensions between precarity and resilience. Evidence illustrates a community nonprofit sector in crisis and the limits of neoliberal resilience.


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Author Biographies

Meghan Joy , Associate Professor of Political Science at Concordia University

Meghan Joy is Associate Professor of Political Science at Concordia University, 1455 Blvd. de Maisonneuve West, Montreal, QC, H3G 1M8. Email:

Siu Mee Cheng, Sessional Instructor, Toronto Metropolitan University & Executive Director, Street Haven

Siu Mee Cheng, Sessional Instructor, Toronto Metropolitan University Jorgenson Hall, 7th Floor, 380 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2K3 & Executive Director, Street Haven, 87 Pembroke St. Toronto, ON M5A2N9 Email:



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