Small and Medium Organizations

Small and Medium-Sized Canadian Civil Society Organizations as Development Actors: A Review of Evidence

The Inter-council Network of Provincial and Regional Councils for International Cooperation (ICN) has commissioned a research paper on the value, roles, and contributions of small and medium-sized Canadian civil society organizations in the development context. The report, “Small and Medium-Sized Canadian Civil Society Organizations as Development Actors: A Review of Evidence“, / Les petites et moyennes organisations de la société civile du Canada en tant qu’actrices du développement: une analyse des données prepared by Brian Tomlinson, also surveyed the impact of current and past funding structures and political climate on the ability of small and medium-sized organizations (SMOs) to conduct their work. 

SMOs play a crucial role in international development and public engagement across Canada. Specialized, well-connected, and flexible, SMOs directly reach and engage with Canadians. They operate in our cities and communities, and their impact stretches beyond our borders to reach the most vulnerable in our world. 

Did you know?

  • The majority of SMOs are based west of Ontario. 85% of large Canadian organizations have their headquarters in Ontario and Québec and only 13% of large organizations are based out of the western provinces, while 73% of Canada’s SMOs are in provinces west of Ontario.
  • SMOs outnumber large organizations, but have less access to funding. According to a recent Inter-Council Network study, 60% of large organizations received CIDA/DFATD funding in 2014 compared to 1.8% of small organizations and 17% of medium-sized organizations.
  • SMOs were disproportionately affected by recent funding cuts. When the Partnerships for Development Innovations Branch of CIDA cut funding, 70% of the organizations who lost their funding were small organizations and 22% were medium-sized.
  • SMOs more often focus on Canada’s target areas. SMOs tend to more directly target Canada’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) priority countries than larger organizations.