The social economy: a fast-growing sector

As it gains importance in Quebec, the social economy is diversifying the supply of health and social services. The research team Économie sociale, santé et bien-être (Social Economy, Health and Welfare), directed by Lucie Dumais from Université du Québec à Montréal, focuses its work on community, social insertion and job integration services, as well as social housing. The team's researchers observe the interactions between government, the social economy, the private sector and families in the supply of this type of service.

The research team listed, analyzed and evaluated the achievements of non-profit organizations over the last 10 years. This was done with the help of descriptive surveys, both extensive (portraits of areas like social housing, or regional sectors like disabilities and domestic aid) and intensive (position papers on pilot projects and innovative practices implemented by public establishments or community groups). They also took a critical look at the development of public policy and the effects of new social practices.

This work has led public decision makers and community leaders to integrate the social economy into the development of social policy. For example, community-supported social housing has found a place in the world of public housing and social services policy. The team's results have also influenced the conditions for setting up non-profit domestic aid services, and have increased our understanding of the new partnerships in providing services for the disabled.

Recently, the research team has begun to examine the issues surrounding new public management practice and the role of public and private foundations in public policy. Now it is a question of continuing to study the ways in which the principles of solidarity and participation are integrated into social policy and practice in the sectors in which the social economy is evolving, so that they can become more than simply utopian or marginal values.


Équipe de recherche Économie sociale, santé et bien-être


Lucie Dumais, Université du Québec à Montréal

Regular members

  • Robert Bastien, Direction de la santé publique, Montréal-Centre 
  • Claude Belley, Centre de réadaptation Normand-Laramée 
  • Martin Goyette, École nationale d'administration publique 
  • Stéphane Grenier, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue 
  • Christian Jetté, Université de Montréal 
  • Gérald Larose, Université du Québec à Montréal 
  • Paul Leduc Browne, Université du Québec en Outaouais 
  • Danielle Maltais, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi 
  • Suzie Robichaud, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi 
  • Marielle Tremblay, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi 
  • Yves Vaillancourt, Université du Québec à Montréal