Social Economy

“Social economy organizations are those organizations whose members are animated by the principle of reciprocity for the pursuit of mutual economic or social goals, often through the social control of capital.” (Restakis, 2006)

The BC and Alberta Social Economy Research Alliance (BALTA) is a broad regional collaboration among five universities (Royal Roads University, Simon Fraser University, Athabasca University, University of Alberta’s School of Business, and the University of Victoria) and nine social economy stakeholder organizations engaged in research initiatives to strengthen the foundation of the social economy in BC and Alberta.

BALTA is a five year project (2006-2011) that is working towards the reinsertion of social goals, reciprocity and solidarity into economic thinking and decision making, and aims to address the following broad research questions:

  1. What are the scope and characteristics of the social economy in BC and Alberta?
  2. What are the scope and characteristics of social economy innovations that are achieving demonstrable social and economic results in the region and elsewhere?
  3. What are the key issues, opportunities and constraints for adapting and scaling up whatever is working, both within and outside the region?

The project consists of three Social Economy Research Clusters (SERCs), focused on the following areas:

  • Social Enterprise in Human Services and Affordable Housing
  • Natural Resources, Local Development and Social Enterprise
  • Analysis, Evaluation, and Infrastructure Development

As a first step, faculty at The Centre for Sustainable Community Development are supervising the preparation of consistent literature reviews in each SERC area. These literature reviews will provide the members of each SERC with a basis for planning and research, and will ultimately combine to form the literature review for the overall BALTA project.

BALTA is the BC and Alberta Node within the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) Social Economy Suite. There are six regional nodes under the SSHRC research program with a national hub that facilitates research activities on a national basis.

Please stay tuned for project updates and links to BALTA’s website.