The level of participation in civic and public life in Canada fell significantly from 1992 to 2005. This prompted author Stéphanie Gaudet to ask: how has social participation evolved from 1992 to 2005? And, who are the individuals who participated socially in 2005? Previous studies and policy development on social participation have largely neglected the collective dimension of communities and life course approaches. At the heart of Gaudet’s research, therefore, is a need to further understanding of changes in the life courses of Canadians. In turn, this understanding can help policy makers develop finely tuned policies to foster greater individual engagement within communities. In this study, social participation by the individual is operationalized as the gift of time to an organization or other individuals. In essence, this captures formal (volunteer) and informal (mutual aid) engagement with the community. The General Social Survey on Time Use for the years 1992, 1998, and 2005 provides data on social participation changes in the lives of Canadians.

Bibliographic Notes

The brief was prepared by Joanne Gaudet.