3 August 2020

Evaluation and impact measurement for the social economy – About the project


Social impact evaluation and measurement has been a hotly debated term in recent years. But what are we really talking about? What are the origins of these concepts? For whom, why, and how is impact being measured? Who are the actors, methods and experiences involved? What are the difficulties, risks, opportunities, tensions and challenges for the social economy and the development of our territories?

On the basis of a literature review and the pooling of existing approaches, experiences, methods and tools, TIESS implemented a knowledge transfer project in collaboration with numerous social economy networks in Quebec. This project, funded by Quebec’s Minstière de l’économie et de l’innovation (MEI) began on July 1, 2016 and formally ended on June 30, 2019. In 2020, an additional grant was given by ESDC through the Investment readiness program so that the resulting content be updated and made available in English.

Our purpose with this project was to approach the evaluation and the questions it raises as an opportunity for social economy actors to reflect, rethink or reaffirm their objectives, priorities, identity and political project. In other words, to define themselves, before they defined by others. Thus, by supporting organizations to reflect on their impact, we also wish to give them the tools to reflect on who they are and where they are going, both as actors in their own right and as part of a more global movement.

Goals and aspirations

1. To facilitate the understanding by social economy actors of the world of evaluation and measurement of the social impact of collective enterprises and its stakes.

2. To support reflection by social economy enterprises and networks to facilitate their orientation within this world and thus support them towards :

a) a common understanding of evaluation within the social economy.
b) informed positioning and decision-making with respect to evaluation approaches and issues, based on their missions, activities, needs and ways of doing things.

3. To Support the various social economy players in identifying cross-cutting dimensions that are characteristic of the “impact of the social economy” and thus contributing to strengthening a community of vision around what makes its action unique.

4. To identify gaps and offer perspectives to fill them (new methods, alternative approaches to evaluation that meet the needs of the players, etc.).

5. To ensure the continuous improvement and relevance of the project and its impacts.


1. Identify existing actors, methods, tools and resources, and synthesize related knowledge.

2. Bring together researchers and practitioners around the theme of social impact assessment and measurement in order to share and transfer lessons learned from evaluation and impact measurement experiences in the social economy and related fields. Build bridges with other organizations in Quebec, Canada and internationally on this theme.

3. Develop transfer tools that enable everyone, according to their particular constraints (level of prior knowledge, time and energy to devote to these issues, urgency to act or long-term thinking, etc.) to understand and appropriate the ins and outs of the world of evaluation, and to make judicious and informed choices.

Consult the web portal on evaluation and impact measurement in the social economy.

Scientific Directorate

Associate Researcher

Partners Committee

Financial Partners