Halo Project

Churches provide huge economic value to local communities: research says governments would have to pay billions for services if congregations did not exist

“What if we could measure the economic value of what local congregations contribute to their surrounding communities?” – Halo report

[To view the full report, see bottom of page]

First Metropolitan plays a key role in the social and economic life of Victoria. We know that as congregants and now there is research to prove it. The Church Board asked the Halo Project in the fall of 2020 to see if it could measure First Met’s value to its surrounding community – and the answer is an impressive $15.8 million.

And the study says local governments would have to pay billions of dollars more from taxpayers’ budgets to provide community programs and services if churches and other faith communities didn’t exist.

Studies by the Halo Project suggest congregations, representing religious Canadians of all faiths, contribute an estimated $15.5 billion a year to Canada’s social economy.

“In Canada, the social, spiritual and communal value of local congregations has long been accepted,” the First Met study says. “The economic value these congregations bring to their surrounding neighbourhoods, however, is an entirely different matter. Only recently have researchers begun to explore this question in the Canadian religious context.”

The Halo studies, coordinated by Toronto-based Sphaera Research, apply financial benefits to many congregational activities previously considered intangible to try to assess the socio-economic value of faith communities.

“The studies ask: ‘if a local congregation ceased to exist, what would it cost the municipality to replace the programs and services provided by that organization to the wider community?’” the First Met report says. “These studies suggest that congregations, representing religious Canadians of all faiths, are contributing approximately $15.5 billion annually to Canada’s social economy.”

First Metropolitan alone provides $15.8 million to the Victoria community in terms of local economic and social benefits, the study says, a local per capita value of $99,555 per worshipper. Church members, program leaders and community volunteers spend 49,385 community volunteer hours a year, worth more than $1.3 million in social benefit, and for every dollar the congregation spends, the surrounding community receives $18.46 worth of social impact.

Please contact Board member Ross Breckon with any questions.

For the Halo Project overview, click here

For the full Halo project report, click here.