Send to

Choose Destination
Can Rev Sociol. 2018 Aug;55(3):404-424. doi: 10.1111/cars.12210. Epub 2018 Jul 9.

Worthy? Crowdfunding the Canadian Health Care and Education Sectors.

Author information

University of Toronto.


Crowdfunding, the practice of asking for money from others using the Internet, is a major private means through which Canadians are funding their health care and education. Crowdfunding has proliferated in Canada during the 2010s and continues to grow, approaching the revenues of Canada's major traditional charities. Proponents describe it as an empowering practice from which anyone can benefit. If its gains are inequitably distributed, however, increasing reliance on this private funding mechanism, especially in core areas of welfare state provision, can further exacerbate inequalities of opportunity and income. This study asks why Canadians turn to health care and education crowdfunding and how equitably funds are raised using this novel method. Based on a mixed methods analysis of 319 campaigns conducted on two prominent crowdfunding platforms between 2012 and 2014, we find that crowdfunding users' needs frequently correspond to known gaps in the contemporary social safety net, including in the area of cancer care, and that campaigns for older and visible minority Canadians face a disadvantage. We argue that health care and education crowdfunding is a response to the shortcomings of Canadian welfare state provision, but one that reproduces offline inequalities with potentially perilous consequences for democratic life and individual suffering.


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center