Giving to charities on the decline in Canada

Fraser Institute study shows Ontario experienced the steepest drop.

December 16, 2014   by PLANT STAFF

VANCOUVER — Many Canadians think about giving during the holidays yet fewer are donating to registered charities, and those who do are giving less, according a study by the Fraser Institute.

The public policy think-tank with offices across Canada

Generosity in Canada and the United States: The 2014 Generosity Index, measures donations to registered charities claimed on personal income tax returns in Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories, the 50 US states and Washington, DC.

In 2012 (the latest year of available data), 22.3% of Canadian tax filers donated to charity, down from the recent peak of 25.1% in 2005.

Canadians are also donating a smaller percentage of their income to registered charities. In 2012, they gave 0.61% of their total income to registered charities, down from 0.81% in 2006.

“Had Canadians donated in 2012 at the same rate as in 2006, Canada’s charities would have received an additional $2.9 billion in 2012, for a potential total of $11.6 billion,” Lammam said.

Among the provinces, from 2002 to 2012, Ontario experienced the largest decline in the share of tax filers donating to registered charities (a drop of 10.8%). And Ontarians gave 0.70% of their total income to registered charities, down from 0.82% in 2002-the second largest drop among provinces.

Along with an overall decline in charitable giving, the study found that Canadians in some provinces are more charitable than in others.

In 2012, Manitoba had the highest percentage of tax filers (25.4%) that donated to registered charities while New Brunswick had the lowest (20.3%).

Manitobans also gave more than their provincial counterparts, with 0.84% of their combined income going to charity. On the other end of the spectrum, Quebecers donated just 0.31% of their combined income to charity-roughly half the 2012 national average of 0.61%.

In terms of the average dollar value of donations, Alberta ($2,227) tops all provinces while Quebec ranks last with an average value of charitable donations of $726-less than half the national average of $1,523.

As in previous years, Canadians lag far behind their US counterparts.
In 2012, 25.9% of American tax filers donated to charity compared to 22.3% of Canadians. Similarly, Americans gave a much higher percentage (1.43%) of their income to charity.

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