canadian charity

The amount Canadians are donating to charity is at a 20-year low

It's been said that the holidays are a time for giving, but apparently Canadians just aren't in the giving spirit the way they used to be. 

The 2019 Generosity Index conducted by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank, found the amount Canadians currently donate to charity (as a percentage of their income claimed on their taxes) has hit a 20-year low. 

The study found that less than one-in-five Canadians claimed charitable donations on their tax return in 2017, which is the most recent year of available data.

Overall, Canadians donated the lowest amount — just 0.54 per cent of income — since at least 2000. The most Canadians have donated since that year was 0.78 per cent in 2006.

"The holiday season is a time to reflect on giving, and with Canadians being less generous every year, charities face greater challenges to secure resources to help those in need," said Jake Fuss, senior policy analyst with the Fraser Institute, in a statement.

canadian charityOut of all the provinces and territories, Manitoba was the most generous in terms of the percentage of tax filers who claimed charitable 
donations, while Nunavut was the least. 

Here's the ranked list of the generosity of Canadian provinces and territories. 

  1. Manitoba 
  2. Prince Edward Island 
  3. Ontario 
  4. Saskatchewan 
  5. Alberta
  6. British Columbia 
  7. Nova Scotia 
  8. New Brunswick 
  9. Quebec 
  10. Newfoundland and Labrador 
  11. Yukon
  12. Northwest Territories 
  13. Nunavut

Though this may come as a surprise to some, the study also found that Canadians are far less generous than their neighbours south of the border.

Almost one-in-four Americans were found to have claimed charitable donations on their tax return in 2017, and American tax-filers donated an average of 1.52 per cent of their income to registered charities in the same year, which is nearly three times the percentage Canadians claimed.

"Canadians might be surprised to learn that Americans are far more generous when it comes to claimed donations to registered charities, and that’s been the case for many years," Fuss said.

Unfortunately, the proof is in the numbers. 

The study found that the average dollar amount claimed in Canada was $1,800 CAD compared to $6,751 USD in the U.S., while the lowest average claim of any state ($3,512 USD in Rhode Island) was still higher than the highest average claim of any Canadian province ($2,703 CAD in Alberta).

"Most notably... the index shows that private monetary generosity in Canada is considerably lower than in the United States," the study points out. 

"This generosity gap undoubtedly limits the ability of Canadian charities to improve the quality of life in their communities and beyond."

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