VANCOUVER / THUNDER BAY, ON ----- January 2, 2017 (LSN) The percentage of Canadians claiming charitable donations on their taxes—and the amount they’re giving as a percentage of their income—is the lowest it’s been in a decade, finds a new study by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.
What’s more, Americans are far more generous than Canadians, according to Generosity in Canada and the United States: The 2016 Generosity Index, which measures donations to registered charities claimed on personal income tax returns and ranks Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories, the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.
“The holiday season is a time to reflect on giving, and with Canadians becoming less generous every year, charities face greater challenges to secure resources to help those in need,” said Charles Lammam, director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute and the study’s co-author.
The study finds that 21.3 per cent of Canadian tax filers claimed charitable donations in 2014, the last year of available data, down from 25.1 per cent in 2004.
By comparison, 24.5 per cent of American tax filers claimed charitable donations in 2014.
Moreover, the size of Canadians’ charitable donations in 2014—0.56 per cent of their income—also shrunk to a 10-year low, down from 0.78 per cent in 2006, the peak over the past decade.
In total, Canadians claimed $9 billion in charitable donations in 2014. But had Canadians donated in 2014 at the same rate as in 2006, Canada’s charities would have received an additional $3.6 billion, for a potential total of $12.6 billion.
Americans gave 1.42 per cent of their income to charity in 2014—more than two-and-a-half times what Canadians gave.
“Many Canadians may be surprised to learn we are far less generous than Americans when it comes to charitable giving, and that’s been the case for many years,” said Ben Eisen, director of provincial prosperity studies at the Fraser Institute.
On the overall Generosity Index, Utah tops the list of 64 North American jurisdictions. Manitoba (37th place) remains the highest ranked Canadian jurisdiction followed by Prince Edward Island (44), Saskatchewan (48), Alberta and Ontario (tied for 50th), British Columbia (54), Nova Scotia (55), New Brunswick (56), Newfoundland & Labrador (58), Quebec (59), Yukon (60), the Northwest Territories (63) and Nunavut (64).
Percentage of Canadian tax filers in each province who claimed charitable donations