December 17, 2015 10:05 am
Updated: December 17, 2015 11:05 am

Charitable giving down across Canada; Manitobans remain most generous: study

WATCH: A new study suggests fewer Canadians are giving less to charity than they used to. Dallas Flexhaug reports.

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CALGARY – With just over a week before Christmas a new study suggests fewer Canadians are giving to charity, and those who are donating are giving less than they used to.

The Fraser Institute’s 2015 Generosity Index, released on Thursday, measured donations to registered charities claimed on personal income tax returns across Canada and the United States in 2013.

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The study found 21.8 per cent of Canadian tax filers donated to charity that year, down from 25.1 per cent in 2004.

According to the right-leaning think-tank, Canadians also donated a smaller percentage of their income to registered charities in 2013, giving 0.56 per cent of their total income, compared to 0.61 per cent the previous year.

Among the provinces, from 2003 to 2013, every province saw a drop in the percentage of tax filers donating to charity, with Saskatchewan seeing the largest proportional drop from 27.1 per cent to 23.4 per cent.

“With charitable giving on the wane, Canada’s private charities face greater challenges in terms of securing the resources to help those in need,” said Charles Lammam, study co-author and Fraser Institute director of fiscal studies in a news release.

In 2013, Manitoba had the highest percentage of tax filers that donated to registered charities (25.3 per cent) while New Brunswick had the lowest among the provinces (20.0 per cent).

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In terms of the average dollar value of donations, the study found Alberta ($2,372) topped all provinces while Quebec, ranked last at $735, less than half the national average of $1,574.

The study also compared charitable giving in Canada to the United States, saying that Canadians lagged far behind their American counterparts.

In 2013, 25 per cent of American tax filers donated to charity compared to 21.8 per cent of Canadians. Similarly, Americans gave a much higher percentage of their income to charity (1.39 per cent) than Canadians (0.56 per cent).

“When it comes to donations to registered charities, Canadians may be surprised to learn that they are much less generous than Americans,” said Ben Eisen, associate director of provincial prosperity studies at the Fraser Institute.

WATCH: Sandra Crozier-McKee and Leah Brownridge from the Better Business Bureau join Global Calgary with details on how to ensure you’re not taken advantage of when donating to charities

 

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