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Canadians are giving less to charity than they have in nearly 20 years: study

Click to play video 'New report says Canadian charitable contributions hit 20-year low' New report says Canadian charitable contributions hit 20-year low
A new report says charitable donations by Canadians have hit a 20-year low, and are lower than the amount given by Americans. Jill Bennett has the details.

A new study by Vancouver’s Fraser Institute suggests Canadians aren’t donating to charities like they used to.

The study released Thursday found Canadians donated 0.54 per cent of their income in 2017, the most recent year of available tax data.

Comparatively, Americans donated nearly three times that amount at 1.25 per cent.

The Fraser Institute calls it the lowest amount Canadians have donated since at least the year 2000.

READ MORE: Salvation Army says Vancouver Christmas Kettle donations down 76%

Vancouver’s Union Gospel Mission spokesperson Jeremy Hunka says while donations are falling, the need for help is going up.

“It’s a scary thing because at the same time, the needs are escalating,” he said. “That ultimately means people are suffering, people are struggling, and people are dying from things that would otherwise be preventable.”

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However, Hunka says he’s not surprised by what the study found.

“What the report showed is something that we’ve been seeing as a trend over the past several years,” he said. “We’re seeing fewer individual donors and those that are continuing to donate are actually donating less on average.”

READ MORE: Charitable giving in Canada drops to 10-year low, according to tax data

Just under 20 per cent of Canadian tax filers claimed charitable donations on their 2017 tax return, the study found. In the U.S., 24.9 per cent of taxpayers claimed they had donated.

The study says the most generous province was Manitoba, with 23.4 per cent of tax filers claiming charitable donations in 2017.

The rest of western Canada — Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C., in that order — was collectively behind Prince Edward Island (21.3 per cent) and Ontario (20.9 per cent), who came out in second and third place, respectively.

The least-generous province or territory was Nunavut with 7.2 per cent, with the other two territories rounding out the bottom three.

Manitoba remains the most generous province with an average donation of $2,109
Manitoba remains the most generous province with an average donation of $2,109. Fraser Institute
According to the study, the lowest average claim of any U.S. state was $3,512 USD in Rhode Island.That was still more than the highest average claim of any Canadian province, which was $2,703 CAD in Alberta.Overall, according to the index of charitable giving for all 50 American states (including Washington, D.C.) and all 13 Canadian provinces and territories, Utah was found to be the most generous.
Click to play video 'Charitable donations at a 20-year low in 2017' Charitable donations at a 20-year low in 2017
Charitable donations at a 20-year low in 2017