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.
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.”
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.”
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.