Charitable donations reach lowest level in a decade

par Andrew Rickard | December 16 2016 01:30PM

Not only are fewer Canadians giving to charity, but they are also donating a smaller percentage of their incomes. Americans tend to be more generous than we are.

A report from The Fraser Institute reveals that only about one in five Canadian taxpayers claimed a charitable donation in 2014 (the most recent year for which data is available), down from the one in four who did so in 2005. The study shows that the size of the donations is also shrinking, down to 0.56% of aggregate income in 2014 from the 0.78% peak recorded in 2006.

Authors Charles Lammam, Hugh MacIntyre, and Feixue Ren note that Americans tend to be more generous than Canadians. In the United States, they say that 24.5% of US tax filers donate to charity and they gave 1.42% of their aggregate income. Canada makes a particularly poor showing when measured according to the average value of charitable donations in local currency: the report reveals that average US donation was US$5,807 per year, which is more than three and a half times the average Canadian donation of CA$1,618 a year.

"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," says Lammam, who is also director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute.

The complete study is available on The Fraser Institute web site (PDF)