Salvation Army kettle volunteer Gillian Shearwater plays Christmas carols on her tenor recorder in front of Quality Foods on Dec. 11, 2019. This is Shearwater’s 10th year volunteering for the annual kettle campaign. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)

Amount Canadians donate to charity reaches 20-year low, B.C. study finds

Fraser Institute says B.C. ranks 54th when compared to other American states and provinces

The amount Canadians donate to charity — as a percentage of their income claimed on their taxes — has hit a 20-year low and lags far behind the amount Americans give, according to a new study by the Fraser Institute.

Less than one-in-five Canadian tax-filers, or 20 per cent, claimed charitable donations on their tax return in 2017, the most recent year of available data, the study found. That’s compared to 24.9 per cent —almost one-in-four— Americans.

The total amount donated by Canadians—just 0.54 per cent of income—is the lowest amount since at least 2000. Over that period, Canadians’ generosity peaked at 0.78 per cent in 2006. By comparison, American tax-filers donated 1.52 per cent of their income to registered charities in 2017, or nearly three times the percentage Canadians claimed.

“The holiday season is a time to reflect on giving, and with Canadians being less generous every year, charities face greater challenges to secure resources to help those in need,” said Jake Fuss, senior policy analyst with the Fraser Institute, in a news release this week.

In B.C., 19 per cent of people claimed charitable donations in 2017, with the average amount of $2,570.

Overall, according to the index of charitable giving for all 64 American states (including Washington, D.C.) and Canadian provinces and territories, Utah remains the most generous. Manitoba—which ranks 44th out of 64—is again the most generous Canadian province.

B.C. ranked 54th.


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