VANCOUVER, BC—Manitoba is Canada’s most generous province, but Canadians continue to trail their American neighbours on private charitable giving, according to a new report on private monetary generosity from the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank.
“By comparing the share of tax filers making charitable donations and the share of income donated to charities across North American jurisdictions, our report reveals a significant generosity gap between Canadians and Americans,” said Charles Lammam, Fraser Institute senior policy analyst and co-author of the report.
“This generosity gap undoubtedly limits the power and potential of charities to improve the quality of life of Canadian families that are in need.”
For the 13th year in a row, Manitoba ranked as the most generous province in Generosity in Canada and the United States: The 2011 Generosity Index, published annually by the Fraser Institute. The index measures and compares monetary generosity in Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories and in the 50 American states and Washington, D.C. using data on charitable donations as recorded on personal income tax returns in the 2009 tax year (the most recent year of comparable data available).
Among the provinces, Manitoba had both the highest percentage of tax filers donating to registered charity (26.0 per cent) and the highest percentage of total income donated (0.89 per cent).
Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island tied as the second-most-generous Canadian provinces on the overall index. PEI had a higher percentage of tax filers donating to charity than Saskatchewan (25.0 per cent vs. 24.7 per cent), while Saskatchewan had a higher percentage of total income donated to registered charities (0.72 per cent vs. 0.71 per cent). Ontario, Canada’s largest province, tied Alberta for fourth place with 24.2 per cent of its tax filers donating 0.74 per cent of total income to registered charities.
Quebec ranked last among Canadian provinces for the 13th year in a row, with 21.7 per cent of tax filers claiming donations to registered charities and giving only 0.30 per cent of total provincial income.
In terms of the average dollar value of charitable donations, which does not factor into the overall index, Alberta led the country with an average donation of $2,112. Nunavut was second at $1,721, followed by British Columbia ($1,685) then Manitoba ($1,633). Quebec was last among the provinces and territories at $606, less than half the national average of $1,399.
But even the most generous Canadians don’t come close to their American neighbours in terms of private charitable giving. Monetary generosity in the United States surpassed that of Canada, with 26.6 per cent of American tax filers donating to charity, compared to 23.0 per cent of Canadians.
Utah was by far the most generous jurisdiction in North America, with 33.4 per cent of tax filers donating 3.09 per cent of the total income earned in the state—nearly three-and-a-half times the share of aggregate income donated by Canada’s top province (0.89 per cent), Manitoba.
Maryland was second overall, with 40.8 per cent of residents donating 1.67 per cent of total income.
On a country-wide basis, Americans gave 1.32 per cent of their aggregate personal income to charity, more than double the 0.64 per cent that Canadians donated.
“Had Canadians matched the generosity of their American neighbours by donating the same percentage of total income, Canadian charities would have received an extra $8.3 billion in private donations in 2009,” Lammam said.