VANCOUVER, BC—Manitoba is the most generous province according to an analysis of donations to registered charities claimed on personal income tax returns, but Americans continue to be more generous than Canadians, concludes a new report from the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank.
“This is the 14th consecutive year that Manitoba has led all Canadian provinces in donations to registered charities,” said Charles Lammam, Fraser Institute associate director and co-author of Generosity in Canada and the United States: The 2012 Generosity Index.
“While there are differences in charitable giving between Canadian provinces, Americans on the whole continue to donate to registered charities at a higher rate than we do here in Canada. This generosity gap certainly limits the ability of Canadian charities to serve their communities and provide critical services to those in need.”
Generosity in Canada and the United States: The 2012 Generosity Index measures and compares private monetary generosity in Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories, and in the 50 US states and Washington, DC, using readily available data on the extent and depth of charitable donations recorded on personal income tax returns in the 2010 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 charities (26.2 per cent) and the highest percentage of total income donated (0.92 per cent).
Prince Edward Island was the second-most generous province on the overall index, followed by Saskatchewan in third. Both provinces reported 25.2 per cent of tax filers donating to charity, but PEI residents gave a higher percentage of provincial income than residents of Saskatchewan (0.83 per cent vs. 0.73 per cent). Ontario and Alberta tied for fourth overall, with 24.5 per cent of Ontario tax filers donating 0.75 per cent of total income earned in the province, compared to 24.2 per cent of Alberta tax filers who donated 0.81 per cent of provincial income to registered charities.
Quebec placed last among the provinces for the 14th year in a row, with 21.9 per cent of tax filers donating a mere 0.31 per cent of 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 $2,289. British Columbia was second ($1,832) followed by Manitoba ($1,697). Quebec was last among the provinces and territories at $641, less than half the national average of $1,469.
The report highlights the fact that Canadians continue to be far less generous than Americans. In the US, 26.7 per cent of tax filers donated 1.38 per cent of total income to registered charities compared to 23.3 per cent of Canadians who gave just 0.66 per cent of total income.
“Had Canadians donated to registered charities at the same rate as Americans, Canada’s charities would have received an additional $9.2 billion in private support in 2010,” Lammam said.
Among all provinces and states, Canada’s top-ranked Manitoba came in a mere 39th on the overall index. Utah was again the most generous jurisdiction in North America, with 34.0 per cent of tax filers donating 3.17 per cent of the state’s total income to charity—nearly three-and-a-half times the share of income donated in Manitoba (0.92 per cent).
Maryland was second overall, with 40.7 per cent of residents donating 1.70 per cent of total income earned in the state, followed by Connecticut with 36.6 per cent of tax filers donating 1.50 per cent of state-wide income.
“When it comes to donations to registered charities, Canadians may be surprised to find that they are much less generous than Americans,” Lammam said.