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Manitoba ranks as Canada’s most generous province but Canadians trail Americans in charitable giving

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Release Date: December 20, 2010

VANCOUVER, B.C.—Manitoba ranks as Canada’s most generous province, but once again Canadian charitable donations pale in comparison to those from Americans, according to a new report on private monetary generosity from the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank.

“Charities make indispensable contributions to communities across the country and many are dependent on individual donations. But the level of charitable giving varies greatly across Canada and the United States,” said Charles Lammam, Fraser Institute senior policy analyst and co-author of the report.

“This annual comparison of charitable giving provides insight into our level of generosity by tracking how many Canadians claim charitable donations on their income tax returns and how much they give.”

Manitoba topped all Canadian provinces for the 12th straight year in the Fraser Institute’s annual report on charitable giving, Generosity in Canada and the United States: The 2010 Generosity Index. 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 2008 data (the most recent year of comparable data available) on the extent and depth of charitable donations as recorded on personal income tax returns.

Among the provinces, Manitoba had the highest percentage of total income donated to registered charities (0.94 per cent) and the second-highest percentage of tax filers donating to charity (26.7 per cent).

Ontario 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 Ontario (27.0 per cent to 25.2 per cent) while Ontario had a higher percentage of total income donated to charities (0.88 per cent to 0.68 per cent).

Quebec ranked last among Canadian provinces on this year’s Generosity Index, with 21.8 per cent of tax filers claiming charitable donations and giving only 0.31 per cent of total provincial income.

In terms of the average dollar value of charitable donations, Alberta led the country with an average donation of $2,274. British Columbia was second at $1,820, followed by Ontario ($1,772) then Manitoba ($1,620).

The average charitable donation in Quebec was the lowest nationwide at $609—more than $350 less than that of PEI, the next lowest.

But even the most generous Canadians don’t match the level of charitable giving found in the United States. Monetary generosity in the U.S. surpassed that of Canada, with 27.3 per cent of American tax filers donating to charity, compared to 23.6 per cent of Canadian tax filers.

In comparing Canadian provinces to American states on the overall index, Canadian provinces and territories occupy six of the bottom 10 rankings, with Manitoba, Canada’s highest-ranked jurisdiction, ranking 35th overall.

“The notion that Canadians are more generous that Americans is a myth, at least when it comes to private monetary charitable giving,” Lammam said.

Utah maintained its status as the most generous jurisdiction in North America, with 33.7 per cent of tax filers donating 3.20 per cent of the total income earned in the state. Maryland is second, with 41.1 per cent of residents donating 1.71 per cent of total income.

For perspective, Utah residents gave more than 10 times the share of total income donated by Quebecers and more than three times the share donated by residents of Manitoba.

On a country-wide basis, Americans gave 1.38 per cent of their aggregate personal income to charity, almost double the 0.73 per cent that Canadians donated to charity.

“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 billion in private donations,” Lammam said.



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