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Donors Decrease but Giving Increases in Canada

(Nov. 5, 2007) Canadian giving reached an all-time high in 2006, growing by 8.3 percent to $8.5 billion, even as the number of donors shrunk by 1.4 percent to 5.8 million, according to new research by Statistics Canada.

Total giving increased in all provinces and territories, with Alberta (15.5 percent), the Yukon (15.2 percent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (13.9 percent) experiencing the highest gains. Ontario accounted for nearly half of all giving, followed by Alberta and British Columbia.

The national median donation increased for the tenth consecutive year to $250, an increase from $240 in 2005. Median donations increased in all provinces and territories as well, with Nunavut continuing to have the highest median donation at $450 (it has led in this category since 2000), followed by Prince Edward Island ($350) and Newfoundland and Labrador ($330).

Abbotsford, British Columbia, had the highest median donation ($620) among census metropolitan areas. Toronto was a distant second at $360, followed by Vancouver at $340. Abbotsford has reported the highest median donation for four consecutive years.

Donors Decline Everywhere

The number of donors declined slightly in all provinces and territories, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador, where the number remained relatively stable. Nunavut and the Yukon saw the greatest decreases in donors (4.7 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively).

One quarter of all tax filers claimed charitable donations, approximately the same percentage as in past years. Manitoba continued to have the highest percentage of tax filers who report a donation (28 percent), followed by Ontario (27 percent). That trend has been the same for the past 10 years.

A table with all of the provincial data regarding overall donations, median donation levels and number of donors is available in the Attachments section below.

About the Research

The data are based on information provided by tax filers who claimed a tax credit for charitable contributions on their income tax return for 2006. Members should be aware that because only amounts given to registered charities can be deducted, and since deductions for contributions can be carried forward for up to five years, the total level of charitable donations could be different than what is reported.  In addition, since tax filers can claim charitable deductions for gifts made by both themselves and their spouses, the actual number of donors may be higher than what is reported.

Statistics Canada is offering a new databank, Charitable Donors, that offers detailed data on giving for all of Canada—the provinces and territories, cities, towns, census metropolitan areas, census divisions, federal electoral districts, forward sortation areas (the first three characters of the postal code) and letter carrier routes. The databank can be purchased on the Statistics Canada website.

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