EDITORIAL: Giving until it helps
Put aside for a moment any pro or anti bias you have for the Fraser Institute.
The conservative advocacy group’s latest report deals not with grading schools or government spending. It’s about how much Canadians donate to charity, a good subject for this time of the year.
The statistics seem to be indisputable — for some reason Manitobans are the most generous Canadians, at least toward charities.
For the 14th straight year, Manitoba led all provinces according to an analysis of donations to registered charities claimed on personal income tax returns.
Among provinces (using 2010 tax return figures), Manitoba had 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).
According to the report — Generosity in Canada and the United States: The 2012 Generosity Index — Prince Edward Island was the second-most generous province overall, followed by Saskatchewan.
Ontario and Alberta tied for fourth overall. Quebec was last among provinces for the 14th year in a row for reasons we can only speculate about.
While not ranking high overall, B.C. charitable donors finished second to Alberta ($2,298) in average dollar value per donation at $1,832.
The report notes that Canadians continue to be far less generous than Americans.
In the U.S., 26.7 per cent of tax filers donated 1.38 per cent of total income to registered charities. In Canada, 23.3 per cent of tax filers gave just 0.66 per cent of total income.
Any number of variables could skew the cold, hard numbers, including amount of disposable income per jurisdiction and how much money people might spend on their families rather than registered charities.
Still, it’s an excellent benchmark, and a reminder that there are many people with good hearts among us who put their money where their mouths are to help others less fortunate than themselves.
It’s also a reminder to slip some loonies to a charity between buying gifts and enjoying some Christmas cheer.
Receiving is sweet, but so is giving.