According to Statistics Canada total charitable donations in 2007 were $8,648,660,000 ($8.6Billion) and in 2008 $8,189,280,000 ($8.1B).  I am not great at math but that seems to indicate a drop of about $450 million dollars.  That is only part of the story.

CP newswire reported “Statistics Canada says charitable donations dropped 5.3% last year” or “OTTAWA — Reported charitable donations surpassed $8.1 billion in 2008, down 5.3 per cent from 2007”

Paul Waldie of the Globe and Mail wrote an article entitled “Spirit of giving takes a bashing in Canada – Decline in donations is expected to be the biggest in 40 years as recession, tax shelter rules take their toll”

Now here is perhaps where it gets interesting.  According to CRA there was a drop in claims for abusive charity gifting schemes from about $1 billion in 2007 to $500 million in 2008.  See
https://www.canadiancharitylaw.ca/index.php/blog/comments/cra_succesfully_attacks_abusive_charity_gifting_tax_shelters/

Therefore it would appear to me that we actually had an increase in “real” charitable giving last year. 

So probably the headline should read “Donations to legitimate charities increased in 2008 as Canadians dig deeper to help charities. – But needs outpace donations, government contributions and earned income”. 

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 111-0001 – Summary of charitable donors, annual (number unless otherwise noted), CANSIM (database).
http://cansim2.statcan.gc.ca/cgi-win/cnsmcgi.exe?Lang=E&CNSM-Fi=CII/CII_1-eng.htm
(accessed: November 17, 2009)

—-

Mark Blumberg is a lawyer at Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto, Ontario.  To find out more about legal services that Blumbergs provides to Canadian charities and non-profits please visit https://www.canadiancharitylaw.ca or http://www.globalphilanthropy.ca  Mark can be contacted at mark@blumbergs.ca or at 416-361-1982.

This article is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice. You should not act or abstain from acting based upon such information without first consulting a legal professional.