Here is an interesting quote from the CCVO newsletter.   “Albertans…more Scrooge than Saint? The recent stats on charitable donations from Statistics Canada placed Alberta close to the top with the second highest median donation. However Maclean's took it one step further and compared median donations as percentage of median total income. When you compare Alberta to other provinces this way we come in second last.  Albertans give a smaller amount as a % of our income.”

Here is link the Statistics Canada report and the Maclean's article “No, Alberta is not the most generous province in Canada“.

A few points:

  1. Canadian charities issued about $14.6 billion in receipts but tax filers only claimed about $8.6 billion on their tax returns.  Many people don't claim any deduction on their income tax filings even if they could.   Therefore, about $6 billion in receipted donations, not to mention billions in unreceipted donations, are not factored into these statistics.  I guess these are what statisticians calling “rounding errors”.  
  2. The stats can figures are based on what people declare on their income tax returns and  don't exclude “donations” made to abusive charity gifting tax schemes.  Luckily this is only about $100 million at the moment.  In 2006 it was $1.3 billion and therefore that skewed the numbers even further in the past.
  3. We should never confuse generosity with official donation receipts appended to an income tax form.   Think of the $15 billion sent by people in Canada to relatives and friends in developing countries as remittances.  No tax receipts there – not even a question on the tax return on that issue.   When you send your kid to a religious day school (and often get a very large donation receipt) you are providing the education that you want for your children – it is not being “generous”.    Also when you put money into a private foundation or donor advised fund you are receiving a tax receipt- you cannot use the money for your own personal benefit, but you still have some degree of control over how the funds will be used (more with the private foundation and less with the donor advised fund were you can “only” “recommend” which charity will receive the funds one day in the future.   
  4. If you work less, earn less money and volunteer more in your community according to this line of thinking that makes you less generous!