On March 21, 2012, Statistics Canada released its report Canada
Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating: Caring Canadians, Involved
Canadians: Tables Report, 2010 (the “Report”). As its title suggests, the Report addresses how Canadians
support each other directly or by volunteering at or donating to charitable and
non-profit organizations. The conclusions in the Report are based on data for
the year 2010, as well as comparisons of data collected in the years 2007 and
2010. Interviews of participants were conducted from September 14, 2010 to
December 10, 2010 regarding the preceding 12 month period. The Report is
available online at http://www.statcan.gc.ca/bsolc/olc-cel/olc-cel?catno=89-649-XIE.
This Charity Law Bulletin provides a brief review
of the findings of the Report. The Report provides important information for
charities and non-profit organizations about the trends in giving and
volunteering by Canadians.
B. VOLUNTEERING HOURS REMAIN STABLE
Since 2007, the total number of volunteer hours has
remained relatively stable. While the number of volunteers increased slightly
from 12,478 to 13,282 (in thousands), the total number of hours volunteered
remained basically static from 2007 at 2,067 hours (in millions). Canadians volunteered almost 2.1 billion hours in 2010. According to the
Report, this amount is equivalent to almost 1.1 million full-time jobs.
In addition, the Report states that Canadians volunteered
an average of 156 hours in 2010. As with the number of volunteers and volunteer
hours, the amount is relatively unchanged from 2007. However, a smaller proportion
of Canadians volunteered several hours, while the bulk of Canadians volunteered
for a few hours. In this regard, volunteers with the most hours were older,
widowed and no longer employed. These same individuals were also more likely to
not have children at home and to attend weekly religious services or meetings.
C. INCREASE IN DONATIONS
According to the Report, the total amount of money donated
by Canadians has remained generally the same from 2007. There was a slight
increase of donors from 22,841 (in thousands) in 2007 to 23,789 (in thousands)
in 2010. This increase in donors was accompanied by an increase of donations
from $10,429,330 (in millions) in 2007 to $10,609,533 (in millions) in 2010. As
well, the percentage of the population donating also remained much the same. Consistent with the data collected in 2007, 84% of Canadians, aged 15 and over
made a financial donation to a charitable or non-profit organization in 2010.
The average annual donation in 2010 was $446 per donor. This
was comparable to the average annual donation in 2007. Consistent with past
reports released by Statistics Canada, donors that gave the most were more
likely to be older. However, the Report provides further insight by indicating
that donors that gave the most were also more likely to have a higher household
income and formal education, or to attend weekly religious services or
D. GEOGRAPHIC TRENDS ACROSS CANADA
The Report has a table for each province and territory
that addresses the donor rate and distribution of donations, by personal and
economic characteristics. The age of the survey pool was 15 years and older. The
Report defines donor rate as the percentage of a given population that made at
least one donation to a charitable or non-profit organization in the 12-month
reference period preceding the survey.
The Atlantic provinces rated the highest with regard to
the donor rate to charitable and non-profit organizations, but donors from the
Western provinces tended to donate higher average amounts. The donor rates in
the Northwest Territories and Nunavut were the lowest with only 60% and 59% of
the surveyed population making donations in 2010, respectively. Average donations were the lowest in Newfoundland ($331), Nunavut ($344) and
With regard to Ontario, the average donor rate was 84.4%.
Consistent with recent trends, older Canadians in Ontario had not only higher
donor rates, but they also donated more. Ontarians aged 25 to 34 had a donor
rate of 80.2% and donated a total annual amount of $451.90 (in millions). In
comparison, Ontarians aged 45 and older had a donor rate in the range of 87.7%
to 89.3% and donated a total annual amount in the range of $1,061.40 to
$1,305.30 (in millions).
The Report also has a separate table for Canada and each
province and territory that addresses the volunteer rate and distribution of
volunteer hours, by personal and economic characteristics. The age of the
survey pool was 15 years and older. Volunteer rate is the percentage of a given
population that performed a service without pay, on behalf of a charity or
other non-profit organization, at least once in the 12-month reference period
preceding the survey.
The provinces with the highest volunteer rates were
Saskatchewan (58.2%) and Prince Edward Island (55.7%), which were well above
the national average of 47%. Nova Scotia had the highest average number of volunteer hours (207), which was
also above the national average of 156 hours. Québec ranked the lowest concerning both average volunteer hours (128) and
volunteer rate (36.7%). Interestingly, comparably low volunteer rates were also present in the
Northwest Territories (36.5%) and Nunavut (41.2%). However, the average number
of volunteer hours in Québec was outranked by both the Northwest Territories (173
hours) and Nunavut (152 hours).
In general, the Report presents a positive outlook on the
state of volunteerism and giving in Canada. The recent trend of higher donations
by older Canadians has been reinforced by the Report’s findings. As well, other
geographic trends relating to the donor rate, volunteer rate and the amount of
donations and hours volunteered were also established by the report. It will be
interesting to see whether and how this data may change in the coming years if
current initiatives to revise charitable giving incentives are implemented.