Statistics Canada Reports Fewer Donations in 2022

By Esther S.J. Oh

Mar 2024 Charity & NFP Law Update
Published on March 27, 2024



On March 14, 2024, Statistics Canada released a new report concerning charitable spending in the 2022 year entitled Fewer charitable donors, less money donated in 2022. As its title suggests, the report states that the charitable sector had received significantly less donations that year.

In 2022, just under 5 million Canadian tax filers, constituting 17.1% of all tax filers, declared charitable donations, marking a slight decrease of 0.3% fewer declarants from the previous year, despite a 3.0% increase in the overall number of tax filers. The total amount donated in 2022 declined for the first time since 2016 (decreasing by 3.1% to $11.4 billion) despite the prior year’s significant increase of 11.5% in 2021, the largest surge since 2005.

Despite decreases in both the number of donors and total donations, there was a 5.6% rise in median donations to $380 in 2022. In this regard, there were 1.6% fewer donations of $499 (or less) and 1.4% more donations ranging from $500 to $25,000. In addition, there was a notable decrease in the number of tax filers reporting donations of $100,000 or more by 12.4% in 2022, after this figure had risen by approximately one third in 2021, with the total amount donated down by 13.4%. In summary, there were more mid-sized donations, although fewer large donations made in 2021.

The report found that there was an increasing proportion of total donations coming from tax filers with higher income levels. In this regard, the report states that in 2022, 6.2% of tax filers earning below $40,000 reported making a charitable donation, compared to 39.2% of those earning $100,000 or more. Despite comprising only 13.0% of all tax filers, individuals earning $100,000 or more remained the largest contributors to charitable giving, though there was a decrease in total donations from those with an income between $200,000 to $499,999.

Conversely, individuals with incomes of less than $40,000 represented 48.8% of all tax filers, but accounted for only 7.4% of total donations in 2022 (a slight decrease from 8.7% in 2021). The highest income group, earning $1 million or more annually, reported the highest median donation in 2022, followed by earners making $500,000 to $999,999, with both groups contributing over one-fifth (22.5%) of the total donation values reported. The above figures are not surprising, as lower income earners have had less disposable money to meet basic needs given the ongoing increases in costs of living, whereas higher income earners may be less impacted by the higher costs of living.

The report found older tax filers were more likely to make charitable donations. In 2022, 4.8% of tax filers under the age of 25 reported making charitable donations, but as the age of the tax filer rises this proportion rises and peaks at 23.9% for those aged 65 or older. While individuals aged 24 and younger provided 3.2% of the charitable donors, those aged 65 and older contributed significantly more, with seniors accounting for 34.2% of donors and making the highest median donation of $590.

For further analysis and information concerning donors based on their personal background and provinces of residence, reference may be made to the report.

As Canadians face higher costs and uncertainties in their ability to meet their own day-to-day needs, many have had fewer disposable resources to donate to the charitable sector. This unfortunately comes at a time when the charitable sector’s programs to help and support those facing various forms of challenges need it the most. It remains unclear how charities will cope with this new paradigm. 


Read the March 2024 Charity & NFP Law Update