The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

December 20, 2010 06:32 ET

The Fraser Institute: Quebec Least Generous Among Canadian Provinces; Americans Continue to Outdo Canadians in Charitable Giving

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Dec. 20, 2010) - Quebec is again ranked as Canada's least generous province in terms of charitable donations, according to a new report from the Fraser Institute, Canada's leading public policy think-tank.

Quebec ranks 11th out of all provinces and territories on the overall index, ahead of only Northwest Territories and Nunavut. This the 12th consecutive year Quebec finished behind the other provinces, as measured in the Fraser Institute's annual report on private monetary charitable giving, Generosity in Canada and the United States: The 2010 Generosity Index.

This year's report found that in 2008 (the most recent year for which comparable data are available for both countries) Quebec residents donated just 0.31 per cent of the total income earned in the province to registered charities - the smallest share among all provinces and territories, except Nunavut. The percentage of Quebec tax filers who claimed a charitable donation on their income tax is just 21.8 per cent, ahead of only New Brunswick (21.1 per cent), Northwest Territories (18.2 per cent), and Nunavut (12.1 per cent).

"The generosity gap between Quebec and the rest of Canada is significant and persisting over time," said Filip Palda, Fraser Institute senior fellow and professor at the École nationale d'administration publique.

"Compared to other provinces, Quebec faces a dearth of private monetary charitable giving that drastically hampers the potential for charities across the province to make a difference in peoples' lives."

Generosity in Canada and the United States: The 2010 Generosity Index measures and compares private monetary generosity in Canada's 10 provinces, three territories, and in the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. using readily available data on the extent and depth of charitable donations as recorded on personal income tax returns. The complete report is available at www.fraserinstitute.org.

Manitoba again ranked as Canada's most generous jurisdiction overall, followed by Prince Edward Island and Ontario in a tie for second. Alberta placed third.

Residents of Manitoba donated the highest share of total income earned at 0.94 per cent—more than three times the amount donated in Quebec - followed by Ontario (0.88 per cent) and British Columbia (0.85 per cent). Had Quebecers donated the same share of total income as other Canadians, Quebec charities would have received an additional $1.4 billion in private monetary donations in 2008.

Top-ranked Manitoba had 26.7 per cent of tax filers donating to registered charities, compared to only 21.8 per cent in Quebec.

Quebecers also made the smallest average dollar value of charitable donations among all provinces and territories at $609, more than $350 less than the second-lowest average donation of $960, in Prince Edward Island.

In a comparison of 64 jurisdictions in Canada and the United States, Quebec placed 60th overall, ahead of only North Dakota, Northwest Territories, West Virginia, and Nunavut. Manitoba, Canada's highest-ranked jurisdiction, tied for 35th overall.

Utah continued its reign as the most generous jurisdiction in North America, with 33.7 per cent of tax filers donating 3.20 per cent of the total income earned in the state. For perspective, Utah residents gave more than 10 times the share of aggregate income donated by Quebecers.

No American state gave a lower share of its total income to charity than the 0.31 per cent donated in Quebec.

"The notion that Canadians in general and Quebecers in particular are more generous that Americans is a myth, at least when it comes to private charitable giving," Palda said.

In comparing Quebec and the United States at the national level, monetary generosity in the U.S. surpassed that of Quebec, with 27.3 per cent of American tax filers donating to charity, compared to 21.8 per cent of Quebec tax filers.

"Had Quebecers matched the generosity of their American neighbours by donating the same percentage of total income, Quebec charities would have received an extra $2.8 billion in private revenues," Palda said.

The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of 80 think-tanks. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org.

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