Charitable Giving, Are We Doing Enough?

December 13, 2018

Charitable giving is one of my core values. In 2016, Fraser Research published a report titled “Generosity in Canada and the United States” and it really triggered my competitive side. To my disappointment, of the tax filers surveyed, Americans are donating to charities at a higher percentage than Canadians. Canada’s rate of 21.3% to the USA’s 24.5% results in a difference of -3.2%. Even more so, Americans are also donating more of their total income to charity. Americans are donating 1.42% of income while Canadians are only contributing 0.56% of income (a difference of -0.86%).

So why the difference? Are Americans really that much more charitable then us? Should we even care?

Maybe we should stop comparing ourselves to Americans…

However you look at it, charitable giving is something I think that everybody should participate in. Donating doesn’t always have to come in the form of a monetary contribution. While donating funds is beneficial to many charities, donating your time can also accomplish the same result of allowing you to help others, make a difference, feel good and support a cause you believe in, while also give you the opportunity to meet new people and become part of a community.

I encourage everybody to find something they’re passionate about and help make a difference. If you need help finding a charity, CanadaHelps is a great place to start. This website has an explore feature to assist you with your search and also has “about us” and “impact” sections which outline key drivers for the charity. You can also use the Canadian Charities Listing website to verify that the charity is registered.

If you do decide to make a monetary charitable donation this year remember if you’re issued a tax receipt (which usually accompany donations over $20 to a registered charity) then you’re eligible for the charitable donation tax credit. The value of this credit varies between the provinces and territories but is worth 20.05% in Ontario, 25% in Alberta and 20.06% in BC. This means that’s every $100 donation in Ontario, would only cost you $79.95! The credit can be used for anything, but two of my favourites are using it towards your next donation or investing in yourself with an RRSP or TFSA contribution when you get your refund!

If we want to continue to compare ourselves to the US, wouldn’t it be great to come out on top in the next reports?

Remember, you have until December 31st this year to make an eligible donation and receive the tax credit come tax time.


Dylan Wilson

Cattelan Private Wealth Counsel Team