Canadians generous to charitable causes

  • October 29, 2006

An Investors Group study into inheritance has found that about $1 trillion will pass from Canada’s older generation into younger hands by 2020. A lot of that money is bound to wind up in the hands of individuals, particularly the 9.9 million Canadian baby boomers now between 46 and 66 years old.

Charities, including churches, are trying to ensure they get a fair share of the largest transfer of wealth in Canada’s history, particularly in view of decreased government support for church-run social programs.

Some facts about the economics of charities in Canada:

  • According to Statistics Canada, 85 per cent of Canadians over the age of 15 in 2004 gave a total of $8.9 billion to charity.
  • The average charitable contribution comes to $400.
  • Religious organizations receive 45 per cent of all donated dollars in Canada.
  • While wealthy individuals and households give larger dollar amounts, the donors with the lowest incomes gave the greatest percentage of their income.
  • The top one-quarter of donors giving $325 or more in the course of 2004 provided 82 per cent of the total value of all donations.
  • The top 10 per cent of givers, who gave $870 or more, account for 62 per cent of the money charities received from private donors.
  • The Toronto firm Investor Economics estimates Canadian discretionary assets will amount to $3.4 trillion by 2012.
  • If Canadians give the same $8.9 billion to charity in 2012, that will amount to 0.26 per cent of their discretionary assets.

Sources: Statistics Canada 2004 Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, Canadian Giving six-part series by Todd Cohen.

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