Canadians among world's most generous in charitable giving

By 
  • September 17, 2010
Bill SteinburgTORONTO - Canadians are a giving people, according to report released by the Charities Aid Foundation America.

In the Alexandria, Va., foundation’s 2010 World Giving Index, Canada ranked third in terms of charitable behaviour.

The report tracks how willing a nation’s people are to help those in need.


“It’s great to see Canadian charitable giving and Canadians’ generosity recognized,” said Bill Steinburg, manager of communications at ShareLife, the charitable fundraising arm of the archdiocese of Toronto. “And to see it recognized in any study is always positive.”

Areas measured include percentage of the population that has donated money to a charitable cause, percentage of the population volunteering time and the percentage of people who have helped a stranger. Canada scored 64 per cent, 35 per cent and 68 per cent, respectively.

Steinburg said the 68 per cent of Canadians who have helped a stranger speaks very much to the notion of the Good Samaritan.

“That’s something that informs our Catholicism. That’s part of who we are as Catholics,” said Steinburg.

“And to see Canadians lean strongly towards people that they don’t know is reassuring.

“I really think that if the numbers are correct, it should make us feel very proud as Canadian Catholics.”

Michael Fullan, executive director of Catholic Charities of the archdiocese of Toronto, isn’t surprised by these positive results.

“I think we’re very generous,” Fullan told The Catholic Register. “I think we have much to give and I’m glad to see that we’re sharing what we have.”

Fullan said what impresses him about Canadian Catholics is the willingness to donate to those at home and abroad.

“You know how they say charity begins at home? Well, I think for Canadians, charity begins at home but also includes home as the world.”

Although Canada ranked third, there was only a six-per-cent difference between Canada and the top-ranked country, Australia, said Jasmine Fortin, director of advancement with the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, the international development arm of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“And if you look at percentage of population who have helped a stranger, we’re in first place,” said Fortin.

Speaking to Canada’s ranking of 35 per cent of the population who have given time, Fortin offers an explanation.

“The younger generation doesn’t have the same mindset of giving time,” said Fortin.

“They’re more into giving money so it’s getting harder to find volunteers.”

New Zealand ranked second on the index while the United States came in fifth spot.

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