According to a new information release from Statistics Canada, total donations reported by Canadian tax filers rose to $9.6 billion in 2017, up 7.7% from 2016. This increase more than offset a 2.6% drop in donations in 2016, which was associated with slower economic growth that year for provinces rich in natural resources. British Columbia had the largest increase for charitable donations (+18.9%) which followed a strong increase the previous year (+7.1% from 2015 to 2016). Nunavut (+13.5%) followed by Alberta and Nova Scotia (both up 9.1%) also experienced notable increases. For Alberta, this was in sharp contrast to the decrease the previous year (-10.7% from 2015 to 2016).
While the dollar amount of charitable donations increased in 2017 over the previous year, the number of donating tax filers fell by 48,840 (-0.9%) to 5,348,220, continuing a trend which started in 2011. The number of donors fell in all provinces and territories, except Quebec which experienced a modest increase (+1.0%). The largest decrease in donors was in Alberta (-4.4%) followed by Newfoundland and Labrador (-4.0%). Even in British Columbia, where the increase in the dollar amount of charitable donations was largest, the numbers of tax filers making donations fell slightly (-0.2%).
Nationally, the median donation was $300 in 2017, meaning that half of those claiming a donation tax credit made donations of more than $300, while the other half donated less than $300. Nunavut had the highest median donation ($560) followed by Alberta with $480 and British Columbia with $460. The lowest median donation amount was in Quebec ($130).
Tax filers age 65 and older have seen a gradual increase in their relative importance among donors. In 2007 they represented 24% of all donors, compared with 30% in 2017. This increase was accompanied by an even stronger increase in their share of the overall donations amount. In 2007 they were responsible for 30% of the total donation amount, while in 2017 they represented 42% of the total donation amount. Tax filers age 65 and older also had the highest average donation among tax filers in 2017 ($2,500). From 2007 to 2017, the strongest decrease in the proportion of donors was for tax filers aged 45 to 54. In 2007, they represented 24% of all donors, compared with 19% in 2017.