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Charitable donors, 2012

Released: 2014-03-27

Both the amount donated to charities by taxfilers and the number of people reporting charitable donations fell from 2011 to 2012. Donations reported by taxfilers declined 1.9% to $8.3 billion in 2012, while the number of people reporting charitable donations on their 2012 income tax return decreased by 1.4% to 5.6 million.

The number of people reporting charitable donations was down in every province and territory except Nunavut (+1.8%) and Alberta (+0.5%).

In 2012, 22.4% of all taxfilers claimed charitable donations compared with 23.0% in 2011. Manitoba (25.4%), followed by Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan (both at 24.3%), had the highest percentage of taxfilers declaring a donation.

Nationally, the median donation was $270 in 2012, meaning that half of those claiming a donation gave more than $270 and half less. This was up slightly from 2011, when the median donation was $260.

Donors in Nunavut reported a median charitable donation of $490, the highest among the provinces and territories for the 13th consecutive year. Donors in Prince Edward Island and Alberta shared the second-highest median donation at $400. Donors in Quebec had the lowest median donation at $130.

Among census metropolitan areas, donors in Abbotsford–Mission, British Columbia, had, by far, the highest median charitable donation at $650. This was the 11th year in a row in which donors in this metropolitan area had the highest median charitable donation. They were followed by donors in Calgary and Vancouver with a median of $400.

  Note to readers

Canadians contribute in many ways to charitable organizations. These data include only amounts given to charities and approved organizations for which official tax receipts were provided and claimed on tax returns. It is possible to carry donations forward for up to five years after the year in which they were made. Therefore, donations reported for the 2012 taxation year could include donations that were made in any of the five previous years. According to tax laws, taxfilers are permitted to claim both their donations and those made by their spouses to receive better tax benefits. Consequently, the number of people who made charitable donations may be higher than the number who claimed tax credits.

All data in this release have been tabulated according to the 2011 Standard Geographical Classification used for the 2011 Census.

A census metropolitan area (CMA) is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a population centre (also known as the core). A CMA must have a total population of at least 100,000, of which 50,000 or more must live in the core.

Data on Charitable Donors (Catalogue number13C0014, various prices) and Canadian Taxfilers (Catalogue number17C0010, various prices) are now available for Canada, the provinces and territories, federal electoral districts, economic regions, census divisions, census metropolitan areas, census agglomerations, census tracts, and postal-based geographies. These custom services are available upon request.

CANSIM tables for this release are available for Canada, the provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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