Statistics Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating

Warning View the most recent version.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.

Most Canadians provided either time or money to charitable and non-profit organizations. The top 25% of donors provided 82% of total donations, and the top 25% of volunteers contributed 78% of the total unpaid work.

A few donate the most money

The top 25% of donors – those who gave $364 or more – tended to be older, to have higher household incomes and to possess higher levels of formal education. Those who are employed, widowed, or attend religious services on a weekly basis, also tended to be in the top group of donors.

Note to readers

This release provides data from the 2007 Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (CSGVP). The 2007 survey is the fourth iteration of a series of surveys that began with the National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating in 1997 and 2000.

The CSGVP was developed through partnerships with federal government departments and voluntary sector organizations. These include Canadian Heritage, Health Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Imagine Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Statistics Canada and Volunteer Canada.


Donors: People who made at least one donation of money to a charitable or other non-profit organization in the 12-month reference period preceding the survey.

Volunteers: People who volunteered, that is, who performed a service without pay, on behalf of a charitable or other non-profit organization, at least once in the 12-month reference period preceding the survey. This includes any unpaid help provided to schools, religious organizations, sports or community associations.

The top 25% of volunteers – those who volunteered 171 hours or more – were widely distributed throughout the population. However, those who attend religious services on a weekly basis, those who have university degrees, and those with school-aged children in the household were much more likely than others to be top volunteers.

A few volunteer the most time

Almost 23 million Canadian, or 84% of the population aged 15 and over, made a financial donation to a charitable or non-profit organization during the 12-month period covered by the survey. During the same period, 12.5 million Canadians, or 46% of the population, volunteered their time through a group or organization. These rates were largely unchanged from 2004.

Canadians donated a total of $10.0 billion in 2007, up from $8.9 billion in 2004. In 2007, the average donation was $437, compared with $400 in 2004. These increases were not adjusted for inflation.

The total amount of time volunteered through groups and organizations amounted to about 2.1 billion hours, which was equivalent to almost 1.1 million full-time jobs. On average, volunteers contributed 166 hours each.

Religious organizations the biggest beneficiaries

Religious organizations were the biggest beneficiaries of charitable giving. They received more than three times the donations than did the second most popular type of organization.

Religious organizations receive the greatest support

Slightly over one-third (36%) of donors gave to religious organizations in 2007. These organizations received $4.6 billion, almost half (46%) of the total amount donated nationally.

Health organizations, the second biggest beneficiary of charitable giving, received money from 56% of donors, the largest support base. They collected $1.5 billion, or 15% of total donations.

Religious organizations received the largest percentage of volunteer hours (18%), followed by sports and recreation (17%), social services (16%), and education and research organizations (11%). These proportions were largely unchanged from 2004.

Provinces and territories

Provincially, the rate of volunteering in 2007 was highest in Saskatchewan, where 59% of the population aged 15 and over volunteered through a group or organization. It was followed by Yukon (58%), Prince Edward Island (56%) and Nova Scotia (55%).

The rate of volunteering through a group or organization increased slightly in most provinces and territories between 2004 and 2007. The largest increases were observed in Prince Edward Island (+9%), Nova Scotia (+7%) and Saskatchewan (+5%).

In terms of donations to charitable and non-profit organizations, the Atlantic provinces posted the highest rates, while people in the western provinces donated higher average amounts in general.

About 91% of the population aged 15 and over in Newfoundland and Labrador made a financial donation to a charitable or non-profit organization during the 12-month period covered by the survey. This was highest among the provinces and territories, and well above the national average of 84%.

Donors in Alberta each gave $596 on average in 2007, the highest among the provinces and territories. They were followed by donors in the Northwest Territories ($550), Yukon ($530) and Manitoba ($520).

Early experiences in life likely to increase participation

According to the survey, people were more likely to volunteer and donate to charities or non-profit organizations later in life if they had participated in a range of community or youth activities during their primary or secondary schooling.

These activities included participating in student government, a religious organization, a youth group such as girl guides or scouts, or an organized team sport.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 4430.

The publication Caring Canadians, Involved Canadians: Highlights from the Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, 2007 (71-542-X, free) is now available from the Publications module of our website. A paper version of the publication (71-542-XPE, $20) is also available. See How to order products.

For more information about the analysis in this release, contact Marnie Grona (416-597-2293 ext. 244), Imagine Canada.

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-800-461-9050; 613-951-3321; fax: 613-951-4527;, Special Surveys Division, Statistics Canada.