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Charitable donors, 2015

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Released: 2017-02-22

Total donations reported by Canadian taxfilers rose to $9.1 billion in 2015, up 3.8% over 2014.

The largest increases were in the Northwest Territories (+8.1%), British Columbia (+7.1%) and Manitoba (+5.7%). Nunavut (-5.0%) had the largest decrease in donations in 2015. In 2014, the largest increases were in Alberta (+5.4%), Manitoba (+4.6%) and Saskatchewan (+3.1%).

While the dollar amount of charitable donations increased in 2015 over the previous year, the actual number of donating taxfilers fell by 47,840 (-0.9%) to 5,495,900. The number of donors fell in every province and territory except British Columbia (+0.7%) and Manitoba (+0.4%), which experienced modest increases. The largest decrease in donors was in Nunavut (-7.2%).

As with the drop in the number of donors, the proportion of taxfilers who claimed charitable donations also decreased. In 2015, 21.0% of all taxfilers claimed charitable donations, compared with 21.4% in 2014. Manitoba (24.6%), Prince Edward Island (22.9%) and Saskatchewan (22.4%) had the highest percentage of taxfilers declaring a donation, the same top three as in 2014.

Nationally, the median donation was $300 in 2015, meaning that half of those claiming a donation gave more than $300, while the other half gave less than $300.

Although Nunavut had proportionately fewer donors than other provinces and territories, it had the highest median donation ($570) among taxfilers claiming charitable donations. Alberta had the next highest median donation amount at $450, followed by British Columbia with $430. The lowest median donation amount was in Quebec at $130.

Among census metropolitan areas (CMAs), donors in Abbotsford–Mission, British Columbia, had the highest median charitable donation at $720. This was the 14th consecutive year that Abbotsford–Mission led the country with the highest median donation. Saskatoon and Vancouver tied for second, each with median donations of $450, followed by Calgary with a median donation of $440.

  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. To verify if a charity is registered under the Income Tax Act, taxfilers can consult the Charity Listings available from the Canada Revenue Agency webpage.

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 2015 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 is higher than the number who claimed tax credits.

Another source of donation data at Statistics Canada is the "General Social Survey - Giving, Volunteering and Participating". This survey collects information on all monetary donations reported by individuals, regardless of whether or not the donation resulted in a tax credit.

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, provinces and territories, 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, province and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations.

The technical reference guide Investment Income, RRSP Contributions and Charitable Donations, T1 Family File, Preliminary Estimates (Catalogue number72-211-X), presents information about the methodology, concepts and data quality for the data available in this release.

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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