Caring Canadians, Involved Canadians: Tables Report, 2010


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    Appendix 1

    Glossary of terms

    Certain key variables or concepts are used frequently in the interpretations and tables in this report. Rather than defining these concepts in each section, an alphabetical summary appears below.

    Average annual donations

    This is the average amount donated by donors to charitable and other non-profit organizations during the 12-month reference period preceding the survey. It is not the average over the entire population.

    Average annual volunteer hours

    This is the average number of hours volunteers gave of their time on behalf of charitable and other non-profit organizations over the 12-month reference period preceding the survey. It is not the average over the entire population.


    These are 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. This definition excludes those who made donations of loose change to coin collection boxes located beside cash registers at store check-outs.

    Donor rate

    This is the percentage of a given population that made at least one donation of money to a charitable or other non-profit organization in the 12-month reference period preceding the survey.


    People who worked for pay or profit during the week preceding the survey are considered to be employed, as are those who had a job but were not at work for reasons such as illness, family responsibilities or vacation. Persons on layoff are not considered to be employed.

    Financial donation

    A financial donation is money given to a charitable or other non-profit organization during the 12-month reference period preceding the survey. Money given to the same organization, on multiple occasions, through the same solicitation method, constitutes only one donation. For example, all money donated to a particular religious institution over the 12 months preceding the survey, through a collection at the place of worship, would be considered to be a single donation.

    Not all donations reported to the Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating would be eligible for a tax receipt and thus would not be included in the T1 data.

    Household income

    Data on household income are based on total household income from all sources before taxes during the 12-month reference period. Items such as tips, commissions, alimony and child support are included.

    Mandatory community service

    This is unpaid help provided to a group or organization that was mandated, or required, by a school, an employer, a charitable or non-profit organization, or some other authority. The 2010 Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating includes mandatory community service in its estimates of volunteering.


    The median value is the statistical 'halfway point' of a distribution of values. The median donation, for example, is the value for which half of donors report higher donations and half report lower donations.

    Not in the labour force

    These are people who were neither employed or unemployed during the week preceding the survey. That is, a person who is either unable to work or not looking for work.


    Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating: Individuals aged 15 and older, living in one of the Canadian provinces or territories. Excluded are those who were institutionalized. Also excluded were full time members of the Canadian Armed Forces if they resided in the territories.

    Note: throughout this publication, the term Canadians is often used to refer to the survey population, even though some respondents may not have been Canadian citizens at the time of the interview.

    Reference period

    The reference period is the 12-month period preceding the survey. Interviews were conducted from September 14 to December 10, 2010.


    Unemployed people are those who, during the week preceding the survey, were without work but were not permanently unable to work, and had actively looked for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.


    These are 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.

    Volunteer rate

    This is the percentage of a given population that performed a service without pay, on behalf of a charity or other non-profit organization, at least once in the 12-month reference period preceding the survey.

    Appendix 2

    Data quality overview

    The 2010 Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (CSGVP) is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design. It was conducted as a Random Digit Dialling (RDD) telephone survey using computer-assisted interviewing for individuals living in the provinces. For the territories, the CSGVP was administered to a sub-sample of dwellings in the Labour Force Survey (LFS) . The RDD sample was composed of a list of telephone numbers sampled randomly. For both samples, one person aged 15 or older was randomly selected from each household to participate in the survey.

    The first module of the CSGVP included questions relating to volunteer activities. A pre-programmed random selection process gave respondents who did not volunteer a 32% chance of being screened-out of the survey at this point.

    Survey errors

    Sample surveys produce estimates based on information collected from, and about, a sample of individuals. Somewhat different findings would be obtained if a census—a complete count of all individuals in a population—was taken using the same method (that is, using the same questionnaire, interviewers, supervisors, and processing). The difference between the estimates obtained from the sample survey and the values that would be obtained from a complete count is called sampling error.

    Errors that are not related to sampling may occur at almost every phase of a survey operation. Interviewers may misunderstand instructions, respondents may make errors in answering questions, answers may be entered incorrectly on the questionnaire, and errors may be introduced in the processing and tabulation of the data. These are examples of non sampling errors.

    Non-sampling errors

    Over a large number of observations, errors occurring randomly will have little effect on survey estimates. Errors occurring systematically, however, will contribute to biased estimates. Considerable effort is made to reduce non sampling errors in a survey by implementing quality assurance measures at each step of data collection and processing. These measures include using skilled interviewers; providing extensive training on survey procedures and the questionnaire; conducting observation to detect problems in the survey design or instructions; implementing procedures to minimize data capture errors; and doing quality checks to verify data editing and coding.

    A major source of non-sampling error is the effect of non-response on the survey results. The extent of non-response varies from partial non-response (failure to answer just one or some questions) to total non-response.

    Partial non-response to a survey occurs when the respondent misunderstands or misinterprets a question, refuses to answer a question, or cannot recall the requested information. Commonly, these answers are coded as not stated.

    For certain key variables in the CSGVP, however, an imputation process was used to replace missing or inconsistent answers with a reasonable value. The imputed value was based on the experience of another respondent with similar or identical characteristics.

    For other variables, imputation was not performed and the variable remains not stated on the data file. In this report, when rates and percentages are presented for variables that have missing values for some records, the rate or percentage was calculated including only those records with a value. In other words, the records with missing values are not only excluded from the numerator, they are also excluded from the denominator.

    Total non-response occurs when the interviewer is unable to contact the respondent, or the respondent refuses to participate in the survey. For the 2010 Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (CSGVP), a non-response adjustment was made to the weight1 of respondents who completed the survey to compensate for those who did not respond and was calibrated to census projected age/sex totals. Previously, data from the 2007 CSGVP had been adjusted to align personal income categories with those from the Survey of Labour Income Dynamics in order to lessen the impact of higher non-response among people with lower incomes compared with people with higher incomes.

    That same adjustment was not possible in 2010 due to a lack of personal income data for respondents in the provinces. Without the adjustment, the 2010 estimates for total charitable donations were higher than comparable data from other sources, a phenomenon also noted in the unadjusted 2007 data.

    Due to the known correlation between personal income and total charitable donations, replacing the personal income adjustment with a total charitable donation adjustment was evaluated. The approach was validated by examining the changes in charitable donations reported by provincial tax filers covering the years from 2007 to 2010. The data indicated that the quartiles were more or less static after accounting for increases due to inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

    Three of the most important estimates produced by CSGVP are the volunteer rate, the total hours volunteered and the total charitable donations. The impact of the adjustment on the provincial estimates of total charitable donations was substantial. The impact on the volunteer rate and volunteer hours was more modest and similar to what was observed in 2007.

    By changing the methodology for 2010, the weighting procedure approached, as close as possible, the methodology used in 2007. The correlation between total charitable contributions and personal income; the static nature of the total charitable donation distribution over 2007 and 2010; and the Survey of Labour Income Dynamics adjustment implicit in the 2007 CSGVP weights were exploited to make the 2010 CSGVP data comparable to the 2007 CSGVP data.

    Sampling errors

    It is standard practice to indicate the magnitude of the sampling error for estimates from a sample survey. The standard error of the estimate, derived from the survey results, is the basis for measuring the size of sampling errors. However, because of the large variety of estimates from a survey, the standard error is usually expressed relative to the estimate to which it pertains. This measure, expressed as a percentage, is known as the coefficient of variation (C.V.). It is obtained by dividing the standard error of the estimate by the estimate itself.

    For example, suppose the survey estimates that 78% of Canadian volunteers reported a certain behaviour or characteristic. If this estimate has a standard error of 0.03, then the coefficient of variation of the estimate is calculated as:

    Open bracket, 0.03 on 0.78, close bracket, multiply 100% equal 3.8%

    A range with a known probability of containing the true value can be defined using the C.V. and the estimate. For example, with a 95% probability, the range around the sample estimate is found by adding and subtracting 1.96 multiplied by the sample estimate and by its C.V.2 In this case, the true value is in the range between 72.2% (78% – 5.8%) and 83.8% (78% + 5.8%), 19 times out of 20. Note that a lower C.V. is better since it indicates a statistically more precise estimate.

    For this report, survey estimates are put into one of three categories:

    • sample estimates with a C.V. less than 16.5%–unqualified;
    • sample estimates with a C.V. between 16.5% and 33.3%–noted with an E; and
    • sample estimates with a C.V. greater than 33.3%, or based on fewer than 30 respondents–noted with an F.


    In this report, counts have been rounded, but because the totals are based on unrounded data, they will not always equal the sum of individually rounded items. Percentages were usually rounded to units (occasionally to one decimal place) after they were calculated using unrounded data.

    For further information on data quality in general, see Statistics Canada's website. For further information on the data quality of the Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, please contact.

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    1. In a sample survey, weights are applied to individuals in the sample to produce estimates representative of the entire population.
    2. The calculation is 1.96 x 78% x 3.8% = 5.8%
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