Canadians lag far behind their U.S. neighbours when it comes to charitable giving, according to a new report by the Fraser Institute, a public policy organization.

The report ranked Canadian provinces and U.S. states using a combination of two measures: the proportion of income donated and the number of tax filers who donated any amount.

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A new report by the Fraser Institute shows Canadians give substantially less to charity than their American neighbours. ((iStock))

Americans gave an average of 1.38 per cent of their income to charities, while Canadians gave about half that amount, 0.73 per cent.

"Had Canadians matched the generosity of their American neighbours by donating the same percentage of total income, Canadian charities would have received an extra $8 billion in private donations," said Charles Lammam, author of the report.

The report uses income tax data from 2008, the most recent year available, to compare charitable giving by each province and U.S. state.

"This annual comparison of charitable giving provides insight into our level of generosity by tracking how many Canadians claim charitable donations on their income tax returns and how much they give," Lammam said.

People in Manitoba were the most generous in Canada, giving 0.94 per cent of their income to charities. On a dollar-value basis, Manitoba residents gave an average of $1,620 a year. 

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Food hampers are lined up at a Salvation Army warehouse in Montreal. Quebec ranked last among Canadian provinces in the percentage of tax-filers who donated to charity. ((CBC))

When ranked against U.S. states, Manitoba was 35th in terms of giving. Canadian provinces filled six of the bottom 10 positions in the ranking of annual giving.

Ontario and Prince Edward Island tied as the second most generous provinces in Canada. In P.E.I., the proportion of taxpayers giving to charity was 27 per cent, higher than Ontario. Ontario residents, however, gave a greater share of their income to charity, 0.88 per cent, which was higher than P.E.I., with a rate of 0.68 per cent.

Quebec was last among the provinces, with only 21.8 per cent of residents giving to charitable causes. Residents of Quebec gave 0.31 per cent of their income to charity.

Residents in Utah gave an average of 3.2 per cent of their income to charity, topping the list of U.S. states.