Manitobans more generous than most Canadians
Manitobans still lead the way when it comes to giving to charities, even as the number of Canadians donating declines.
The Fraser Institute, a B.C. based think-tank, released a report Monday called 'Generosity in Canada and the United States,' which shows charitable giving is on the wane in Canada.
The study says 22.9 per cent of Canadian tax filers claimed a charitable donation in 2011. That's just slightly higher than the 22.5 per cent who did the same in 2009, but down from 25.1 per cent in 2005.
The percentage of their income Canadians give has slipped from 0.81 per cent in 2006 to 0.64 per cent in 2011.
Manitobans, however, gave 0.89 per cent of their income in 2011, topping the list for 15 straight years.
Manitoba also had the highest percentage of tax filers, with 25.9 per cent donating to charity in 2011, while New Brunswick, with 20.7 per cent, had the lowest.
The study also compared charitable giving here to that in the U.S.
The state of Utah heads the list south of the border. But on the combined list, Manitoba, the highest Canadian province, is in 35th place overall. Alberta and Saskatchewan tie for 45th.
Charles Lammam, co-author of the study, said the downward trend has a cost.
"This decline in charitable giving limits the ability of Canada's private charities to serve those in need," he said in a news release.
"Had Canadians donated in 2011 at the same rate as 2006, Canada's charities would have received an additional $2.3 billion in private donations in 2011, for a potential total of $11.1 billion."
Local charity says Manitobans donate more than just money
Executive director Gilbert Vielfaure of St. Boniface's Centre Flavie-Laurent, which distributes clothing and furniture to those in need, is not surprised to hear that Manitobans continue to rank high when it comes to donating to charities.
He said they also back that up with elbow grease.
"There's a lot of people with a caring attitude and very concerned and are ready to roll up their sleeves and not just pull out their wallet," he said.
Students from Winnipeg's Laura Secord School said giving makes them feel good.
Martina Barclay, a 10-year-old in grade five student, said she's proud her class raised raised $600 and collected a stack of food for Harvest.
"We do a lot of collecting food and [raising] money for Winnipeg Harvest," she said. "I think it's important just because of how important food is for your body."
Chester Friesen, 11, said people shouldn't go through life without helping others.
"By doing this, we are helping other people get food who don't usually get it every day," he said. "And therefore we're being equal. And that's a good thing."