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Canadians are generous: Study
07 June 2006

Toronto, Canada: New data released today shed light on how key segments of the population support one another and their communities. The Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (CSGVP) surveyed 22,164 Canadians in 2004.

The findings highlight the involvement of teens, immigrants, and parents with children in the household and offers first-ever information about giving and volunteering in Canada's northern communities - but also reveals that the majority of this support rests on the shoulders of a small group of Canadians.

Fully 65% of teenagers volunteer for charities and nonprofits, representing the highest level of involvement of any age group. Immigrants
also stand out in the survey results, giving larger annual donations on average. The report also reveals that parents with school-aged children are more likely than others to volunteer their time.

"With this new information, charities and nonprofits can better engage Canadians to improve the quality of life in our communities," reports Dr. Michael Hall, vice president of research at Imagine Canada and lead author of the report.

Overall, Canadians donated nearly $9 billion and volunteered 2 billion hours in 2004. The bulk of this support comes from a narrow segment of the population: 21% of Canadians provide 82% of the value of all donations, and 11% of Canadians account for 77% of all volunteer hours. "Virtually all of us give time and money, but this reliance on so few suggests we've got some work to do," says Dr. Hall.

This comprehensive survey also reveals regional variations. The Yukon and Northwest Territories have the second and third highest rates of volunteering for an organization in the country, and residents of Nunavut have the highest rates of helping each other directly on their own (unpaid babysitting,providing medical or personal care, helping with taxes or shopping).

Workplace support is key in encouraging volunteering. Fully 57% of employed volunteers received some form of non-monetary support from their employer for volunteering; on average, volunteers who benefit from employer support also contribute about one-third more hours than other volunteers.

The Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating is conducted by Statistics Canada and was developed through a unique partnership of federal government departments and voluntary organizations.