The Charities Aid Foundation in the UK has been publishing a World Giving Index for a number of years. It compares donations, volunteering and helping strangers in about 130 countries. Overall Canada comes in 2nd. Although such an endeavour is quite subjective, it is certainly better than trying to equate donations on a tax form with "generosity".
The recommendations in the report are well worth repeating:
Governments around the world should:
- make sure not-for-profit organisations are regulated in a fair, consistent and open way
- make it easy for people to give and offer incentives for giving where possible
- promote civil society as an independent voice in public life and respect the right of not-for-profit organisations to campaign
- ensure not-for-profit organisations are transparent and inform the public about their work
- encourage charitable giving as nations develop their economies, taking advantage of the world’s growing middle classes
Canada can certainly do better in terms of "respect the right of not-for-profit organisations to campaign" and governments and charities should do more on "ensure not-for-profit organisations are transparent and inform the public about their work". The work of non-profits and charities is too important to have it only be a small clique of the chosen few able to have important information on their work.
Here is an interesting graphic:
You can read the full report at:
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Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.