The five most charitable places in Canada—with two ties!

April 02, 2020
5 min read

Caroline Dobuzinskis

Sr. Manager, Digital Marketing Content

Banners of most charitable towns in Canada

We set out to find the top 5 most generous places in Canada and found 7 small communities with big hearts (with 2 ties for 3rd and 4th place!). 

Even during this turbulent and difficult time, we have seen the continued and resolute compassion of Canadians. We know Canadians have always been generous.

The Canadian “caremongering” trend has been making headlines around the world during the coronavirus crisis. Citizens are coming together to build support networks for friends, neighbours, and strangers alike. 

Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we looked into how Canadians give across the country. Research analysis by Charitable Impact has revealed Canada’s most charitable places, based on the percentage of income given to charity. Taking the title of the most generous community is Steinbach, Manitoba, a town of about 15,000 people located 58 kilometres south of Winnipeg.  

Top 5 most charitable places in Canada — with two ties!

Listed below is the full list of top 5 charitable places (with 2 ties), in order of rates of donations as a percentage of income.* The data is based on tax filing information provided to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The population numbers are based on 2016 Canada Census data.

  1. Steinbach, Manitoba (pop. 14,753), 4.17%

  2. Winkler, Manitoba (pop. 14,311), 3.33%

  3. Lacombe, Alberta (pop. 12,442), 1.38% (tie)

  4. Abbotsford, B.C. (pop. 121,279), 1.38% (tie)

  5. Miramichi, N.B. (pop. 17,537), 1.21% (tie)

  6. Chilliwack, B.C. (pop. 73,161), 1.21% (tie)

  7. Lethbridge, Alberta (pop. 117,394), 1.11%

Among these seven leading communities, residents give on average between around 1% and 5% of their post-tax income to charity. This is significantly higher than the nationwide average on charitable giving, which sits below 1% of income (0.6%). 

Notably, the amount of charitable giving by Canadians has been declining year after year. The most recent data from the CRA shows a 20-year low (from a peak of 0.75% in 2007 to a low of 0.54% in 2017).

*This data is based on an analysis of data from Statistics Canada. The timelines of the available data vary by municipality: Miramichi, Chilliwack, and Lethbridge from 2008 to 2017; Abbotsford from 2007 to 2017; Steinbach and Lacombe from 2012; and Winkler only from 2016. 

The most charitable provinces

Zooming out to the provincial scale, we have identified the three most charitable provinces. These numbers are based on the percentage of income donated to charity, according to the analysis of data from the CRA: Manitoba tops the list with 0.76%, followed by British Columbia at 0.65% and Alberta at 0.60%. At the provincial level, the averages did not edge past the one percent point of income. 

Despite the general decline being seen in giving, there are still some stand outs in Canada. 

Canada’s charitable landscape

Here at Charitable Impact, we went headlong into our research expedition on the geography of giving in Canada. Out of curiosity, we set out to discover the compass points of giving—meaning the communities housing the northernmost, southernmost, westernmost, and easternmost charities in the country.

Below are the charity compass points (based on data from the Canada Revenue Agency):

  • North – Arctic Bay, Nunavut (located still another than 1,000 kilometres from Canada’s northernmost town of Alert, Nunavut)
  • South – Pelee Island, Ontario
  • East – Middle Cove, Newfoundland 
  • West – Old Crow, Yukon Territory

Also, we discovered that among towns housing a charity or charities: 

  • Ste-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, Quebec, has the longest name. 
  • Ayr, Ontario; Emo, Ontario; Gem, Alberta; Guy, Alberta; Low, Quebec; Lyn, Ontario; and Oka, Quebec all have the shortest names. 

While we did find some common trends, the diverse charitable landscape revealed itself to be broad-reaching. There are more than 85,000 registered charities across the country. 

The importance of giving

Now, perhaps more than ever, is a time to give as a donor—if you can. Individuals, charities, and small businesses are feeling the effects of an economic downturn. At the same time, many charities and non-profits are facing increased and emerging demands on their services. 

Charitable Impact is here to support your giving. By looking at your budget and giving priorities, you can decide whether you can commit to giving. Our Impact Account can enable you to give immediately, even if you don’t know what charities you would like to support. 

Charitable Impact is here to support your giving. If you want to learn or talk about how to get more engaged to help support charities, reach out to us. Get in touch by phone (1-877-531-0580), chat (, or email ([email protected]).