What it means to be a good Canadian citizen

Research | June 24, 2020

The consensus is that Canadians are proud about caring. 

This Canada Day, you may be wondering how you can best demonstrate and express your Canadianness. Especially while avoiding crowds. According to research, it may be the ways we support others that matter most. Expressing your personality through generosity is something people see as very Canadian. 

In 2011, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) conducted a comprehensive overview of what Canadians view as being a good citizen. According to this survey, helping others or neighbours was one of the most popular ways mentioned for someone to be a good citizen. 

This is also supported by a 2016 survey by Abacus Data, which found that Canadians rated our “sense of caring for the world around us” as one of the top ten things that make us proud. Also on the list were Canadian hero Terry Fox (#2), “open-mindedness towards others” (#3), the Rocky Mountains (#5), and maple syrup (#6).

Being kind leads to feeling like a good Canadian citizen

If we get technical, the legal definition of being a citizen falls under Canadian nationality law, most recently updated in 2017. Those statutes essentially cover who is eligible to be a citizen, how citizenship can be applied for, and how it can be revoked. 

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms establishes the basic rights of all Canadian citizens, such as each citizen’s fundamental freedoms and democratic rights. These may not entirely represent what makes up that intangible feeling of being Canadian. 

When it comes to what makes someone personally feel like a good citizen, it’s about being kind. Goodwill is seen as even more important than more formal citizenship rights and requirements (like paying taxes and voting). 

According to the 2011 ICC survey, volunteer work (34%) and being kind and generous to others (26%) are what Canadians expressed as making them feel like good citizens, over paying taxes (21%), obeying the law (20%), and voting in elections (17%). Donating to charities also made the list (12%), next to being an active participant in one’s community (10%).

Canadians value giving back to community

Other values that Canadians see as aligned to being good Canucks include treating men and women equally, with 95% saying it is very important to being a good citizen. 

According to the survey, “half of Canadians each say being a good citizen means actively participating in the local community (51%), sharing common values (51%), displaying pride in Canada (e.g., by celebrating Canada Day) (51%) or volunteering (49%), while four in ten each say it includes giving to charity (42%).”

Most Canadians want everyone to be able to contribute as citizens on their own terms, meaning volunteering or contributing when and how they are able to. Lack of time and money are seen as barriers to one’s ability to be a good citizen. 

At Charitable Impact, we know that giving feels good but that sometimes you may not feel ready to give to a particular cause or charity. Even if you don’t know where you want to give and express your generosity, you can add money to an Impact Account today to give tomorrow. Open an Impact Account and start investing in your brighter future. 

If you feel inspired to create an impact, then Charitable Impact is here for you. With our free Impact Account, you can support all of your favourite causes from one place. Add funds to your account at any time, take the time and space to plan your impact, and then send gifts from your account to the causes you care about. Sign up for a free account today to get started!

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