Travel Manitoba’s newest advertising pitch for the province has a distinctive pulse to it and it evokes an image that our province is truly a heart-warming place to be. I thought I’d follow up on this to see how true it really is.
Geographically, Manitoba is indeed Canada’s heartland and it’s also in the heart of North America. The big question, however, is whether we are living up to the image that this slogan is trying to project? How strongly does our heart beat? Statistics Canada can help us to find out.
Every three years, StatsCan publishes tables that measure the contributions of ‘caring and involved Canadians’. The latest results reveal that Manitobans are a generous lot, not only with their time but also with their money. In fact, in 2010, 52.9% of Manitobans over 15 years of age actively volunteered and participated in non-profit activities. They gave an average of 141 hours of their time that year for a total of 74 million hours. That’s impressive!
As well, I found that 86.2 % of Manitobans donated to various charitable causes throughout the province in 2010. Altogether, over 440 million dollars were donated in support of charitable organizations that year and the average annual donation of $519 was 16% higher than the national average. A different calculation using donations claimed by tax filers in 2011 put Manitoba’s average donation at 40% above the national average. That’s a number that we can be proud about!
These figures clearly illustrate that Manitobans care deeply about their community and contribute regularly to improve the well-being of those around them.
Noreen Mian, executive director of Volunteer Manitoba, also added that these figures do not account for many informal activities that are either not tabulated or that do not qualify for a tax receipt.
Add to this the fact that Manitoba has welcomed the highest number of refugees per capita in Canada last year (1,484), and we can safely say that we are truly living up to our latest slogan. Manitoba’s heart beats strongly and loudly!
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be finding out more about the actions that are taken by some of these caring individuals and why they find it important to contribute time and money to help build their community. You can look for those stories in the days ahead on CNC.