Canadians over the age of 65 volunteer more hours and donate more money on average to the causes that are important to them than any other age group. Their dedication to giving back amounts to more than $4 billion raised for charities1
and other non-profit organizations, and nearly $11 billion in economic value generated through volunteering.2
Through their contribution of time and resources, older adults are providing essential programs and services, creating stronger social bonds in our communities and driving positive change in society.
“When you retire, you’re not giving up. You’re simply changing direction.”
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Revera commissioned a national survey of 1,000 Canadians over the age of 65 and held roundtable discussion groups with 150 residents living in Revera’s Retirement Residences and Long Term Care Homes across Canada to better understand why Canadian seniors give back, and how they hope to shape the future of our country.
We learned that older Canadians choose to give their time and money because they have a strong desire to make a positive contribution and share their abilities with their community. According to the national survey entitled the Report on Giving Back, 94 per cent of older adults believe that Canadians should do all they can to contribute to making a better world. Additionally, 89 per cent of Canadian seniors believe that they can play a significant role in working towards solutions to the issues affecting the world.
“When you retire, you’re not giving up. You’re simply changing direction,” said a resident at Hollyburn House Retirement Residence in West Vancouver, British Columbia.
Canadians are some of the most charitable people in the world. According to a 2016 study by the Charities Aid Foundation, Canada has the third highest rate of charitable donations as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), behind the United States of America and New Zealand. In 2017, Canadians donated nearly $9.6 billion to charities and other non-profit organizations. Incredibly, Canadians over the age of 65 contributed 42 per cent of all donations, equaling more than $4 billion, with an average individual donation of $2,500,3
which exceeds the national average by a remarkable 40 per cent.
Canadians are also generous when it comes to giving their time to help others. In 2017, it is estimated that more than 13 million Canadians volunteered, contributing nearly 2.1 billion hours4
to helping others or supporting causes that were important to them.
Volunteer Canada calculates the value of volunteers to non-profits and the economy at $27 per hour. Accounting for 2.1 billion hours volunteered, this represents a total value of $55.9 billion and approximately 1.2 million full- and part-time jobs.5
Seniors are most likely to be considered super volunteers — that is, people in the top quarter in terms of hours volunteered.6
According to the most recent data on the topic, Canadians 65 and older contributed 19.5 per cent of the total volunteer hours.7
Assuming a similar participation rate in 2017, the value of Canadian seniors’ volunteerism would have an economic impact of $10.9 billion.