A new report shows tax deductible donations in Canada are down and charities are struggling to pick up the slack.

The report from the Fraser Institute shows that in 2014, 21 per cent of tax filers claimed a donation, down from 25 per cent ten years earlier.

“All provinces are experiencing declines of various degrees. The province with the largest decline is the province of Ontario,” said Charles Lammam, Fraser Institute. “The most generous is the province of Manitoba, but even then, it ranks 34th out of 64 jurisdictions in North America.”

The U.S. is putting us to shame with a much stronger track record of donations.

“We find that there is a large gap between the two countries, in fact we find that Americans donate 2.5 times that of Canadians,” he said. “It means first and foremost that charities will not have access to the resources they need to deliver critical services.”

Charities say their experience is bearing out the study’s observations. The Fur-Ever Homes Rescue Society just opened up a new shelter to save dogs both from Alberta and from high-kill shelters in Mexico and California. But after just one month of operation, they are already looking at shutting down due to lack of funds.

“It’s been particularly hard because we just coincidentally had a lot of vet needs, a lot of illnesses that needed attending to unexpectedly in November so it coincided with the opening of the centre and now we have Christmas,” said Erin McMillan, Fur-Ever Homes Rescue Society.

The Calgary Food Bank also knows what it’s like to struggle to help those in need.  The spirit of Christmas has come in the form of volunteers from Edo Japan Canada, who raised about $400,000 over the last six years for the Food Bank.

“This year, our campaign efforts, we are targeting about $65,000 for the season,” said Dave Minnett, Edo Japan.

But it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the need. The economy is to blame for the drop in donations, but the Fraser Institute says government policies are also hitting charitable giving hard.

“Higher taxes, increases in electricity that are going to hamper the ability of Canadian families and households to continue to donate,” said Lammam.

It’s not all bad news, though. The report only looks at donations claimed for taxes, not direct donations through routes such as GoFundMe.

“Canada has become our second largest market,” said Rob Solomon. “This year alone, we have seen $70 million donated on GoFundMe for Canadian campaigns and $140 million in total.”

As well, according to the latest Statistics Canada data from 2014, Canadians claimed $9 billion in tax deductible donations.

If you would like to help The Fur-Ever Homes Rescue Society keep its shelter open, log on here.