I can almost never find what I'm looking for at StatsCan, so bear with me while I take the long way around.
In 2012, Canadians gave $10.6 billion to charities. In Nova Scotia, people over 15 gave an average of $369, which works out to about $290 million.
The Grant Thornton tax planning guide says:
After factoring in provincial tax savings, donations in excess of $200 will save you anywhere from 40.2% to 50%, depending on your income level and province of residence.So taking the low figure, the $290 million in donations represents a government subsidy of $115 million. Federal plus Provincial. They forgo $115 million in tax receipts to encourage charitable activity.
There are lots of kinds of charities. Social Services and Health (no hospitals) represent 24% of giving. I'm guessing your donation to a cure for Cancer or Type 1 Diabetes falls into those categories.
Says David Duff in the Osgoode Hall Law Journal:
Critics of tax incentives for charitable contributions have raised two objections to these indirect subsidies as a way of providing financial support to the charitable sector. First, tax incentives are an inefficient way to subsidize charitable organizations, costing more in foregone revenues than they produce in increased contributions. Second, tax expenditures for charitable contributions lack the rationality, controllability, accountability, and transparency associated with direct government expenditures.Another problem is that there isn't a charity to match every worthy cause. Improved private infrastructure, which would equal a cure for many people using wheelchairs, just isn't a recognized charity. You can make a tax deductible donation to cure Cerebral Palsy, but not to Jennifer's of Nova Scotia for a ramp, which amounts to the same thing in a very specific case.
So it seems entirely appropriate to me that government extend the same nonrefundable tax credits to business that they do to individuals. Set a limit for sure, but underwrite 40% of accessibility expenses. Think of it as the best vehicle for the worthy goal of social equity. Not a gift to business, but a fulfillment of the Charter promise of equality