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What Canadian charities should you support in 2016?

When it comes to emptying out their pockets for a good cause, Canadians are lagging behind Americans.

According to recent study by the Fraser Institute’s 2015 Generosity Index, “Americans are much more generous than Canadians,” said Charles Lammam, the institute’s director of fiscal studies. “So much so that in some cases, they are 2-1/2 times more generous when we look at the share of income being donated.”

Don’t like the sound of that? Me either. Let’s prove them wrong. Check out these top charitable organizations worth supporting in the new year.

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Support girls in world’s poorest countries

Plan International’s Because I Am a Girl campaign was created to help girls living in the poorest regions of the world. Girls are more likely than boys to live in poverty, suffer from malnourishment and be denied health care and access to education, so the work Because I Am a Girl does is often crucial to those it serves. If you donate to the Because I Am a Girl campaign, your money will go to a variety of worthwhile programs working toward everything ranging from ending child marriage to supporting female entrepreneurs.

Help Syrian refugees resettle

Syrian refugees need your help now more than ever. The U.N. estimates that 13.5 million people urgently need help leaving the conflict zone, 6.5 million of whom are displaced from their homes. The Canadian government created the Syria Relief Fund in September 2015, with promises to match every charitable dollar donated to registered charitable organizations in response to the crisis in Syria.

This conflict has a high toll on Syrian women: “Women have been particularly affected by the violence in Syria and when they flee to neighboring countries,” explains Oxfam. “Forced and child marriage, rape and sexual harassment are common occurrences. Women and girls rarely report such incidents, and so they occur with impunity.”

A donation to Oxfam will be matched by the Canadian government and help them continue worthwhile projects, such as building washrooms with running water in a Jordan refugee camp and refugee settlements in Lebanon.

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Improve the lives of Inuit women in Canada

Women living in Inuit communities face unique challenges. Pauktuutit — an organization working to provide resources to Inuit women and their children — attempts to make their lives better through working to prevent abuse, advocating on behalf of the health and safety of Inuit women and providing counselling services to those who need it.

“Contemporary social conditions such as inadequate and overcrowded housing, high rates of unemployment and poverty, low educational attainment, food insecurity and more contemporary problems such as substance abuse and the highest rates of suicide in the country have contributed to Inuit regions having the highest rates of violence in the country,” the organization explains.

Pauktuutit needs your help given that in 2014 its president, Rebecca Kudloo, called out the federal government for not giving more funding to the organization: “With all the social ills in the North, it doesn’t make sense that we’re receiving very little money to help women deal with abuse.”

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Help women in conflict with the law

The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies helps women in prison and advocates on behalf of women criminalized by the law. Your donation will help local Elizabeth Fry Societies across Canada work to improve the “availability of community-based, publicly funded, social service, health and educational resources available for marginalized, victimized, criminalized, and imprisoned women,” while working to address issues such as poverty and racism in the justice system.

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