The report, commissioned in 2003 by the then Scottish Executive and carried out by Roger Tym & Partners, also notes that 1,000 homes have been built along the canal.
By joining the Forth and Clyde Canal and Union Canal, the Millennium Link has restored the connection between Scotland's two largest cities after 70 years. Other developments include Edinburgh Quay and Falkirk Wheel, visited by 1.6 million people since 2003.
Transport minister Stewart Stevenson hailed the findings as proof of the waterways' vital role. "It is great to see evidence of a renaissance in our canals," he said at British Waterways Scotland's annual meeting.
"We have seen communities benefit from increased leisure, regeneration and environmental opportunities. Canals are a key resource for Scotland and we now have a chance to build on investment," he added.