Backgrounder

The Government of Canada Invests in Major Land Securement Project on Vancouver Island

Ducks Unlimited Canada has secured 210 hectares (518 acres) of conservation lands with support from Environment Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) and Ecological Gifts Program. The total project value of $3 million includes $1.13 million provided through Environment Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP), a $300,000 financial contribution from the Comox Valley Regional District and a generous property donation totaling $1.12 million from the Evans Family, who are now eligible for enhanced income tax benefits for their donation under the Ecological Gifts Program.

What is the Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP)?

In March 2007, as part of a commitment to conserve and protect Canada's natural environment, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the Government of Canada would invest $225 million in the Natural Areas Conservation Program. The Program helps non-profit, non-government conservation organizations secure ecologically sensitive lands to ensure the protection of our diverse ecosystems, wildlife and habitat.

As of July 2010, under the Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) over 142,000 hectares (351,384 acres) have been conserved, protecting habitat for over 100 species at risk. This is more than 70 per cent of the target for the Program and it has been achieved in less than three years.

To carry out the objectives of the Program, the Government of Canada entered into an agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. As part of that agreement, the Nature Conservancy of Canada partners with non-government conservation organizations such as Ducks Unlimited Canada and other qualified land trusts. These organizations must provide matching funds for each federal dollar received.

Using a science-based process, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and its partners work to acquire ecologically sensitive lands through donation, purchase or stewardship agreements with private landowners.

Under the Program, priority is given to lands that are nationally or provincially significant, that protect habitat for species at risk and migratory birds, or that enhance connectivity or corridors between existing protected areas such as National Wildlife Areas, National Parks and Migratory Bird Sanctuaries.

The Natural Areas Conservation Program is expected to result in the long-term protection of up to more than 200,000 hectares of ecologically sensitive land across Canada and complements the Government's other important conservation initiatives and investments, including the Ecological Gifts Program.

What is the Ecological Gifts Program?

The Ecological Gifts Program is a national Environment Canada program that promotes ecological stewardship by facilitating enhanced income tax benefits to Canadians who generously donate ecologically sensitive land to conserve important wildlife habitats and ecologically sensitive land across Canada. To date, the Program has conserved 137,741 hectares of ecologically sensitive land with a property value of $551 million.

The Ecological Gifts Program works to develop and build partnerships so that communities, businesses, and individual Canadians can help in conserving and protecting nature and leave a legacy for future generations. 

The Ecological Gifts Program supports individual or corporate landowners who are creating a natural legacy for current and future generations by facilitating significant income tax benefits. Each donation helps form part of a network of protected areas that reaches across every habitat type and region in Canada. Through the formation of this network, Canada’s wildlife and natural heritage can remain abundant and diverse.

The Program is administered by Environment Canada under the federal Income Tax Act. Since 1995, Ecological Gift donations have been eligible for special tax benefits. Changes to the Income Tax Act introduced in the 2000 and 2006 federal budgets have since enhanced the available income tax benefits.

In addition to the charitable donations tax credit (for individuals) and the charitable donations deduction (for corporations), donations made on or after May 2, 2006, and certified under the Ecological Gifts Program are exempt of tax on any capital gains that have accrued in respect of the property. 

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