Landowners can donate gifts of ecologically sensitive land to environmental charities approved by the federal Minister of the Environment, as well as to federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments. Collectively, these organizations are called recipients.

Prairie Pond
Photo by CWS

There are currently more than 150 eligible recipients across Canada, including land trusts and nature conservation groups. In order to be eligible to receive an ecological gift donation, an environmental charity must:

  • have registered charity status with the Canada Revenue Agency and maintain this status from year to year;
  • have as one of its primary purposes “the conservation and protection of Canada’s environmental heritage” or some similar statement of purpose acceptable to the federal Minister of the Environment; and,
  • apply to Environment Canada for eligibility.

How a charity becomes eligible

To apply for eligibility, a registered charity must send a request in writing to:

National Secretariat, Ecological Gifts Program
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
351 St. Joseph Blvd.
Gatineau, QC K1A 0H3
Telephone: (800) 668-6767
Fax: (819) 994-4445

The application package must include:

  • full contact details (business address, email address, fax and phone numbers);
  • an explanation of the mission of the organization and some examples of the types of projects it undertakes;
  • the organization’s Charitable Registration Number and a complete certified copy of the organization’s Letters Patent, incorporation papers or other governing documents that include the full statement of objects or purpose;
  • an expression of the organization’s willingness and demonstration of its financial and human resource capacity to receive and manage ecological gifts;
  • a demonstration that the organization has adopted, or a board resolution that the organization has made a commitment to work towards, adopting a recognized national or provincial set of ethical and technical guidelines for the responsible operation of a land trust to guide the organization’s land securement and management practices; and
  • a dissolution or winding–up clause that is compatible with the requirements of the EGP.

A response from the National Secretariat can be expected within six weeks. If the request is urgent, include that information in the cover letter and the assessment process may be expedited.

A charity that is interested in receiving an ecological gift in Quebec also has to comply with the criteria of the ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs.

Private foundations

Ecological gift donations to private foundations are acceptable under the Ecological Gifts Program, but are not eligible for the tax benefits of reduced capital gains. For more information, please contact the Canada Revenue Agency.

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