Facilitating the protection and restoration of species and ecosystems at risk on BC’s South Coast

A Conservation Legacy

Landowners interested in ensuring that sensitive ecological features on their property are protected in perpetuity have several options available to them, generally split into two categories: land donation or a conservation covenant. 

A conservation covenant is a legally-binding voluntary agreement placed on land title by a landholder and an authorised organization (such as a Land Trust/Conservancy) that aims to protect the natural values of a piece of land. For more about the establishment, benefits, and monitoring of conservation covenants, see West Coast Environmental Law’s report Greening your Title and their document on the tax implications surrounding protection of private land titled Giving it Away.

Another document that provides a good summary of the options available to landowners who want to protect their land is The Land Trust Alliance of BC's Green Legacies: A Donor’s Guide for BC.

Land Trusts, also known as Conservancies, are non-profit organizations that are committed to preserving and restoring ecologically valuable areas. Land Trusts conserve land in various ways including land acquisition, land donation or holding conservation covenants. For more information about BC’s Land Trusts and the tools they use see the Land Trust Alliance of BC.

One Land Trust operating on the South Coast is the Fraser Valley Conservancy, which in addition to protecting ecologically sensitive land, monitors endangered species populations and undertakes wildlife education and outreach. Other Land Trusts are Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Nature Trust of BC.

One option for maximizing the tax benefits of your conservation legacy is with Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program - either in the form of land donation or a conservation covenant placed on the land to protect sensitive areas. To be eligible, the land must be assessed by Environment Canada.

Ecological gifts ("ecogifts") receive tax treatment that is superior to most other charitable gifts including:

  •     eliminated taxable capital gain on the disposition of the property
  •     no income limit for calculating the tax credit/deduction
  •     donation value certified by the Government of Canada
  •     tax liability for donees that do not protect the gifted land

*Every case is different - seek professional advice.