Bruce Trail Conservancy

55 Head St., Unit 101
Dundas, ON L9H 3H8
CEO: Michael McDonald
Board Chair: Leah Myers

Charitable Reg. #:11921 7578 RR0001


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

[Charity Rating: 5/5]



Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity’s website.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 82 cents are available for programs.

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About Bruce Trail Conservancy:

Founded in 1967, Bruce Trail Conservancy (BTC) is a membership-based charity working to conserve the Niagara Escarpment area. The Niagara Escarpment is recognized as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, meaning its residents work to balance the conservation of natural sites with sustainable land development. The Escarpment contains the Bruce Trail, Canada’s oldest and longest footpath. The charity has nine regional Bruce Trail Clubs that are each responsible for maintaining a section of the trail.

In F2019, Bruce Trail Conservancy preserved 11 new nature reserves, adding up to 4,178 acres of land. In total, BTC now manages 11,521 acres of land along the Niagara Escarpment, containing 599km of the Bruce Trail’s Optimum Route. The Optimum Route refers to paths through scenic areas that explore the best of the Escarpment. In F2019, BTC secured an additional 15km of the Optimum Route through their conservation efforts. The Bruce Trail’s main trail is now 912km, with 442km of side trails.

The majority of BTC’s conservation occurs through its Land Acquisition and Management program. BTC acquires land in one of four main ways. The charity encourages full donations or bequests of land from property owners along the Bruce Trail. BTC also accepts partial donations, whereby landowners donate at least 20% of the value of their land and receive cash for the rest. In some cases, Bruce Trail Conservancy uses its cash donations to purchase land at fair market value, as determined by a third-party appraisal. Finally, BTC negotiates agreements that allow landowners to retain ownership or continue to live on their property. In return, the charity receives permission to maintain and care for the land. Through these activities, BTC reports that the 15km it added to the Optimum Route in F2019 was greater than in any previous year.

BTC’s remaining programs account for around 10% or less of its program costs each year. This includes various programs such as membership benefits and landowner relations. Members of Bruce Trail Clubs receive benefits such as guided hikes, invitations to special events, and quarterly Bruce Trail Magazines. BTC reported that it reached an all-time high of 10,506 members in F2019. Throughout the year, volunteer Hike Leaders planned 1,500 guided hikes to members and visitors to the Bruce Trail.

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Results and Impact

Due to BTC’s Land Acquisition and Management program, 68% of the Bruce Trail is now permanently protected from urban development. BTC continues working toward protecting the remaining 32%. In F2019, Bruce Trail Conservancy committed to supporting Parks Canada’s acquisition of Driftwood Cove. This acquisition expanded Bruce Peninsula National Park by 9% and secured an unprecedented 8 km of the Bruce Trail.

While Ci highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of Bruce Trail Conservancy’s results and impact.

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Bruce Trail Conservancy is a large charity with donations of $6.7m in F2019. Administrative costs are 11% of revenues (less investment income) and fundraising costs are 8% of donations. This means that the charity’s overhead costs are 18%. For every dollar donated, 82 cents go to the cause. This falls within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. The charity’s funding reserves of $3.7m can cover 73% of annual program costs. This means that BTC has enough funding to cover 9 months of program costs.

Charity Intelligence records donations restricted for land purchases as revenue for BTC. Ci records the cost of acquired land as expenses. In F2019, the charity purchased a record amount of land throughout the year, funded by BTC donors. This has resulted in BTC’s F2019 revenue and expenses being significantly higher than in prior years.

In F2019, BTC entered a new agreement with Parks Canada Agency to contribute $1.9m toward acquiring the Driftwood Cove area by 2021. Ci records donations restricted for the Driftwood Cove land acquisition as revenue. Ci records contributions to Parks Canada Agency for the acquisition as expenses in the year they were incurred. In F2019, BTC reported that it gave $500k in contributions, meaning that it has a remaining commitment of $1.4m that it will contribute by 2021.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Bruce Trail Conservancy for review. Comments and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on May 28, 2020 by Eric Zhao.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending June
Administrative costs as % of revenues 10.5%12.0%11.3%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 7.7%9.5%11.1%
Total overhead spending 18.2%21.5%22.4%
Program cost coverage (%) 73.2%218.8%94.8%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 6,6534,8634,260
Goods in kind 0121864
Government funding 41851
Business activities (net) 9613450
Investment income 7067172
Other income 16824
Total revenues 6,8385,2115,421
Program costs 5,0851,7913,052
Grants 373427
Donated goods exp 0121864
Administrative costs 708617592
Fundraising costs 512460473
Other costs 14147
Total spending 6,3563,0375,015
Cash flow from operations 4832,174406
Capital spending 29961
Funding reserves 3,7483,9932,919

Note: Ci recognized donations of land in-kind, affecting total revenues and expenses by $nil in F2019, $121k in F2018, and $864k in F2017. Ci recognized restricted donations received for land purchases, affecting total revenues by $3.5m in F2019, $2.8m in F2018, and $1.3m in F2017. Ci reported Bruce Trail Enterprises revenue net of expenses, affecting total revenues and expenses by ($83k) in F2019, ($135k) in F2018, and ($64k) in F2017. Ci reported investment income net of investment management fees, affecting total revenues and expenses by ($20k) in F2019, ($22k) in F2018, and $22k in F2017. Ci reported unrealized gains (losses) in investment income, affecting total revenues by $8k in F2019, $72k in F2018, and $94k in F2017. Ci reported foreign currency exchange gains (losses) in investment income, affecting total revenues by ($30k) in F2019, ($10k) in F2018, and $5k in F2017. Ci reported land acquisition costs net of land sales in program costs, affecting total expenses by $2.8m in F2019, $487k in F2018, and $1.7m in F2017. Ci reported contributions to Parks Canada Agency for the Driftwood Cove acquisition in program costs, affecting total expenses by $500k in F2019.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 19

Avg. Compensation: $88,398

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2019

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Comments & Contact

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Charity Contact

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 905-529-6821