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) 86 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 F2020, Bruce Trail Conservancy spent 85% of program costs on Land Acquisition and Management and 15% on all other programs. It does not provide a breakdown of spending for its other programs, which include Bruce Trail Clubs and Memberships, Bruce Trail Enterprises, Landowner Relations, and Trail Development and Maintenance.

BTC’s conservation work occurs mainly through its Land Acquisition and Management program. BTC acquires land in one of five main ways. The charity solicits full land donations from owners of properties along the Bruce Trail. BTC also accepts partial donations, whereby owners 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 accepts both trail easements and life interest agreements that allow landowners to retain ownership or continue to live on their property. In return, landowners set aside the land for conservation and grant BTC permission to maintain and care for it.

The Bruce Trail currently includes 909 km of main trails and 444 km of side trails. BTC’s staff and volunteers help to monitor the quality of all 1,353 km of the Bruce Trail, but the charity only considers sections of the trail to be “permanently protected” once it legally acquires the land for conservation. In F2020, BTC added 11 new protected areas, containing 545 acres of land and 6.5 km of the Bruce Trail. It now manages 11,998 acres of land along the Niagara Escarpment, protecting more than 600 km of the Bruce Trail and its Optimum Route. The Optimum Route refers to paths through scenic areas that explore the best of the Escarpment.

Other Programs account for 15% or less of BTC’s program costs each year. These include various benefits for BTC members and landowners. Members of Bruce Trail Clubs receive benefits such as guided hikes, online webinars, access to special events, and quarterly Bruce Trail Magazines. The charity reported 10,157 members in F2020, of which 953 attended online BTC webinars during the year. BTC also funds initiatives to develop and improve the Bruce Trail for visitors and hikers. In F2020, it helped to create or reroute 30 km of the Bruce Trail, including seven new side trails.

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Results and Impact

Due to its conservation work, BTC reports that 69% of the Bruce Trail is now permanently protected from development. BTC continues working toward protecting the remaining 31%. In F2020, the charity recorded 13 species at risk living on BTC-managed land. In total, BTC has protected 84 at-risk species through its conservation programs. In 2019, 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 additional 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. This charity is not yet rated on impact (n/r).

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Bruce Trail Conservancy received $9.1m in donations in F2020. It also received $227k in government funding and $98k in donated land and easements during the year. Administrative costs are 8% of revenues (less investment income) and fundraising costs are 6% of cash and land donations. This results in total overhead spending of 14%. For every dollar donated, 86 cents go to the cause. This is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

BTC has $4.8m in net funding reserves. This means the charity can cover 66% or nearly eight months of annual program costs with its existing reserves.

In F2019, BTC entered a new agreement with Parks Canada 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. BTC reports in its financial statements that it gave out $500k in F2019 and $1.4m in F2020.

Charity Intelligence has sent this update to Bruce Trail Conservancy for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on June 30, 2021 by Eric Zhao.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending June
Administrative costs as % of revenues 8.1%10.4%12.0%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 6.1%7.7%9.2%
Total overhead spending 14.2%18.1%21.2%
Program cost coverage (%) 65.6%56.1%218.8%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 9,0926,6784,863
Goods in kind 980121
Government funding 227418
Business activities (net) 8796134
Investment income 247067
Other income 4168
Total revenues 9,5326,8635,211
Program costs 7,3305,0851,791
Grants 543734
Donated goods exp 980121
Administrative costs 772708617
Fundraising costs 560512460
Other costs 241414
Total spending 8,8386,3563,037
Cash flow from operations 6945082,174
Capital spending 14299
Funding reserves 4,8442,8733,993

Note: Ci included covid-19 government assistance, affecting revenues by $192k in F2020. Ci classified donated land as goods in kind, affecting revenues and expenses by $98k in F2020, $nil in F2019, and $121k in F2018. Ci included endowment contributions and restricted funding for land purchases in donations, affecting revenues by $4.9m in F2020, $3.5m in F2019, and $2.8m in F2018. Ci included unrealized gains and foreign exchange gains in investment income, affecting revenues by ($206k) in F2020, ($22k) in F2019, and $62k in F2018. Ci reported investment income net of investment management fees, affecting revenues and expenses by ($23k) in F2020, ($20k) in F2019, and ($22k) in F2018. Ci reported Bruce Trail Enterprises revenue net of expenses in business activities, affecting revenues and expenses by ($116k) in F2020, ($83k) in F2019, and ($135k) in F2018. Ci reported land acquisition costs net of land sales in program costs, affecting expenses by $4.4m in F2020, $2.8m in F2019, and $487k in F2018. Ci reported contributions to Parks Canada Agency for the Driftwood Cove acquisition in program costs, affecting expenses by $1.4m in F2020, $500k in F2019, and $nil in F2018.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 20

Avg. compensation: $81,006

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 F2020

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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


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001