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) 91 cents are available for programs.

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About Bruce Trail Conservancy:

Bruce Trail Conservancy is a 5-star rated charity with best practice in financial transparency and above average accountability to donors as seen in the A results reporting grade. For every dollar donated to this charity, 91 cents go to the cause. This is within Ci's reasonable range for overhead spending. 

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 F2021, Bruce Trail Conservancy spent 95% of program costs on Land Acquisition and Management, Conservation, and Trail and 5% on all other programs including memberships, communications, and Bruce Trail Enterprises. 

BTC’s conservation work occurs mainly through its Land Acquisition and Management, Conservation, and Trail 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 over 900 km of main trails and over 400 km of side trails. BTC’s staff and volunteers help to monitor the quality of the 13,000 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 F2021, BTC secured 5.7 km of the Bruce Trail, bringing the natural corridor closer to being entirely secured. BTC also added ten new protected areas, containing 1,027 acres of forest, wetland and meadow. Of this acquisition, 523 acres were secured at Cape Chin, representing the largest single acquisition in the charity's history. The charity also reports it has maintained 1,366 km of the Bruce Trail, in hopes of exploration. 

This program also protects the biodiversity of species in the Niagara Escarpment, which is home to provincial parks, conservation authority lands, a portion of the Bruce Trail, and private lands at risk of development. In F2021, volunteers cared for and cleaned up 264 protected natural areas. Ecologists also made 47 observations of 19 species of conservation concern in these areas.

Other Programs account for 5% of BTC’s program costs in F2021. 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 12,976 members in F2021. BTC also records over 30,000 participants in various social media initiatives.

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Results and Impact

Due to its effort in securing 5.7 km of route in F2021, BTC reports that 69% of the Bruce Trail is now permanently protected from development. BTC continues working toward protecting the remaining 31%. In F2021, ten new protected natural areas covering 1,027 acres were preserved. The charity also recorded 19 species at risk living on BTC-managed land. In total, BTC has protected 86 at-risk species through its conservation programs.

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 $13.2m in donations in F2021. It also received $129k in government funding and $1.5m in donated land and easements during the year. Administrative costs are 5% of revenues (less investment income) and fundraising costs are 4% of cash and land donations. This results in total overhead spending of 9%. For every dollar donated, 91 cents go to the cause. This is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

BTC has $7.9m in net funding reserves. This means the charity can cover 111% or 1.1 years 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 August 2, 2022 by Angelina Curwin.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending June
Administrative costs as % of revenues 5.5%8.1%10.4%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 3.9%6.1%7.7%
Total overhead spending 9.3%14.2%18.1%
Program cost coverage (%) 110.7%65.6%56.1%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 13,2019,0926,678
Goods in kind 1,462980
Government funding 1292274
Business activities (net) 2418796
Investment income 9172470
Other income 3416
Total revenues 15,9539,5326,863
Program costs 7,0707,3305,085
Grants 275437
Donated goods exp 1,462980
Administrative costs 825772708
Fundraising costs 566560512
Other costs 342414
Total spending 9,9848,8386,356
Cash flow from operations 5,969694508
Capital spending 241429
Funding reserves 7,8564,8442,873

Note: Ci included covid-19 government assistance, affecting revenues by $56k in F2021 and $192k in F2020. Ci classified donated land as goods in kind, affecting revenues and expenses by $1.5m in F2021, $98k in F2020, and $nil in F2019. Ci included endowment contributions and restricted funding for land purchases in donations, affecting revenues by $9.5m in F2021, $4.9m in F2020, and $3.5m in F2019. Ci included unrealized gains and foreign exchange gains in investment income, affecting revenues by $242k in F2021, ($206k) in F2020, and ($22k) in F2019. Ci reported investment income net of investment management fees, affecting revenues and expenses by ($17k) in F2021, ($23k) in F2020, and ($20k) in F2019. Ci reported Bruce Trail Enterprises revenue net of expenses in business activities, affecting revenues and expenses by ($289k) in F2021, ($116k) in F2020, and ($83k) in F2019. Ci reported land acquisition costs net of land sales in program costs, affecting expenses by $5.4m in F2021, $4.4m in F2020, and $2.8m in F2019. Ci reported contributions to Parks Canada Agency for the Driftwood Cove acquisition in program costs, affecting expenses by $nil in F2021, $1.4m in F2020, and $500k in F2019.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 23

Avg. compensation: $75,116

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 F2021

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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