Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

600-100 Gloucester Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 0A4
Executive Director: Sandra Schwartz
Board President: Laura Colella

Charitable Reg. #:10686 5272 RR0001


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

[Charity Rating: 4/5]


Most recent Audited financial statements 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) 78 cents are available for programs.

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About Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society:

Founded in 1963, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) works to protect Canada's natural environment. Its main goal is to help Canada protect at least 25% of its land and oceans by 2025 and 30% by 2030. CPAWS states that at least 30% to 70% of land and ocean systems need protection to sustain vital ecosystems. CPAWS consists of a national office in Ottawa and 13 regional chapters.

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society runs two main programs: Conservation and Conservation Awareness.

Conservation programs were 93% of program spending in F2020. CPAWS works with government agencies to protect Canadian wildlife, parks, and oceans. In F2020, CPAWS helped to protect an extra 135 hectares of land in the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes park in Nova Scotia. It also added two new protected regions in partnership with First Nations groups in F2020. These included the Peel Watershed, encompassing 55,858 km² of the Yukon, and Thaidene Nëne, spanning 26,376 km² of the Northwest Territories. To protect oceans and water bodies, CPAWS advocates for the designation of certain regions as marine protected areas (MPAs). In 2019, CPAWS reported that Canada added two new MPAs in the American Bank and Laurentian Channel, adding up to an area of 12,580 km².

Conservation Awareness made up 7% of program spending in F2020. CPAWS runs educational programs through its 13 chapters across Canada. In February 2020, CPAWS co-hosted the Nature-Based Climate Solutions Summit in Ottawa, bringing together 12 partner agencies and 450 activists. CPAWS also runs an annual Canadian Wilderness Stewardship Program (CWSP) to inspire future conservationists. The program consists of a CPAWS-led trip to a regional watershed in need of protection, a community service project, and an annual convention. The charity offers CWSP in four regions: New Brunswick, Ottawa, Manitoba, and Southern Alberta.

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Results and Impact

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society states that as of December 2017, Canada had only protected 10% of its land and 4% of its oceans. As of F2020, CPAWS reports that its efforts have helped Canada achieve 13% protection of land and 14% protection of oceans. CPAWS states that its new MPA in the Laurentian Channel helped to protect migration routes for 20 whale species in F2020.

While Ci highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s results and impact. This charity is not yet rated on impact (n/r).

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Ci consolidated the financial statements of CPAWS and its foundation for the following financial analysis. As such, Ci excluded fund transfers between the two charities.

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society received $6.1m in Canadian donations in F2020. It also received $3.0m in international donations (27% of revenues) and $1.6m in government funding (14% of revenues). Administrative costs are 13% of revenues (less investment income) and fundraising costs are 10% of Canadian donations. This results in total overhead spending of 22%. For every dollar donated, 78 cents go to the cause. This is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society has $10.7m in total funding reserves, of which $3.5m is donor-endowed. Excluding donor-endowed funds, CPAWS can cover 94% or less than one year of annual program costs.

According to its annual filing with the Charities Directorate, CPAWS paid external fundraisers $116k in F2020. It does not report how much these external fundraisers raised.

Charity Intelligence has sent this update to Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on June 8, 2021 by Eric Zhao.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending March
Administrative costs as % of revenues 12.7%12.0%16.8%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 9.7%9.5%17.4%
Total overhead spending 22.5%21.5%34.1%
Program cost coverage (%) 93.8%104.3%123.6%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 6,0635,5722,814
International donations 3,0012,2181,962
Government funding 1,572277313
Investment income (73)4212
Other income 51927657
Total revenues 11,0818,3865,159
Program costs 6,7074,8523,610
Grants 1,09096106
Administrative costs 1,421998862
Fundraising costs 590529489
Total spending 9,8096,4745,066
Cash flow from operations 1,2721,91193
Capital spending 401112
Funding reserves 10,6558,4355,938

Note: Ci consolidated CPAWS with its associated foundation for this financial analysis. As such, Ci removed all fund transfers between the two charities from donations and grants. The foundation transferred to CPAWS $23k in F2020, $23k in F2019, and $40k in F2018. CPAWS transferred to its foundation $91k in F2020, $45k in F2019, and $60k in F2018. Ci included endowment contributions in donations, affecting total revenues by $50k in F2020, $2.0m in F2019, and $100k in F2018. Ci reported international donations from the charity’s annual T3010 filings and removed the amounts from Canadian donations. Ci reported investment income from the charity’s T3010 filings and removed the amounts from other income. Ci included losses on subsidiary investments in investment income rather than costs, affecting total revenues and expenses by ($214k) in F2020, ($30k) in F2019, and ($nil) in F2018. Ci reported grants to qualified donees from the charity’s T3010 filings and removed the amounts from program costs. 

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 63

Avg. compensation: $49,576

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: 613-569-7226


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001