Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy

503 Davenport Road
Toronto, ON M4V 1B8
Executive Director: Robert Barnett
Board Chair: Saba Ahmad

Charitable Reg. #:88878 2570 RR0001


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

[Charity Rating: 4/5]



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) 99 cents are available for programs.

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About Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy:

Founded in 1997, Escarpment Biosphere Canada (EBC) aims to establish and maintain nature reserves across Ontario, with a focus on the Niagara Escarpment region. It seeks to conserve land with ecological, cultural, historic, or scenic value. EBC also educates and engages the public on conservation by facilitating unintrusive hikes and visits to its nature reserves. Its head office is in Toronto.

EBC’s main program is land conservation. It spent $396k on programs and received $8.2m in donated land and easements in F2020.

Escarpment Biosphere Canada uses two main approaches to conserve land: conservation agreements and land donations. It negotiates conservation agreements with landowners, which allow owners to create a list of restrictions on human uses of their property. EBC then takes responsibility for protecting the land and issues a tax receipt for an agreed-upon portion of the land’s market value. EBC also accepts land donations and severances, whereby owners transfer their land to a nature reserve held by the charity as either a donation or a discounted sale. EBC states that it typically offers tax receipts worth 60% to 97% of the value of a sale.

Currently, EBC has 192 nature reserves that span 70.8 km². It added eight new reserves covering 10.6 km² in 2021. EBC's reserves help to protect 18.5 km of shoreline along Lake Huron and 13.5 km along the Niagara Escarpment slope from development. The total value of its nature reserves is $27.6m.

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Results and Impact

EBC states that it has observed endangered, threatened, special concern, or rare species on 94 of its 193 nature reserves. Its reserves help to protect 64 different at-risk species, including 10 endangered species and 12 threatened species.

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

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Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy is a small charity, with donations of $255k in F2020. It also received $8.3m in donated goods ($8.2m in donated land and easements and $28k in supplies, travel costs, and equipment), representing 94% of revenues during the year.

Administrative costs are less than 1% of revenues (less investment income) and fundraising costs are less than 1% of cash and land donations. This results in total overhead spending of 1%. For every dollar donated to the charity, 99 cents go to the cause. This is not within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending of 65 to 95 cents to the cause. Charities above this range may be understating overhead costs.

EBC has $1.2m in net funding reserves. Excluding donated goods, the charity’s funding reserves can cover annual program costs for just over three years.

Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy’s auditors disclose related party transactions. In F2020, the charity paid its executive director $50k for management services, $12k for rent, and $11k for travel reimbursements. The executive director donated $23k in travel costs during the year.

According to its most recent CRA filing in F2019, EBC uses external fundraisers. It paid external fundraisers less than $1k to raise $13k in F2019, at a cost of $0.04 per dollar raised.

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

Updated on August 12, 2021 by Eric Zhao.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 0.3%0.7%1.8%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 0.3%0.5%0.1%
Total overhead spending 0.6%1.2%1.9%
Program cost coverage (%) 308.3%351.5%189.1%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 255795331
Goods in kind 8,2512,778956
Government funding 040
Business activities (net) 181146143
Investment income 5128(10)
Other income 98(3)
Total revenues 8,7473,7591,418
Program costs 396313310
Donated goods exp 8,2512,778956
Administrative costs 222826
Fundraising costs 28172
Other costs 341
Total spending 8,7003,1391,294
Cash flow from operations 47620124
Capital spending 191580
Funding reserves 1,2211,100587

Note: Ci classified donated supplies, travel costs, and equipment as goods in kind, removing the amounts from donations. To better reflect the charity’s operating cash flow, Ci included land donations and goods in kind in expenses under donated goods. This affected expenses by $8.3m in F2020, $2.8m in F2019, and $956k in F2018. Ci gathered government funding from available T3010 filings and removed the amounts from donations. Ci classified other earned income as business activities, which matches revenue from the sale of goods and services reported on the charity's T3010 filings. Its financial statements do not specify the nature of these goods and services. Ci typically reports business activities net of costs, but the charity does not disclose the costs of goods and services sold. Ci classified tax rebates as other revenue to match the charity's T3010 filings. Ci classified interest expenses and bank charges as other costs. Ci excluded depreciation costs.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 1

Avg. compensation: $27,580

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

Comments added by the Charity:

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Charity Contact

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 1-888-815-9575


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001