Nature Conservancy Canada

245 Eglinton Ave East, Suite 410
Toronto, ON M4P 3J1
President & CEO: John Lounds
Board Chair: Elana Rosenfeld

Charitable Reg. #:11924 6544 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) 65 cents are available for programs.

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About Nature Conservancy Canada:

Founded in 1962, Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) partners with people, corporations, and other non-profit groups to protect Canada’s natural environment. NCC acquires and maintains land across Canada to ensure the survival of at-risk plants and wildlife. NCC works with willing landowners to build natural corridors, protect valuable habitats, and maintain healthy ecosystems.

NCC’s main focus is its Natural Areas Conservation Program, which preserves forests, grasslands, and marine areas across all Canadian provinces. Through this program, NCC partners with regional land trusts and other charities, such as Ducks Unlimited, to expand its network of protected land. Since the creation of the program in 2007, NCC has conserved more than 550,000 hectares of land. In F2019, NCC secured a total of 224,073 hectares on 55 new properties. Of the land that NCC gained during the year, 10,944 hectares were forests, 1,987 hectares were grasslands, and 209,724 hectares were marine areas.

Through its Indigenous Conservation program, NCC partners with Indigenous nations to protect culturally significant land and wildlife. The charity currently reports on nine conservation projects that involved Indigenous communities. In F2019, NCC protected 3,300 km² of boreal forest in northeast Alberta, in partnership with the Tallcree Tribal Government.

NCC also provides funding and resources to other land trusts and conservation groups in Canada. Land trusts can apply for funding through NCC’s Other Qualified Organizations (OQO) program. The charity reports that as of March 2018, 66 projects received funding from the OQO program, representing 6,500 hectares of protected land.

In F2019, NCC announced that its NACP program would be renewed as a new Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) moving forward. The NHCP is a public-private partnership launched with a planned $100m investment from the Government of Canada. NCC has committed to raise funds and match the starting investment on a 2:1 basis. NCC’s goal is to protect an added 200,000 hectares of land through the program. 

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Results and Impact

Through its conservation programs, NCC states that it now protects habitats covering 34% of Canada’s at-risk species. Ranging from mammals to aquatic life, these species are officially designated as at-risk by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. NCC also reports that nearly 23 million Canadians live within 100 km of natural lands that it protected in F2019.

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

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Nature Conservancy of Canada is a Major 100 charity, with $40.3m in donations in F2019. The charity received $41.8m in government funding, representing 41% of revenue. In F2019, Nature Conservancy of Canada also received $11.0m in donated land ($12.7m in F2018), which is shown below as “Goods in kind” and “Donated goods exp”. Administrative costs are 10% of revenues and fundraising costs are 25% of donations, including donated land. This means that NCC spends slightly more than 35% on overhead costs. For every dollar donated to the charity, under 65 cents go to the cause. This is just outside of Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

NCC has $175.9m in funding reserves, of which $88.4m is donor-endowed and $21.0m is donor-restricted funds. Excluding donor-endowed funds, the charity’s program cost coverage ratio is 142%. This means that NCC can cover 17 months of annual program costs using its existing reserves. Excluding the donated land that NCC receives, funding reserves cover 173% or 21 months of annual program costs.

NCC's audited financial statements do not disclose government funding, administrative costs, or fundraising costs. Ci reported this information from the charity's unaudited filing with the CRA.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Nature Conservancy of Canada for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on June 3, 2020 by Eric Zhao.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending May
Administrative costs as % of revenues 10.2%11.0%9.4%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 25.1%21.1%14.6%
Total overhead spending 35.3%32.1%23.9%
Program cost coverage (%) 173.2%169.3%186.5%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 40,30037,25957,400
Goods in kind 11,00712,6568,567
Government funding 41,76937,24328,387
Business activities (net) 0291,004
Investment income 1,8865,13915,034
Other income 7,4546,3825,160
Total revenues 102,41698,706115,550
Program costs 40,21137,05737,556
Grants 14,73713,9118,709
Donated goods exp 11,00712,6568,567
Administrative costs 10,21010,2949,415
Fundraising costs 12,89910,5479,614
Total spending 89,06384,46473,861
Cash flow from operations 13,35314,24241,690
Capital spending 427298166
Funding reserves 175,884163,891155,315
Donor Endowed Funds 88,35184,77176,131

Note: Ci reported government funding from the charity's T3010 CRA filing and backed out the amounts from donations. Ci used T3010 data to report grants to qualified donees and backed out the amounts from program costs. Ci used T3010 data for the charity’s reported administrative and fundraising expenses. Ci removed the unreconciled differences in total costs from program costs, affecting them by ($127k) in F2019, ($85k) in F2018, and ($407k) in F2017. The charity’s audited financial statements only recognized a portion of investment income in revenues. Ci recognized investment income (net of management fees), affecting total revenues by $1.9m in F2019, $5.1m in F2018, and $15.0m in F2017. Ci removed the portion of investment income that was reported as other revenues, affecting total revenues by ($833k) in F2019, ($1.5m) in F2018, and ($3.6m) in F2017. Ci recognized endowment contributions as donations, affecting total revenues by $3.0m in F2019, $3.2m in F2018, and $493k in F2017. Ci included unrestricted contributions from Friends of Nature Conservancy as donations, affecting total revenues by $nil in F2019, $38k in F2018, and $23k in F2017. Ci adjusted for deferred donations (amounts received for restricted purposes less amounts recognized as revenue during the year) affecting total revenues by $6.2m in F2019, ($6.0m) in F2018, and $21.4m in F2017. Ci adjusted for deferred contributions transferred to endowments, affecting revenues by $3.2m in F2019, $6.2m in F2018, and $5.4m in F2017. Ci did not include loan repayments for prior year acquisitions, affecting total expenses by ($220k) in F2019, ($191k) in F2018, and ($51k) in F2017. To report on a cash basis, Ci removed amortization from administrative expenses.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 315

Avg. Compensation: $68,023

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:

About The Nature Conservancy of Canada:

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), is a national land conservation organization working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. NCC makes conservation happen. Since 1962 along with our partners we have helped to protect 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast.

NCC commits to conserving the most important natural areas in Canada by:

Identifying priorities:

Using an evidence-based planning process we identify where we should work, the species and habitats in need of conservation and the threats they face.

Securing ecologically important land:

NCC works with willing landowners, other organizations and governments at all levels to secure important natural areas that we have identified as priorities for the conservation of Canada’s biodiversity.

Caring for the future

We manage our conservation lands to ensure their natural values are protected for the long term.


Current Initiatives:


  • Federal Government Partnership:

The Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP), launched in April 2019 is a public-private partnership to protect an additional 200,000 hectares by 2023. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) administers the program. The Government of Canada has committed $100M to the program, while NCC and its delivery partners, including local land trusts are raising contributions to match the federal investment 2:1.

  • Additionally, NCC acts as a facilitator of largescale conservation partnerships – helping to negotiate the release of private rights and encumbrances to allow for conservation to take place.
  • NCC also works with Indigenous communities to support the creation of Indigenous Conserved and Protected Areas.


  • Landmark Campaign:

The Landmark Campaign is the single largest private investment in conservation in Canadian history. With a goal of raising $750M, the campaign will contribute 500 new conservation projects including 10 large landscape projects. As of the end F2019 the campaign was more than 90% towards its goals with completion expected in F2020.


  • Weston Family Conservation Science Program

Established in F2019, the Weston Family Senior Scientist, Dr. Ryan Norris is cross appointed to the University of Guelph and NCC. Dr. Norris conducts leading edge research into the protection of plants, animals and natural habitat. In addition, Dr Norris supervises several Weston Family Conservation Science Fellows – graduate students studying species at risk, invasive species and effective conservation.



NCC balances its role in protecting nature with providing Canadians with access to its conserved lands.

  • The Nature Destinations:

Profiles a suite of protected areas accessible for public enjoyment both online and on the ground.

  • Conservation Volunteers:
    Encourages Canadians to join NCC staff in the field to work on stewardship projects. In F2019 more than 3,200 volunteers joined NCC at 234 events.
  • Nature Talks:

A dynamic cross-country speaker’s series (in-person and online), connecting more Canadians to nature and conservation.



  • Internships:

NCC is committed to inspiring the conservation leaders of the future. In F2019 more than 80 interns gained job-ready skills through the program.


Year-to-year changes in revenue and expenses are normal for NCC and reflect the multi-year nature of many of our large conservation projects. Additionally, in the past few years, with the approval of the Board, NCC has made a strategic investment to increase fundraising capacity, donor engagement activities and technology related to conservation and operations. These investments result in higher overheads over the short term, and the results will be recognized in future years. NCC continues to maintain a solid, healthy balance sheet with insignificant long-term debt.

NCC calculates some of our performance metrics on a five-year rolling average in order to give an accurate picture of our financial standing. These rolling averages allow us to account for the fluctuations that a year-on-year measure can cause, such as when we have a large project in one fiscal year, or when projects span more than one year, as well as benefits of some non-program expenses that may exceed one year.

As a result, in F2019, we reported that 78 percent of our expenditures went directly to program costs (on a five-year rolling average), and 22 percent was spent on administration, communications and fundraising. This is based on total revenues of $89M with an additional $6.2M in restricted endowed fund contributions. Compared to many, and despite the strategic investments noted above, our overhead costs are low.

To support our mission, it is essential that we ensure there are adequate resources available to protect our conserved land portfolio for the future. NCC has established and continues to contribute to a stewardship endowment fund (reserve) to ensure that funding will always be available for necessary conservation actions to protect biodiversity on our lands. This accounts for $138.3M of funding reserves, with the remainder being restricted funds for conservation purposes.

Often reviewers of NCC’s financial statements over-estimate our reserves. These are funds accumulated to meet the organization’s commitment to sustainable funding for management and restoration of properties. Fundraising for new property acquisitions is less challenging than fundraising to maintain and restore existing properties. Long term conservation is the mission of the organization.

NCC does disclose government funding, administrative costs and fundraising costs in our Annual Report:

  • Government funding is 41 percent of our revenue
  • Administrative costs are 11 percent of our expenses
  • Fundraising cost are 9 per cent of our expenses

For more information:

Charity Contact

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 1-877-231-3552