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: 4/4]



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. Excluding 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

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:

Nature Conservancy of Canada added the following comments to their 2019 profile. New comments may be forthcoming.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), is committed to conserving Canadian biodiversity. 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 conserve biodiversity on our protected land. This substantially accounts for the funding reserves with the remainder being restricted funds for conservation purposes.

Total revenue of $91.7 million increased from the previous fiscal year of $76.9 million, mainly due to increased contributions for properties acquired by others and land donations and conservation agreements. NCC ensures that all projects are fully secured and funded before being recorded and therefore revenue will vary based on the value of projects in which we are involved. Our endowment funds to support science and stewardship activities grew to more than $135 million [F2017 - $123 million]. We continue to build this solid foundation to adequately fund the care and management of our conservation lands well into the future.

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, as well there is an increased investment in fundraising capacity and infrastructure related to technology for conservation and operations. 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.

We maintain a close watch over our expenses, though we have also broadened our measures of success to include more tangible measures of long-term impact, not simply concentrating on shorter-term overhead cost ratios. In the period ending May 31, 2018, a total of 78 percent of our expenditures went directly to program costs (on a five-year rolling average basis), and 22 percent was spent on administration, communications and fundraising. Compared to many in the charitable sector our overhead costs are low. We are proud of our ability to manage our costs, but do not wish to do so at the expense of an effective and impactful conservation program. Our overhead costs over the past few fiscal years also reflect a strategic investment in our operational capacity, especially in fundraising initiatives. This investment was approved by our Board of Directors and we expect it will continue to be reflected in our overhead costs for the next few years.

NCC works as a partner with individuals, government, Indigenous communities and nations and industry to make conservation happen. On the settled landscape in southern Canada NCC works with willing landowners to build natural corridors, ensure habitat for species at risk (plant and animal), and maintain healthy, functioning ecosystems that support prosperous communities. NCC’s also shares its conservation planning expertise to assist communities, especially in the North, to achieve their conservation goals through supporting efforts to expand parks and protected areas, including Indigenous Conserved and Protected Areas. We work with many groups, including academic institutions to conduct, support and distribute research and learnings about biodiversity conservation in Canada.

During the fiscal year 2017-18 NCC had the opportunity to expand its role as a facilitator of largescale conservation partnerships. By convening a unique partnership between the Tall Cree Tribal Government, the Governments of Alberta and Canada and Syncrude Canada, NCC helped to retire timber quotas along the Birch River in northeast Alberta. The resulting 3,300 sq. km of conserved area became the Birch River Wildland Provincial Park. When added to contiguous conserved areas it is now part of the largest swath of conserved boreal forest on the planet.

In F18 NCC also focused on the final year and completion of the successful public-private partnership, the Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP). As of March 31, 2018, the 10-year program had helped to expand Canada’s network of protected areas by 446,000 hectares (1.1 million acres), an area 7 times the size of the City of Toronto. A commitment of $345 million invested by the Government of Canada will be matched 2:1 by the Nature Conservancy of Canada and its partners. In order to continue the momentum NCC and its partners will lay the groundwork to request a program renewal.

NCC balances its role in protecting nature with providing access to Canadians to explore our conservation projects. The Nature Destinations program profiles a suite of protected areas for access and enjoyment by the general public, both on the ground and online. We also work with many groups, including academic institutions to conduct, support and distribute research and learnings about biodiversity conservation in Canada

NCC looks forward to building upon this collection in years to come. For more information:

Charity Contact

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