Donations of Land
Conservation of land with significant natural features is essential to environmental protection. The Brant Land Trust is committed to working with the owners of properties that contain significant environmental features in the conservation and enhancement of these features. The Brant Land Trust recognizes that many property owners are interested in and proud of the natural features on their lands and want to have these features conserved in perpetuity. There are options available and the Brant Land Trust is committed to working with property owners to find the solution that best meets their needs. What are described here are the more common options but there are variants. Please feel free to contact the Brant Land Trust and your legal and financial advisors to discuss which option best suits your needs.
Donation of Land
The property owner may wish to donate the entire property or a portion of the property to the Brant Land Trust. There are options available that can allow the property owner to continue to live on the donated land or otherwise use the property. As the Brant Land Trust is a registered charitable organization, the donation may be eligible as a charitable donation under the Income Tax Act through the Canadian Ecological Gifts Program (EGP). The lands to be donated must be of national, provincial or regional ecological significance. Advantages of the ecological gifts include:
- No tax on capital gains for capital gifts;
- No limit on the total value eligible for deduction/credit in any one year; and
- A ten-year period to apply the receipt to income.
To qualify for a charitable receipt under the Canadian Ecological Gifts Program, the donation should go through the following steps:
- Consult with the EGP [Ecological Gifts Program] regional coordinator;
- Obtain independent legal and financial advice;
- Prepare an ecological assessment of the lands to be donated;
- Obtain an appraisal from a qualified professional
- Submit your application to Environment and Climate Change Canada
- Receive a Certificate of Ecological Sensitivity from Environment and Climate Change Canada;
- Receive a notice that establishes the fair market value of the donation;
- Complete the donation (land transfer)
- Receive an official donation receipt.
The Brant Land Trust is committed to working with potential donors through the application process and will also consult with the owner to prepare a stewardship plan and work program to conserve and enhance the significant ecological features identified in the ecological assessment.
For more information on the Canadian Ecological Gifts Program (EGP), you may wish to visit the Environment and Climate Change Canada website.
The EGP Handbook can be found at: Canadian Ecological Gifts Program handbook.pdf
Ecological Gifts Program
The Brant Land Trust has been approved to accept donations thru the Ecological Gifts Program - administered through the Environment and Climate Change Canada.
An ecological gift is a donation of land or a partial interest in land, such as a conservation easement, covenant or servitude. For an ecological gift to meet the requirements of the Ecological Gifts Program, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change must certify the land as ecologically sensitive, approve the recipient organization to receive the gift, and certify the fair market value of the donation.
A wide range of habitats have been protected under the Program, including forests, grasslands, wetlands and shorelines. Private and corporate landowners who donate property through the Program receive special income tax benefits. Donors receive a tax receipt for the full value of their ecological gift that can be applied against 100% of their net annual income. Any unused portion of the receipt may be carried forward for up to 10 years, and there is no taxable capital gain.
Click here for more information about the Ecological Gifts Program
The land owner may want to retain ownership of the lands but at the same time seek to ensure that the significant environmental components will be conserved in perpetuity. This can be accomplished by granting, through an agreement that is to be registered on to the title of the property, an easement, in favour of the Brant Land Trust to the portions of the lands to be conserved. The agreement would lay out the continued rights of the land owner as well as the rights and responsibilities of the Brant Land Trust that are to be included in the easement. Such an agreement would include conducting an ecological assessment of the lands and the preparation of a stewardship plan and management program. The donation of the lands through the easement may be eligible for a charitable receipt under the Canadian Ecological Gifts Program (EGP) subject to the same process as outlined under the Donation of Land section. The Brant Land Trust can assist the land owner wishing to receive a charitable receipt for income tax purposes through the application process with Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Brant Land Trust Land Policies
The Brant Land Trust has approved a bylaw to adopt the Canadian Land Trust Standards and Procedures and is a member of the Ontario Land Trust Alliance. The Guiding Principles of the Canadian Land Trust Standards and Procedures are:
- Integrity in conducting all affairs of the Land Trust;
- Perpetual Responsibility – recognizes the obligation to protect the lands that the Land Trust cares for in perpetuity;
- Excellence – striving to provide the best service possible in serving the land trust community;
- Good Governance – striving for performance that is responsive to the interests of citizens, donors and other stakeholders. It also means striving for accountability, transparency and openness in carrying out the activities of the Land Trust.