Environment Canada

Environment Canada

October 19, 2009 13:00 ET

The Government of Canada and the Nature Conservancy of Canada Conserve Important Wildlife Area in British Columbia

KAMLOOPS, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 19, 2009) - Cathy McLeod, Member of Parliament for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, on behalf of Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice, today joined the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in announcing the donation of the Rattlesnake Bluff property as an Ecological Gift. The 4 hectares of ecologically sensitive land near Kamloops, British Columbia was generously donated by Phil and Arlene Thiemer.

"The Ecological Gifts Program represents an investment that will help to ensure a healthy future for habitats and species at risk. Such programs demonstrate the productive relationship between the Government of Canada, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and other partners working to conserve and protect the environment and wildlife", said Cathy McLeod.

"Rattlesnake Bluff is an excellent example of federal funds and incentives helping to create a strong stewardship partnership that will conserve important landscapes and protect habitat for our species at risk. With this investment, we are taking real action to protect and conserve our ecosystems and sensitive species for present and future generations. We are grateful for the Thiemers generosity and dedication to help protect one of Canada's natural treasures," said Minister Prentice.

In 2006, the Thiemers purchased this small but important land, located southeast of the Lac du Bois Grasslands Provincial Park, to prevent development of a rock quarry on the property. The property, a popular wildlife viewing area for local naturalists, has rugged cliffs and dry sagebrush steppe that provide a vital habitat to an impressive number of species at risk including Bighorn Sheep, Western Rattlesnake, and Great Basin Gophersnake.

"Rattlesnake Bluff is a fantastic addition to NCC's burgeoning grassland conservation work in and around Kamloops. This project was a success because of strong partnerships--from the Thiemers, who initiated the project, to local naturalists, who rallied behind it, to the governments and foundations who allocated much needed funds. Our thanks go out to all who helped protect Rattlesnake Bluff," said Barb Pryce, NCC's Okanagan Project Manager.

The Ecological Gifts Program provides tax incentives to private land-owners that donate ecologically sensitive land, or partial interest rights to the land, to eligible charitable organizations or government bodies that in turn protect the land in perpetuity. In Budget 2006, ecological gifts were made 100-percent exempt from capital-gains tax.

BACKGROUNDER

ENVIRONMENT CANADA'S ECOLOGICAL GIFTS PROGRAM

Many wildlife species live in natural areas on private lands near the city or in the country. Landowners play an important role in maintaining this biodiversity when they choose to protect the natural features of their property.

What is an Ecological Gift?

An "EcoGift"" is a donation of ecologically sensitive land, or a partial interest in ecologically sensitive land - such as a conservation easement, covenant or servitude - to a qualified recipient that protects this land in perpetuity. Ecological gifts are as varied in type as the Canadian landscape, ranging from wetlands, shores and forests, to grasslands and rocky cliffs. A wide range of lands qualify as ecologically sensitive and may be eligible as ecological gifts.

Each donation, no matter how small, is significant. In fact, over the past 14 years, landowners across Canada have donated 758 ecological gifts, covering over 130,929 hectares of land, and valued at $500 million. More than one-third of these ecological gifts protect areas designated as being of national or provincial significance, and many are home to species at risk.

Ecological gifts can be donated to a number of recipient types, including environmental charities approved by Environment Canada, federal, provincial and territorial governments, municipalities, and municipal or public bodies that perform a function of government.

The land must be certified as ecologically sensitive by Canada's Minister of the Environment or a delegated certification authority in accordance with the provisions of the federal Income Tax Act (http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/i-3.3/63994.html), and must further meet the requirements of the Act in order to give rise to special tax benefits.

In addition to the peace of mind of knowing that the land will be managed by the recipient according to mutually agreed-upon conservation goals and objectives, donors also benefit by being eligible to receive enhanced income tax benefits for their certified donations.

What is the Ecological Gifts Program?

The Ecological Gifts Program is a national program that promotes ecological stewardship by providing tax incentives to protect Canada's environmental heritage. The program was established to combat habitat loss and degradation and to conserve important wildlife habitats and ecologically sensitive land across Canada.

The Ecological Gifts Program works to develop and build partnerships so that communities, businesses, and individual Canadians can help in conserving and protecting nature, and in doing so, leave a legacy for future generations.

The program is administered by Environment Canada under the federal Income Tax Act. Since 1995, donations of ecologically-sensitive land, or easements, covenants and servitudes on such land, have been eligible for special tax benefits. Changes to the Income Tax Act introduced in the 2000 and 2006 federal budgets have since enhanced the program's income tax benefits.

In addition to the charitable donations tax credit (for individuals) and the charitable donations deduction (for corporations), donations made on or after May 2, 2006 and certified under the Ecological Gifts Program are exempt to tax on any capital gains that have accrued in respect of the property.

What are the benefits of participating in the Ecological Gifts Program?

As an individual or corporate landowner, you can benefit through participating by: creating a natural legacy for current and future generations, increasing the quality of life in your community by helping to conserve ecologically sensitive lands and adjacent waters where mammals, birds, fish and plants make their homes, receiving significant tax benefits, and illustrating your support for ecological fiscal reform while inspiring others to do the same.

Each donation helps form part of a network of protected areas that reaches across every habitat type and region in Canada. Through the formation of this network, Canada's wildlife and natural heritage can remain healthy and prosperous.

To help Canadian landowners and conservation groups preserve Canada's natural heritage, the Government of Canada has eliminated the tax on capital gains for all certified ecological gift donations made on or after May 2, 2006.

Egalement offert en francais

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Frederic Baril
    Press Secretary
    819-997-1441
    or
    Environment Canada
    Media Relations
    819-934-8008
    1-888-908-8008
    www.ec.gc.ca