Environment Canada

Environment Canada

August 21, 2009 13:26 ET

Government of Canada Celebrates 100th Eco-Gift Donation in B.C.

SUNSHINE COAST, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 21, 2009) - John Weston, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver / Sunshine Coast Sea-to-Sky, on behalf of Canada's Environment Minister, the Honourable Jim Prentice, joined representatives from the Government of BC and local area municipalities today to celebrate BC's 100th donation made under Canada's Ecological Gifts Program. The Program helps both large and small land-owners create and protect nature legacies and receive significant tax benefits in doing so.

"This 100th EcoGift is a remarkable achievement - a symbol of how by working together we can protect and conserve Canada's natural heritage, which is a crucial part of our economy, society and culture. Through support from the Government of Canada, and the generosity of British Columbians, we have now conserved and protected 63,868 hectares valued at $180 million - an environmental legacy we can all take pride in," said Minister Prentice.

The 100th Eco-Gift in British Columbia is a 2,19 hectare property - about the size of three soccer fields. The property offers important wildlife habitat to 62 different species, indulging the northern red-legged frog, which is listed as a species of special concern under Canada's Species at Risk Act. The property includes forest, woodland and grassland habitat, and serves as a buffer between Francis Point Provincial Park and adjacent residential properties to the east.

"Many important wildlife habitats are found on private properties, such as cottages, woodlots, ranches and farms. The people who own these lands can play an important role in protecting such habitats by limiting certain activities and practices, and encouraging restoration and stewardship," said John Weston.

"The DeMott donation marks a key milestone for the Ecological Gifts Program. On behalf of the BC Government, I would like to thank all of the families and individuals who make the choice to contribute their land to British Columbia's environmental legacy," said the Honourable Barry Penner, British Columbia's Minister of Environment.

Barbara DeMott, the donor of BC's 100th EcoGift, said, "My experience with the Ecological Gifts Program has been great. I can still enjoy my property and it is protected in perpetuity through the Ecological Gifts Program. I urge anyone with lands with high values of biodiversity to contact the Program to find out how you can create a "win-win" - help create a natural legacy and get some significant tax benefits too."

The Ecological Gifts Program works in tandem with initiatives like the Natural Areas Conservation Program. Recent donations in BC under the EcoGift program include 31 square kilometres of habitat within Frolek Ranch near Kamloops and 1218 square kilometres of habitat within the property "Darkwoods", near Creston. In Budget 2006, EcoGifts were made 100-percent exempt from capital-gains tax.

An increasing number of conservation-minded Canadian landowners take part in the Ecological Gifts Program each year. Each donation, no matter how small, makes a substantial contribution to reducing habitat loss. Habitat loss is one of the greatest threats to many of Canada's species at risk. By conserving large areas of ecologically significant land, species get space to survive and thrive.

(Egalement offert en francais)


BACKGROUNDER

Environment Canada's Ecological Gift 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 biodiversity when they choose to protect the natural features of their property

What is an Ecological Gift?

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

Each donation, no matter how small, is significant. In fact, in British Columbia under the Ecological Gifts Program, approximately 63,865 hectares have been conserved with a combined value of just over $180 million dollars as of spring 2009.

Ecological gifts can be made to environmental charities approved by Environment Canada, as well as to any level of government in Canada.

The land must be certified as ecologically sensitive by the Canada's Minister of the Environment or the Minister's designate in accordance with the provisions of the federal Income Tax Act (http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/i-3.3/63994.html), and meets the requirements of the Act that 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 are also eligible to receive income tax benefits for their donations.

What is the Ecological Gifts Program?

It promotes ecological stewardship by providing income tax incentives to protect Canada's environmental heritage.

The Ecological Gifts Program works to develop and build partnerships so that communities, businesses, and individual Canadians can get involved in helping to conserve and protect leave a legacy for future generations, and receive tax benefits.

It 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 assistance. Changes to the Income Tax Act introduced in the 2000 and 2006 federal budgets 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 no longer be subject to tax on any capital gains accruing in respect of the property.

The EcoGifts program was established to combat habitat loss and degradation and to conserve important wildlife habitats and sensitive properties across Canada.

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

As an individual or corporate landowner, you can create a natural legacy for current and future generations, increase the quality of life in your community by helping to conserve ecologically sensitive places where mammals, birds, fish and plants make their homes both on land and/or in the water, receive significant tax benefits, and by participating in the Program illustrate your support for ecological fiscal reform and inspire 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. This helps wildlife and our natural heritage to remain healthy and prosperous.

To help Canada's 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 by reducing the inclusion rate to zero.

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