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Making an Ecological Land Donation

This page provides information on the provisions of the Federal Income Tax Act that promote the donation of ecological gifts of land to municipalities and other qualified recipients. While every effort has been made to ensure that this material is current and accurate, it does not represent a legal opinion or accounting advice. For a better understanding of the relevant provisions of the Income Tax Act and how they may affect individual properties, interested persons should consult with a qualified accountant or lawyer. Some commonly asked questions are answered on the following page.


Up to 1995, the provisions of federal income tax legislation allowed donations of land to non-government registered charities and municipalities. However, donors were restricted in their use of tax receipts for such gifts to a maximum of 20% of their income each year. In practice, this meant the full benefit of a receipt might not be fully used by a donor, even if spread over several tax periods. These gifts of private land to a municipal government or a non-government recipient were treated differently than gifts to Crown agencies, whereby tax receipts for such gifts could be used against 100% of income.

A national review of the inequities in the tax system for conservation land donations entitled You Cant Give It Away: Tax Aspects of Ecologically Sensitive Lands was published by the North American Wetlands Conservation Council Canada (Denhez 1992). This initiated national discussions on the removal of disincentives (in our tax system) to ecological land donations.

On February 27, 1995 the Federal Minister of Finance announced in the Budget the Governments intention to amend the Income Tax Act to promote the donation of ecologically sensitive lands, covenants, easements and servitudes for conservation purposes. This action was a direct result of representations to the Federal Government by many groups across Canada, including the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, the North American Wetlands Conservation Council (Canada) and the Nature Conservancy of Canada, as well as corporations, municipalities, private citizens and the provinces.

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