Monday, May 18, 2009

What is “ecologically sensitive land?”

I wrote yesterday about the Canadian income tax credits for gifts of ecologically sensitive land. But how do you know if your land is ecologically sensitive land?

Environment Canada uses the following criteria, which are posted on its website:

areas identified, designated or protected by a local, provincial, territorial, national or international system or body as ecologically significant or ecologically important;

natural spaces of significance to the environment in which they are located;
sites that have significant current ecological value, or potential for enhanced ecological

value, as a result of their proximity to other significant properties;

municipal or rural lands that are zoned or designated for biodiversity objectives;

natural buffers around environmentally sensitive areas such as water bodies, streams or wetlands; and

areas or sites that contribute to the maintenance of biodiversity or Canada's environmental heritage.

In addition to these criteria, some provincial governments also have their own criteria. The criteria for Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are also listed on Environment Canada’s website here.

As of the date of this post, I am not aware of any additional criteria for British Columbia.

You will need to get your land certified as ecologically sensitive to qualify. You may contact to the regional Ecological Gifts Program coordinator or a designated certification authority for your region (see this link for contact information), and provide his or her office with some information about the lands. You can see an illustration of the information required here.

You can ask for a Certificate for Donation of Ecologically Sensitive Land before you commit to completing the gift. Then, if the land does not qualify, you can decide whether you still wish to make the gift.

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