Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

600-100 Gloucester Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 0A4
Executive Director: Sandra Schwartz
Board President: Laura Colella

Charitable Reg. #:10686 5272 RR0001


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

[Charity Rating: 5/5]



Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity’s website.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 82 cents are available for programs.

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About Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society:

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society is a top-rated 5-star charity with reasonable overhead spending. It has a high results reporting grade with excellent donor accountability. 

Founded in 1963, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) works to protect Canada's natural environment. Its main goal is to help Canada protect at least 25% of its land and oceans by 2025 and 30% by 2030. CPAWS states that at least 30% to 70% of land and ocean systems need protection to sustain vital ecosystems. CPAWS consists of a national office in Ottawa and 13 regional chapters. Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society runs two main programs: Conservation and Conservation Awareness. 

Conservation programs made up 95% of program spending in F2021. CPAWS works with government agencies to protect Canadian wildlife, parks, and oceans. In F2021, CPAWS helped to protect 175 Alberta park sites by sending 21k letters to members of the legislative assembly. The charity also brought together 230 organizations to sign a letter for the federal government urging them to put nature first when rebuilding Canada’s post-covid economy. In F2021, the traditional lands of the Mi’kmaq people in Nova Scotia were designated as protected areas by the province following extensive work by CPAWS and partners. CPAWS also helped to protect land in Quebec when the government of Quebec announced the addition of 66,000 km2 of new protected areas in the province. This included more than 39,000 km2 of protected areas in Eeyou Istchee – a territory of high bio-cultural significance to communities, trappers, and hunters of the Cree Nation.  

Conservation Awareness made up 5% of program spending in F2021. CPAWS runs educational programs through its 13 chapters across Canada. CPAWS runs an eight-month annual Canadian Wilderness Stewardship Program (CWSP) to inspire future conservationists. The program consists of a CPAWS-led trip to a regional watershed in need of protection, a community service project, and an annual convention.  

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Results and Impact

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society collaborated with First Nations partners in Quebec to help advocate for 30,000 km2 to be declared protected by the province. The government also declared extensions for Tursujuq National Park, the largest protected area in eastern North America, and the George River Protected Area, an important calving ground for migratory caribou.  

In F2021, after years of opposition from CPAWS, the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, Yukon residents, and other conservation organizations, a 65 km exploration road project was rejected by the territorial government in the Yukon.  

While Ci highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s results.  

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Ci consolidated the financial statements of CPAWS and its foundation for the following financial analysis. As such, Ci excluded fund transfers between the two charities.  

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society received $6.5m in Canadian donations in F2021. It also received $2.5m in international donations (19% of revenues) and $3.8m in government funding (29% of revenues). Administrative costs are 8% of revenues (less investment income) and fundraising costs are 9% of Canadian donations. CPAWS spends 18% on overhead. This means for every dollar donated, 82 cents go towards the charity’s programs. This is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.  

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society has $12.7m in total funding reserves, of which $3.5m is donor-endowed. Excluding donor-endowed funds, CPAWS can cover just under one year of annual program costs.  

According to its annual filing with the Charities Directorate, CPAWS paid external fundraisers $101k in F2021. It does not report how much these external fundraisers raised.  

Charity Intelligence has sent this update to Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.  

Updated on June 13, 2022 by Emma Saganowich.  

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending March
Administrative costs as % of revenues 8.3%12.7%12.0%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 9.3%9.7%9.5%
Total overhead spending 17.5%22.5%21.5%
Program cost coverage (%) 98.8%93.8%104.3%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 6,4706,0635,572
International donations 2,5153,0012,218
Government funding 3,7661,572277
Investment income 28(73)42
Other income 278519276
Total revenues 13,05711,0818,386
Program costs 7,4736,7074,852
Grants 1,9581,09096
Administrative costs 1,0791,421998
Fundraising costs 599590529
Total spending 11,1109,8096,474
Cash flow from operations 1,9481,2721,911
Capital spending 364011
Funding reserves 12,65410,6558,435

Note: Ci consolidated CPAWS with its associated foundation for this financial analysis. As such, Ci removed all fund transfers between the two charities from donations and grants. The foundation transferred to CPAWS $21k in F2021, $23k in F2020, and $23k in F2019. CPAWS transferred to its foundation $157k in F2021, $91k in F2020, and $45k in F2019. Ci included endowment contributions in donations, affecting total revenues by $50k in F2020 and $2.0m in F2019. Ci reported international donations from the charity’s annual T3010 filings and removed the amounts from Canadian donations. Ci reported investment income from the charity’s T3010 filings and removed the amounts from other income. Ci included losses on subsidiary investments in investment income rather than costs, affecting total revenues and expenses by ($235k) in F2021, ($214k) in F2020, ($30k) in F2019. Ci reported grants to qualified donees from the charity’s T3010 filings and removed the amounts from program costs.  

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 72

Avg. compensation: $49,932

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2021

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Comments & Contact

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Charity Contact

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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001