Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy

192 Spadina Ave, Unit 304
Toronto, ON M5T 2G7
CEO: Saba Ahmad
Board Chair: Saba Ahmad

Charitable Reg. #:88878 2570 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) 99 cents are available for programs.

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About Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy:

Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy is a five-star charity that is financially transparent. It has exceptional results reporting, achieving an A grade. For every dollar donated to the charity, 99 cents are available to go to the cause, which is outside Ci's reasonable range. 

Founded in 1997, Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy (EBC) aims to establish and maintain nature reserves across Ontario, with a focus on the Niagara Escarpment, Bruce County, and Grey County. It seeks to conserve land with ecological, cultural, historic, or scenic value. EBC also educates and engages the public on conservation by facilitating unintrusive hikes and visits to its nature reserves. Its head office is in Toronto.

A Charity Intelligence 2023 Top 100 Rated Charity

EBC’s main program is land conservation. In 2022, EBC spent $6.4m on new land purchases, received $3.6m in donated land and easement, and spent $1.1m on programs.

Escarpment Biosphere Canada uses two main approaches to conserve land: conservation agreements and land donations. It negotiates conservation agreements with landowners, which allow owners to create a list of restrictions on human uses of their property. EBC then takes responsibility for protecting the land and issues a tax receipt for an agreed-upon portion of the land’s market value. EBC also accepts land donations and severances, whereby owners transfer their land to a nature reserve held by the charity as either a donation or a discounted sale. EBC states that it typically offers tax receipts worth 60% to 97% of the value of a sold property. 

Currently, EBC has 229 nature reserves that span 23,170 acres (94 km2). In 2022, EBC added 29 new nature preserves totalling 2,921 acres. In spring 2023, the charity added 15 new nature preserves totalling 2,031 acres. In spring 2023, EBC protected Lake Wolsey and Nineteen Lake in Manitoulin Island, Fossil Hill and Lock on the Lake Huron shoreline, and the Bayview Escarpment on Georgian Bay.

NEWS: February 2023, EBC's founder and Executive Director, Bob Barnett, stepped away from his leadership role. There is uncertainty surrounding the actual events leading up to this change. Saba Ahmad is the Board Chair and acting Chief Executive Officer.

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Results and Impact

EBC states that it has observed endangered, threatened, special concern, or rare species on 94 of its 229 nature reserves. Its preserves help to protect 64 different at-risk species, including 10 endangered species and 12 threatened species.

While Ci highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy’s results and impact. This charity is not yet rated on impact (n/r).

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Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy received $8.6m in donations in F2022, a 142% increase compared to $3.6m in F2021. The charity also received $3.6m in donated land, representing 30% of revenue. Administrative costs are less than 1% of revenues (less investment income) and fundraising costs are less than 1% of cash and land donations. This results in total overhead spending of 1%. For every dollar donated to the charity, 99 cents go to the cause. This is not within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending of 65 to 95 cents to the cause. Charities above this range may be understating overhead costs.

EBC has $2.8m in reserve funds, which can cover 266%, or two years and eight months of its annual program costs.

According to its most recent CRA filing in F2021, EBC uses external fundraisers. It paid external fundraisers $6k to raise $169k in F2021, at a cost of $0.04 per dollar raised.

There appears to be an error in the charity's T3010 filing. It reported total compensation of $170,476 but only reports one worker that is paid less than $40,000. The executive director is paid $50,000 under a management service contract. EBC's auditors note its executive director and co-founder exercise a significant influence over its operations. There are immaterial related party transactions reported in financial note nine of the audited financial statements. 

Charity Intelligence has sent this update to Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on August 25, 2023 by Liam Chapleau.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 0.2%0.3%0.3%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 0.3%1.4%0.3%
Total overhead spending 0.5%1.6%0.6%
Program cost coverage (%) 265.5%247.3%308.3%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 8,6113,557252
Goods in kind 3,6021,0518,251
Government funding 03024
Business activities (net) 87173181
Investment income (160)13851
Other income 40306
Total revenues 12,1805,2518,744
Program costs 1,064729396
Donated goods exp 3,6021,0518,251
Administrative costs 261322
Fundraising costs 396328
Other costs 443
Total spending 4,7351,8618,700
Cash flow from operations 7,4463,39044
Capital spending 6,4122,93719
Funding reserves 2,8251,8041,221

Note: To report on a cash basis, Ci included deferred revenue, impacting revenue by ($1k) in F2022, ($2k) in F2021, and ($3k) in F2020. To better reflect the charity’s operating cash flow, Ci included land donations and goods in kind in expenses under donated goods. This affected expenses by $3.6m in F2022, $1.1m in F2021, and $8.3m in F2020. Ci gathered government funding from available T3010 filings and removed the amounts from donations. Ci did not remove provincial government grants of $2k in 2021 from donations as the amount matched other revenue in its audited financials. This was included in government funding. Ci classified tax rebates as other revenue to match the charity's T3010 filings. Ci classified interest expenses and bank charges as other costs. Ci excluded depreciation costs. Due to the charity not using activity based costing, Ci uses the charity's T3010 to report fundraising costs. In F2021, fundraising costs were a combination of the fundraising and office lines on the audited financials. Ci used these same lines to report fundraising in F2022 since the charity's T3010 is not available. 

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 1

Avg. compensation: $170,476

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

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 1-888-815-9575


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001