Nova Scotia Nature Trust | Nova Scotians Protecting Nova Scotia

American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts

American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts

NEWSFLASH: Conservation First in Canada: Americans Donate their Treasured Lands in Canada for Conservation


Helping Secure the Future of Canada's Natural Legacy

American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts (AF) was formed by a coalition of conservationists on both sides of the border to facilitate preservation of high priority natural areas in Canada. Click here for a current list of board members. The organization achieves its preservation mission by supporting Canadian land trusts, government agencies and other entities that permanently conserve natural, historic and scenic resources. These Canadian entities needed AF in order to remove the major financial obstacles to protecting land owned by U.S. taxpayers.

As a result of years of work and top notch legal counsel, AF can address the disincentives to conservation created by U.S. and Canadian tax laws because it is a 501 (c)(3) U.S.-based non-profit organization with 509 (a)(1) public charity status. U.S. taxpayers can donate tax deductible gifts of cash and securities (stocks, bonds, mutual funds) or planned gifts (such as bequests, life insurance) to AF’s General Support program to support the conservation activities of Canadian land trusts. Click here to learn how land trusts qualify to become qualified grantees.

Working with AF, U.S. taxpayers can also protect land they own in Canada, and be eligible for the same income tax benefits as would be available if the property was located south of the border. In addition, AF recently acquired prescribed donee status in Canada making donations of land or conservation easements by U.S. taxpayers exempt from the Canadian capital gains tax.


By offering U.S. donors who support Canadian conservation the opportunity to make their gifts of land or interests in land, cash and securities tax deductible, AF is helping Canadian conservation organizations increase the pace and sustainability of land protection north of the border.

AF operates on a cost-recovery basis, with a one-time application fee and a small annual renewal fee paid by participating Canadian conservation organizations, and transaction fees on all gifts. Transaction fees may be paid either by the participating conservation organization or the donor.

More information:


Canadian Land Trusts - How to Become an AF Grantee Organization

For conservation organizations and government entities wishing to apply as potential grantees of U.S. donor gifts made to the AF, please see our guidance documents and application form:

An overview for conservation organizations

Grantee Application package


US Donors - How to support Canadian land trusts through AF

Gifts of cash or securities

U.S. residents may make cash donations in U.S. funds or gifts of securities (stocks, bonds, mutual funds) to AF. The donor may recommend that AF make a grant to a specific Canadian conservation organization or government entity. See our overview for U.S. donors and our sample donor letter to make a cash gift or gift of securities. AF can provide a letter of acknowledgement for the donor to support their U.S. income tax deduction.

Guidelines for gifts to AF:
1. The check should be payable in U.S. funds, drawn on a U.S. bank, and made out to American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts (not to a Canadian conservation organization)

2. Donation should be sent to:
American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts
PO Box 4482
Seattle, WA 98194 USA

3. A “donation letter” should accompany the gift, providing the information required by the IRS. (See Sample Donor Letter). In the letter the donor may recommend a grant to a specific Canadian land trust.

4. The minimum donation is $200.

5. Grants can only be made to Canadian land trusts that are “eligible grantees” with AF. Donors should contact AF or the organization they wish to support to confirm if it has already qualified and is in good standing with AF.

Note: AF can also accept planned gifts such as gifts of life insurance or bequests. Contact us for more information.


US Donors - How to Protect Conservation Land in Canada through AF

For U.S. owners of conservation land in Canada, who wish to donate their property or grant a conservation easement (or other gift of partial interest such as a conservation covenant or remainder interest), cross-border gifts of property can be processed and accepted by AF.

Landowners whose land has appreciated significantly since it was purchased may benefit from AF’s “prescribed donee“ tax status under the Canadian Income Tax Act which provides U.S. donors exemption from Canadian capital gains taxes. This new tax status allows AF to provide U.S. donors a significant financial advantage when donating valuable conservation lands in Canada for protection.

See our Lands Program Factsheet


Donations to support the American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts

Donations to support the work of the AF and its cross-border programs may be made directly to:

American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts
P.O Box 4482
Seattle, Washington 98194 USA


AF News

October 2011


November 2010

Long-time Barrier to Protection of American-Owned Land Removed - Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, and American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts’ Bonnie Sutherland, recently announced landmark tax regulation changes, opening the door to "cross-border" conservation in Canada. Read the full story and backgrounder.

October 2010
American Friends offers a cross-border conservation workshop at the CLTA Annual Conference
American Friends and Federal Finance Minister announce the official launch of the cross-border conservation program (see here for public advisory).

September 2010
Prescribed donee status

March 31, 2009
AF launches its cross-border Land/Easement program

September 16, 2008 
AF Featured in Land Trust Alliance Magazine. AF’s story is told in the summer 2008 issue Saving Land, the magazine of the Land Trust Alliance.

August 01, 2008. 
Land Trusts and Supporters Urged to Help AF Mount Final Tax Hurdle

December 01, 2007.
First AF Cross-border Conservation Program Launched. AF began providing funding support to Canadian land trusts, and accepting U.S. tax deductible donations from U.S. based supporters of Canadian land trusts. To better service their U.S.-based supporters, and to encourage greater financial support. Canadian land trusts can encourage their donors to give to AF to support the conservation activities of Canadian land trusts, and to receive a U.S. tax deduction for their support.


Other Cross-Border Conservation Resources:


Board of Directors of the American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts

John Finley: President - Partner, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, director and Past president, Muskoka Heritage Foundation and director and Secretary, Muskoka Heritage Trust
Christopher Baines: Vice President - Principal—Allport Associates
Karin Grubb: Secretary - Lawyer, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, BC
Sandra Tassel: Treasurer - President, Look at the Land Inc., Conservation Consulting, MD

Sylvia Bates: Director - Director of Standards and Research, Land Trust Alliance, NH
Tim Seifert: Director - Executive Director, San Juan Preservation Trust, WA
Margaret MacDonald: Director - Deputy Minister, Labour and Immigration, NS
Stefan Nagel: Director - Of Counsel, Law Office of Stephen J. Small, MA
Bonnie Sutherland: Director - Executive Director, Nova Scotia Nature Trust, NS
Craig Lee: Director - Director of International Alliances, National Audubon Society, D.C. Bill Turner: Director - Executive Director, The Land Conservancy, BC
Nancy Christie: Director, ON
Gary Goodwin: Director - Executive Corporate Secretary and Counsel, Ducks Unlimited, MB

Legal Advisor: Konrad Liegel, K & L Gates


Contact Us:

American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts
PO Box 4482
Seattle, Washington 98194 USA

Or Bonnie Sutherland (902) 425-LAND


Thanks and Appreciation

We would like to acknowledge and thank the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, whose pioneering work in cross-border conservation led to the founding of the AF.

AF also came about thanks to the support and dedication of many people who volunteered their time and expertise, and/or provided funding and moral support! Our sincere thanks to all. Apologies if we’ve forgotten to mention someone who helped along the long and arduous path to success-please let us know, so we can add you to our list!

Ian Attridge Karen Marchetti Ponte Tim Seifert
Christopher Baines Susan Mehinagic Stephen J. Small
Paul Chamberland Terri Monohan Bonnie Sutherland
Karen Cooper Peter Mushkat Sandra Tassell
Gary Goodwin Stefan Nagel Bill Turner
Sheila Harrington Phil Pearl Dave Walker
William Hayes Paul Peterson Sylvia Bates
Craig Lee Lori Rogers Anonymous technical advisor
Brent Mitchell Dennis Schaffer  
Konrad Liegel Gordon Scott  

Funding Support

Our special thanks to those who provided the critical funding for both the Nova Scotia Nature Trust’s cross-border conservation research and technical work, and the establishment of the American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts Cross-Border Conservation Program.

Major supporters of AF

Anonymous Donor
BC Land Trust Alliance
BC Real Estate Foundation
Ontario Land Trust Alliance
The Land Conservancy
Tides Foundation