Standard 7: Volunteers, Staff and Consultants
The land trust has volunteers, staff and/or consultants with appropriate skills and in sufficient numbers to carry out its programs.
The work of a land trust is substantial, diverse and often technical or specialized, and includes fundraising, public relations, financial management, landowner contact, designing and carrying out transactions, legal and tax matters, and land and/or conservation agreement monitoring and management. A land trust that acquires, owns, or manages land or conservation agreements, even temporarily, is dealing with complex issues and thousands or even millions of dollars’ worth of assets. Conducting this work properly takes trained individuals. If a land trust is completely managed by volunteers, they have a responsibility to see that the work is carried out with appropriate expertise and supervision, and that a sufficient number of people share the work. If the land trust has staff, it must be sure that the staff is properly trained to manage the complex tasks of land conservation, and the board must establish appropriate policies and procedures to guide staff. All land trusts must engage outside expert help in the event they do not have sufficient time or expertise in-house and must be sure to select projects that are consistent with their capacity.
- Income Tax Act, SC 1985, c. I;
see Canada Revenue Agency guide “Employee or Self-Employed?” at:
- Employment Standards Act, RSBC 1996, c. 113.
- Workers Compensation Act, RSBC 1996, c. 492.
- Human Rights Code, RSBC 1996, c. 210.
- Canada Pension Plan, c. C-8.
- Employment Insurance Act, SC 1996, c. 23.
F. Personnel Policies
If the land trust has staff, it has written personnel policies that conform to federal and provincial law and has appropriate accompanying procedures or guidelines.
A sound set of personnel policies is essential for land trusts with staff. Written policies provide guidelines for dealing with employees in an equitable manner, clarify employee/employer roles and responsibilities, assure employees of due process in employment-related disputes, and provide a degree of legal protection for the land trust in case of employee lawsuits. A formal policy may be a brief document meeting legal requirements, backed up by detailed procedures for everyday operations. As land trusts grow, their personnel policies and procedures tend to become more detailed. However, organizations with only one or two staff are still advised to put their basic personnel benefits, board and staff roles, and grievance procedures in writing. As part of their personnel policy, land trusts should also adopt policies to deal with discrimination and harassment for both staff and volunteers.
CLTA Assessment Questions
- Does the land trust adhere to all federal and provincial laws and regulations related to employment practices, including hiring, wages and hours, tax withholding and reporting, and dismissal?